And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Rangers 11, Indians 9; Rangers 10, Indians 5: Lots of runs,
Marlon Byrd went 4 for 4 in the day game, blah, blah, blah, but I wanna
talk about something else. As I mentioned before, I’m re-reading Nice Guys Finish Last.
I’m being really pokey about it, putting it down, reading other stuff,
forgetting it for a week and going back again. It just lends itself to
that, ya know? Anyway, a few days ago I read a passage I hadn’t thought
anything of the first time I read it — probably because I was a kid —
but that I can’t shake. In it, Durocher is lamenting the decline of the
playing manager, which is how he began his career. The book was
published in 1975, the year Frank Robinson became the Indians’ manager.
Take it away, Leo:

I get a kick out of reading how difficult it is going to be
for Frank Robinson to manage the Cleveland Indians and also serve as
their designated hitter. Since when has swinging a bat every half hour
or so become so taxing on the brain? My bet is that Frank’s very
presence in the lineup will give the club a shot in the arm. The
Cleveland situation was made for Frank Robinson, and Frank Robinson was
made for them. A good baseball city, hungry for a winner. A city which
has become predominantly black . . . I always said that when it came to
naming the first colored manager, Rule #1 would still apply. It was
going to be the man who was in the right place at the right time.

A man of his time, I guess, but no less disturbing to see it written
like that. Far more disturbing, however, was how Leo used the Robinson
bit to note how he thought that Maury Wills would have become the first
black manager: “Maury has everything it takes to make a good one,”
Durocher writes. Of course, Wills went on to become perhaps the worst
manager in the history of baseball with the Mariners a few years later.
There’s no point to this other than to say that times and people
change, it’s September, and at some point you really have to quit
caring about Indians-Rangers games in which no one decides to pitch.

Red Sox 10, Orioles 0: Clay Buchholz seems to be figuring this
Major League stuff out (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Two homers for Pedroia. Papi
hit a homer too. If he hits one more, he sets the DH record. The next
seven games are at home, however, so we’re not likely to see fans
holding up asterisk signs for this momentous record. The asterisks
would not be for the PED thing, though, because no one really cares
about that. They’d be in protest of his status as a full time DH which
is an affront to good and true baseball the world over. OK, nowhere in
the world but the NL and the Central League, but if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too? Well, would you?!

Cubs 9, Pirates 4: The AP game story referred to the Pirates as
“hapless.” I think hap-quotient is a lazy post-hoc rationalization for
a team’s performance. There have been plenty of teams that have won a
lot of games with very little hap, and vice-versa. The 1988 Braves?
Tons of hap. Lost 106 games. The 1970 Orioles, on the other hand, were
a great team, but were almost totally hap-free. You can look it up.

Blue Jays 6, Twins 3: Jon Rauch was tagged with a blown save
despite entering the game in the sixth inning. If I were him I’d
protest that one, because there was no way he was going to finish that
game. Charging a guy with a blown save in a game where he’d never
otherwise sniff a save is like charging a guy with robbery when he
never got anywhere near the safe.

Phillies 5, Nationals 3: You’re not going to believe this, but
Brad Lidge almost blew this one in the ninth. Single, ground out, HBP,
WP, walk, yanked. The yanking probably came less because he was about
to blow the game than it was because the walk was issued to Christian
Guzman, who doesn’t exactly feature the base on balls in his arsenal.
Raul Ibanez hit his 29th and 30th homers, joining Howard, Utley and
Werth with 30+ homers. Back in the 80s Donruss would have made a
baseball card with all four of them holding bats out over the words
“heavy lumber” or something. Do they still do stuff like that? Is
Donruss even around anymore? If not, are my Diamond King puzzles worth
anything? How about my Ron Darling “rated rookie”? Why am I going on
like Andy Rooney?

Marlins 4, Mets 2: Carlos Beltran returns and goes 1 for 4. It
seems like he was lost eight years ago, but it was only June. I had
forgotten how great a season he was having too (.335/.423/.527). One
can only wonder how 2009 could have gone for this team if they had even
a scintilla of luck this year.



Yankees 3, Rays 2: A walkoff Nick Swisher homer wins it for the
bombers, his second of the game. This was the Yankees’ 90th win, so
they can go 0-22 for the remainder of the season and still finish the
year a game better than last year.

Braves 2, Astros 1: Javier Vazquez had a nice game: seven
innings of shutout ball with nine Ks while smacking two hits of his
own. Otherwise the Braves offense consisted of two solo homers and a
single from Martin Prado. With this kind of onslaught, it’s a wonder
the Braves didn’t fall out of it long before they did.

Athletics 11, White Sox 3: I haven’t seen this many crooked numbers in an Oakland A’s box score since monsters like John Jaha roamed the Earth.

Royals 7, Tigers 5: Yuniesky Betancourt took a walk for the second night in a row. Next come the Tribulations and the Red Heifer.

Rockies 3, Reds 1: Eric Young Jr. hit his first home run.
Nothing makes me feel older than the fact that the son of a guy who
played for a 1990s expansion team is now hitting home runs in the
majors. Let me guess: Chuck Carr and Pat Rapp’s kids are finishing med
school this year?

Cardinals 4, Brewers 3: Fourteen pitchers were used in a 4-3
game. I’d like to think that in using so many guys Ken Macha was just
messin’ with La Russa and giving him some of his own business. Either
way, someone soon is going to get wise to the fact that walking Pujols,
intentionally or otherwise, to get to Matt Holliday — who had the game
winning dinger in the ninth with Pujols on base via a free pass —
isn’t the smartest move in the world.

Padres 4, Giants 3: Madison Bumgarner — who was born two weeks
after I got my driver’s license and thus makes me feel just as old as
Eric Young Jr. does — made his debut in place of the aching Tim
Lincecum, giving up two runs over five and a third and left the game
with the lead. That was against the Padres, though, so that translates
into seven or eight runs against a real offense. With this loss and the
Rockies’ win, the Giants fall three back in the wild card. They had
better rally soon, though, because this is the closest thing we have to
a race this year.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 4: Four RBI singles in the eighth lead big blue to a comeback win. The Dbacks turned five double plays in the game.

Angels 3, Mariners 2: A nice start from Scott Kazmir went
unrewarded due to poor run support and another blown save by Brian
Fuentes, but Erick Aybar’s two out single in the 10th saved the day.
Both of Kazmir’s starts have come against Felix Hernandez. I’m guessing
he’s getting tired of that.

Miguel Sano criticized by his manager for dogging it on a defensive play

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Sal Perez of the Royals had a nice night last night, going 5-for-5. One of those five hits was a triple. But it maybe didn’t have to be a triple, as Perez’s hit to right field went over the head of Miguel Sano and off the wall, bouncing back toward the infield.

Sano is no one’s idea of a gold glover so getting on him for not catching a ball at the wall is only going to have so much of an effect. But Twins manager Paul Molitor was rightly upset, it would seem, for how Sano reacted after the ball bounced off the wall. Specifically: he basically just stopped and watched it roll away as center fielder Danny Santana had to spring over and field it as the slow Perez lumbered around the bases. Molitor:

“I think maybe he assumed that [second baseman Eduardo] Nunez or Danny were going to be in better position after he positioned himself close to the wall to make the catch,” Molitor said. “But you want him to go for the ball even if you think there’s somebody else to help you out. Sometimes you get caught assuming out there and it doesn’t look too good.”

You can watch the play below. It starts at around the :37 second mark and is Perez’s third hit in the sequence:

Red Sox reliever Carson Smith to have Tommy John surgery

BOSTON, MA - MAY 09:  Carson Smith #39 of the Boston Red Sox looks on in the seventh inning during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on May 9, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Last season Carson Smith was an effective and durable relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, appearing in 70 games. In the offseason the Red Sox traded for him and Roenis Elias in exchange for Jonathan Aro and Wade Miley. This year Smith has appeared in just three games. And he will appear in no more as the Red Sox just announced that he will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery today.

Smith last appeared in a game ten days ago and, until today, it was believed that his injury was minor, like the flexor strain injury he sustained in spring training. Sadly, the news was much worse.

Bill “Spaceman” Lee is running for governor of Vermont

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Bill Lee pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1969 through 1978 and for the Montreal Expos from 1979 through 1982. He’s far better known, however, for being a weirdo, in the best sense of the term. He was outspoken and controversial and funny and aggravating and above all else his own dude.

His most famous comment as a player was when he said that he sprinkled marijuana on his pancakes in order to immunize him from Boston bus fumes as he jogged to Fenway Park. Which is patently silly, as everyone knowns you can’t just sprinkle it. You gotta make butter out of the stuff and spread it on the pancakes. Or so I’m told.

In recent years Lee has alternated gimmicky and celebrity baseball appearances with political aspirations. His political aspirations, of course, have never been conventional either. In 1987, for example, he had announced plans to run for President of the United States for the Rhinoceros Party. Which would’ve been a neat trick as it was a Canadian political party. Still, we could’ve used it here, as its platform was fairly intriguing. The Rhinoceroses advocated, among other things, repealing the law of gravity, legalizing all drugs, privatizing Tim Hortons and giving a rhinoceros for every Canadian Citizen.

That campaign didn’t work out for Lee, sadly, but he is undeterred. And now he plans to run for office again. Governor of Vermont, to be specific. And he plans to soak the rich:

Now, he’s throwing his hat into the race to be Vermont’s next governor shaking off campaign contributions and decrying wealth inequality.

“You get what you pay for, if you want change, you vote for Sanders or me. I’m Bernie-heavy, I’m not Bernie-lite. My ideas were before Bernie,” said Lee. “If you want to see money come down from the 2 percent, we’re going to need umbrellas when I’m elected, because it’s going to be raining dollars,” he said.

This is no Rhinoceros Party joke, though. He’s a member of the Liberty Union party, which is where Bernie Sanders got his start. And his platform — legalization and taxation of pot in Vermont, single-payer health care, paid family leave — are all things which have no small constituency in a liberal state like Vermont.

Oh, he has one other platform plank: bringing the Expos back to Montreal. That may be a bit tougher for the governor of Vermont to do, but we’ll probably see some form of New Expos in Montreal in the next decade or so, and Lee will be proven to be on the right side of history. And that’s better than a lot of our politicians can say, right?

The Marlins have sued at least nine season ticket holders and vendors

MIAMI, FL - MAY 04: Miami Marlins owner Jeffery Loria looks on during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on May 4, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images
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Earlier this month we reported that the Miami Marlins had sued a season ticket holder, Mickey Axelband, alleging that he reneged on the second year of a two-year season ticket agreement. Axelband, who had been a season ticket holder with the Marlins since their inaugural season in 1993, claimed that the Marlins reneged first, eliminating amenities which they promised upon the move to Marlins Park and failing to deliver on others.

In that post we observed that it is uncommon for teams to sue ticket holders. It’s bad form to begin with as season ticket holders are a club’s most valuable and dedicated customers. But it’s also dumb in that there are virtually limitless options available to a club to resolve disputes with ticket holders short of litigation. Why would the Marlins sue in this situation? Maybe there was more to it than we knew? Maybe this was just an extreme outlier of a case?

Nope. The Miami New Times reports today that this seems to be pretty par for the course for Jeff Loria’s Marlins. The Marlins, in fact, have sued at least nine season ticketholders and luxury suite owners since 2013. They are also locked in litigation with two stadium vendors. The concessioners claim that the Marlins induced them to pay big rights fees in order to set up business inside Marlins Park by promising big, big crowds, only to fail to deliver on those promises and to see the vendors go out of business or be unable or unwilling to pay what the Marlins demanded.

The story goes deep on Axelband’s dispute with Miami and that of a pizza vendor. Overall it paints a portrait of a Marlins club which doesn’t seem to give a crap about fans or its business partners, only the bottom line. Unless, of course, it’s trying to pose as a civic institution so it can get tax dollars to pay for its big stadium and rights fees from potential vendors. Now that they have the stadium, however, and now that the ink is dry on those deals, they’re portraying themselves like any other company, entitled to enforce their business deals in any way necessary.

And, legally speaking, they are. But they’re certainly approaching things differently than most ball clubs do. And in a way that puts lie to the notion that sports teams should be given any extra leeway when it comes to giving them all of the things they ask for.