And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Rockies 11, Padres 10: It’s long been obvious that the Rockies
are charmed this year, but when they win despite a horrible outing from
their starter and a bullpen meltdown and still win, that just seals it.
Inside the park homer for Barmes, though it took Edgar Gonzalez
dislocating his shoulder while diving for it to make it so.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: The Yankees clinch. They also came back after blowing five-run lead and held on for a rare win in Anaheim.

Diamondbacks 10, Giants 8: Mark Reynolds broke his own strikeout
record. Which shouldn’t be a big deal given that he’s got a .922 OPS,
but that didn’t stop the dude in front of me on the plane Monday night
going on and on about how Reynolds sucks “because he can’t make
contact.”

Reds 10, Pirates 4: I have a friend with Pirates season tickets
for some reason. This is him via Blackberry during the game “I’m behind
home plate @ Pirates v. Reds – about 5 real players – this sucks – kill
me now.”

Athletics 9, Rangers 1: It’s easy this time of year to sort of
write off every team that has had a poor season as a wreck and feel
sorry for their fans and generally just want it to all end quickly (as
many of my recaps today suggest). But you have to remember that there
are still games to be played and that games, on an individual basis,
still matter. People still enjoy them for their own sake and haven’t
simply moved on to football or the hot stove season or whatever. That
was brought home to me during my trip this past weekend, as many people
I talked to in the Bay Area were rather excited about the A’s strong
September. They’re not showing up in droves, but people are watching
and listening and are simply happy to have baseball.

Cardinals 11, Astros 2: Often at this time a year I wonder if
teams can’t simply pay some fee to the league office that would allow
them to simply forfeit every remaining game rather than go out and
embarrass themselves the way Houston is as the season comes to a close.

Royals 5, Red Sox 1: Zack Greinke pretty much sewed up the Cy
Young award with this one, right? His 15th win in front of the
influential Boston press corps. puts the exclamation point on a strong
finish.

Dodgers 14, Nationals 2: Three . . . thats the magic number. Yes
it is. Its the magic number. Somewhere in this hip-hop soul community,
was born three Mase, Dove and me, and that’s the magic number.

Phillies 9, Marlins 3; Marlins 3, Phillies 0: Joe Blanton gave
up two hits in seven innings in the first; Anibal Sanchez allowed two
hits in eight innings in the second. I like symmetry.

Mariners 4, Rays 3: Tampa Bay is eliminated. The team, not the bay itself. That would be catastrophic.

Tigers 3, Indians 1: Some wonder
whether Edwin Jackson is hurt or tired or is tipping his pitches or
whatever, but it seems he simply hasn’t faced the Indians enough.

Braves 3, Mets 1: Jair Jurrjens allows only one run on five hits
as the Mets painful season draws closer and closer to a merciful end.
The Braves have won 10 of 12, but it’s going to be too little, too late.

Twins 8, White Sox 6: The Twins have won eight of nine, and are
showing themselves to be a better overall team than the Tigers, but can
they close the 2.5 game gap? Whatever happens, we can thank them for
giving us an actual race as the season winds down.

Cubs 7, Brewers 2: The Cubs won their third straight since
suspending Milton Bradley for the season. Coincidence? Doesn’t matter,
because it will not be viewed as such when it comes time to decide what
to do with the guy next year.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: See Houston comment above.

Reds prospect Juan Duran suspended 80 games

Banned
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Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.

Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.

Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.

The Blue Jays will talk long term deals with Jose Bautistia and Edwin Encarnacion

Jose Bautista Blue Jays
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Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.

But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.

Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.

But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.

The Rays are REALLY ready to get to work on that new ballpark

rays logo
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Last month St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement that would allow the Rays to seek a new ballpark outside of the St. Pete city limits, anywhere in the Bay Area. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports¬†today that the Rays have submitted a required report to that end which “describes how they plan to evaluate potential ballpark sites across the Tampa Bay area” and serves as a rough outline of the sort of facility they’re looking to build.

They submitted it 39 days before deadline. Ya think they’re eager to get moving?

As for the specifics, it sounds like they’re shooting for a Braves or Cardinals style destination place with surrounding entertainment, retail and the like. The Braves are achieving that by basically building the park at a mall and plan to surround it with other mall/entertainment district-type development. The Cardinals built a downtown park, but have developed Ballpark Village after the fact. This is to be contrasted with downtown parks which either counted on existing city businesses or spurred separate development.

All of which makes sense given that there isn’t one dominant location in Tampa which all but demands development there. Tampa has a few different areas that might make sense and the place is generally more spread out than older cities. It also makes sense for the Rays’ owners who are likely well aware that being in the real estate business is just as good for them as being in the baseball business.

Will anyone EVER break that record that was broken nine years ago?

Hank Aaron
Associated Press
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In 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. He would go on to hit six more, finishing his career with 762. That was nine years ago and, at present, the active home run leader is nearly 80 homers behind him and no sure bet to come close. The next closest guy is over 200 homers back and clearly entering a period of decline.

All of which raises the question: will anyone EVER pass the home run total of Hank Aaron, who is in second place on that list?

Maybe you think that’s not really a pertinent question. We tend not to ask whether people who do not, by any objective measure, hold a record will have their records surpassed. But you’d be wrong. Why, just today, on Hank Aaron’s 82nd birthday, at least two journalists speculated whether anyone would ever become the all-time second place home run king:

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That’s from Cliff Corcoran at Sports Illustrated. As always, it’s excellent work from Cliff. Right up there with his seminal “will anyone ever catch Lou Brock in stolen bases?” and “who can catch Trevor Hoffman in career saves?” pieces.

Then there’s Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who approves of the question posed and has his own response:

You can imagine how those tweets were received by those parts of Twitter who are all about PED apologia, math, objective standards, noting that Aaron admitted that he took a PED that would have him banned today too and stuff like that. As always, these things get ugly.

Not that they have to be. It’s almost as if, if one were to try, one could celebrate the amazing inner-circle Hall of Fame career of Hank Aaron, full as it is with nearly unsurpassed accomplishment, without applying a revisionist gloss to the one accomplishment that, according to all objective measures and the accounting of Major League Baseball, has been surpassed. That one could talk about Aaron without slagging on Bonds.