And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Dana Eveland.jpgRed Sox 13, Blue Jays 12: Just your standard 25 run, 34 hit, 4+ hour nine inning game. Lyle Overbay, Jose Bautista and Jason Varitek each had 4 RBI, Bill Hall, Jeremy Herminda and Travis Snider all had 0-fers, and the starting pitchers — Josh Beckett and Dana Eveland — were each tied up and were placed, sitting backwards, on the backs of donkeys while wearing giant carnival masks and then led out into some forbidding desert to die.

Brewers 17, Pirates 3: The Milwaukee Brewers! What a rotten name! We were trapped. There they stood,
between us and the alley. The Milwaukee Brewers staring out at us with their yellow
eyes. They had yellow eyes! So, help me, God! Yellow eyes!

Royals 3, Mariners 1Kyle Davies beats Felix Hernandez? OK, that’s unexpected, but weird things happen from time to time. Yuniesky Betancourt goes 2-4 and is now hitting close to .350 on the year? Well, that is a little peculiar. Bruce Chen gets a save? Screw it, I’m maxing out my credit cards and pulling the kids out of school, because the end is friggin’ nigh.

Marlins 10, Padres 1: Josh Johnson pitched a complete game, striking out 12 and giving up a lone earned run and he went 3-4 driving in three.  A guy who can do that on a regular basis is worth $25 million a year. Ryan Howard? Not so much.

Tigers 8, Rangers 6: Neftali Feliz gives up back-to-back homers to Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge in the ninth to lose the game. I hate to see Feliz struggle, but any little thing that may push him out of Certified Closer land and back into being a starting pitcher is fine by me.

Cubs 4, Nationals 3: The Nats battled back from 3-0 to send the game to extras, and then Brian Bruney comes in and allows a single, a walk, a single and a walk to end it. His former team, the World Champion New York Yankees, were in Washington yesterday meeting President Obama. There’s a reason he did not accompany them.

Cardinals 4, Braves 3: “Commonly, people believe that defeat is characterized by a general bustle and a feverish rush. Bustle and rush are the signs of victory, not of defeat. Victory is a thing of action. It is a house in the act of being built. Every participant in victory sweats and puffs, carrying the stones for the building of the house. But defeat is a thing of weariness, of incoherence, of boredom. And above all of futility” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery, noted observer of the Atlanta Braves.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3: Dan Haren was on: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 10K. Adam LaRoche’s three-run homer in the first was a the big blast.

Giants 5, Phillies 1: Yes, of course it makes perfect sense that the Giants would score the most runs they had in a over week — 5 — on the night they face Roy Halladay. Wait, it actually does. Before last night Halladay had faced the Giants twice in his career and on each occasion they had scored . . . five runs.

Angels 5, Indians 2: The first several paragraphs of the game story are spent here comparing Jered Weaver to Jeff Weaver. Am I the only one who finds this odd? Hideki Matsui had his 1000th major league hit last night. I saw his performance. I would like to have a player like him in my lineup.
 
Mets vs. Dodgers: Postponed:  Remember that “Happy Days” episode where the Fonz performed in “The Rainmaker?” What the hell was up with that?

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

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Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.