And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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Angels 11, Rangers 0: The Angels clinch the West, and in a fit of wrongheadedness so comically tragic that it strains credulity, they soak the jersey of a victim of a fatal drunk driving accident with beer and champagne in celebration. Here’s hoping that someone in Angels’ management was passing out cab vouchers last night.

Tigers vs. Twins, POSTPONED: I usually put rainouts last, but this rainout was more significant than most of the actual games that were played last night. Not sure whether a doubleheader today gives either team a big advantage. The Twins have a better bullpen, but the Tigers are going with two starters — Porcello and Verlander — who will make their own bullpen less important by comparison. All I know is that if I was in Detroit tomorrow I’d probably be skipping work. Heck, the wine I ordered when I was out in California last week is getting delivered today, so I may skip work anyway.

Pirates 11, Dodgers 1: John Russell lifted Zach Duke with one out to go for a complete game. Russell’s explanation: that he wanted to give Duke a standing ovation as he left the mound. Sorry John, this ain’t basketball and I ain’t buyin’ it. My guess: Russell is in a fantasy league in which CGs are a stat and the guy he’s battling for first place owns Duke. It’ll be a scandal if people can ever prove it. Like the Pete Rose thing, but boring. As for the rest of the game: Andy LaRoche homered twice, doubled twice and singled, driving in six runs. Some genius once told me that homers were rally killers. They’re also cycle killers, so your failure was two-fold, Mr. LaRoche. So, L.A.? Is this how you’re gonna bring it against Philly or Atlanta or whoever you get next week? Good luck with that.

Braves 4, Marlins 0: I don’t know if the Rockies are going to cooperate and lose two or three games before Sunday, but if they do, ain’t nobody gonna want to face the Braves in the playoffs. Based on some stuff I read yesterday, there are still some people who don’t quite appreciate how awesome Jair Jurrjens is (“middle of the rotation starter?“). I wouldn’t trade the dude — who shut the Marlins out over seven — if the money for Fielder was dead even.

Astros 8, Phillies 2: Well, I suppose it’s possible that the Braves AND Rockies could make the playoffs. Such a collapse would be damn nigh historic as far as collapses go, but as I sit here this morning anything seems possible. I thought the 1987 Blue Jays had the division wrapped up too.

Rays 7, Orioles 6: If the Rays were to move from St. Pete after building a new stadium in Tampa or Branden or Riverview or something, could they change their name to the East Bay Rays? Because that would be cool.

Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 5: This one was called in the seventh inning because of rain and the mercy rule and the fact that three-fourths of the Red Sox roster is having spasms of some kind this week. Michael Bowden gave up seven runs on seven hits and a walk in a spot start for Beckett. In this he was like the substitute teacher who would just put on the “Free To Be You and Me” video, read her Better Homes and Gardens magazine and let the class run amok the entire period. Not that we all didn’t stop when Rosey Grier sang “It’s alright to cry,” some of us because we were touched, others because we couldn’t believe our frickin’ eyes. Man, being born in the 70s sucked.

White Sox 6, Indians 1: It blows my mind that, despite how nightmarish a season it has been for the Royals, they could once again finish out of the cellar and ahead of a team everyone thought would go to the playoffs when camp broke. But here are the Indians, losing again and letting this race go down to the wire.

Yankees 8, Royals 2: Not that Kansas City is going to go down without a fight. Luke Hochevar, pitched a three hit shutout a couple of starts ago, got shelled for eight runs on 12 hits in six innings. Atta boy, Lukey, always keep ’em guessing! This performance, by the way, came against a Yankee lineup containing such luminaries as Brett Gardner, Eric Hinkse, Shelley Duncan, Juan Miranda, and Frank Cervelli.

Nationals 2, Mets 1: Helen Keller once said “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” She went on to say that the second most pathetic person in the world is any Mets fan who hasn’t jumped ship before now.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.