And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Markakis swing.jpgOrioles 4, Red Sox 3: Juan Samuel gets his first win as the O’s manager
and the O’s get their first win in ten games. Nick Markakis breaks an
0-14 slump with the game-winning RBI single in the 11th. According to
the game story, they were doing the shaving cream pie in the face thing
in the clubhouse after the game. Really Baltimore? I’m not saying we
always did it right back in the day, but if my Babe Ruth league coach
caught us celebrating like that after one win in the middle of a crap
stretch we’d be running in the outfield for the next six hours.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Manny Parra strikes out ten Redbirds, including
four in one inning. He didn’t get the win, though, Zach Braddock did.
Note: “Zach Braddock” is not the secret identity of a teenage super
hero, no matter how much it sounds like it is. It’s merely the name of a
pitcher on the Milwaukee Brewers. As far as you know.  Anyway, the
point is, Braddock did not get a pie in the face as a celebration. He
got a beer shower, which is a far better way of celebrating baseball
accomplishments. Especially in a game between teams from Milwaukee and
St. Louis.

Rockies
3, Diamondbacks 2
: Ubaldo shut the Dbacks down through seven, but
was obviously out of gas to start the eighth giving up a double, a
dinger and a walk before being lifted. His scoreless innings streak
ended at 33 and his ERA shoots way the hell up to 0.93, so like, I guess
he’s some kind of scrub now or something.

Angels 9, Mariners 4: Mike Napoli had four hits including a two-run homer as the Halos sweep the M’s, outscoring them 27-7 in the series. Anaheim’s fifth straight win overall. Ron Roenicke was the acting manager because Mike Scioscia was attending his daughter’s high school graduation. I think that was just a cover story, though. Because as everyone know, Roenicke went 4-0, sweeping these same Seattle Mariners, as a fill-in skipper when Scioscia was suspended for four games back in 2006. So, yeah, Roenicke is a Mariners-killer.

Astros 6, Cubs 3: After dropping five out of six, Chicago now has to fly to Pittsburgh for a makeup game tomorrow and then right on to Milwaukee for a series against the Brewers. There they go, playin’ the star again. There they go, turn the page.

Athletics 5, Twins 4: Oakland avoids the sweep behind Gio Gonzalez’ seven strong innings. Game story: It was Little League day, and “Some 275 Little Leaguers from [Dallas] Braden’s hometown of Stockton attended.”  Given that they’re from the 209, I’m guessing they’re the toughest and most tattooed bunch of 12 year-olds west of the Mississippi.

Giants 6, Pirates 5: Brian Wilson blows the save and gets the win, which is a scoring decision that would be utterly impossible if I ruled baseball. Lincecum still struggled with his control, but not as badly as his last couple of starts, walking only two this time out.

Rays 9, Rangers 5: A game that lasted over four hours and, according to Joe Maddon and the Rays who complained about it, the heat was something fierce. Seems like it’s always hot down there, no matter when you come. It’s the kind of heat that holds you like a mama holds her son. Tight when he tries to walk, even tighter if he runs.

Royals 7, Tigers 2:  Brian Bannister is great in day games and great against the Tigers, so this one was no surprise. Next up: the 1935 Yankees are going to trade for him and see if they can’t steal that pennant from Detroit. Game aside: I totally need this shirt, don’t I?  Yeah, I thought so. See honey! They don’t think $35 is too much for a t-shirt, so you should let me buy it!

Reds 5, Nationals 4: We’ll all remember where we were the first time Stephen Strasburg charted pitches in the Major Leagues. Matt Capps blew his third save in four chances.  Note: ever since Capps met my friend Megan at that charity ball last month, his ERA has gone from 0.98 to 3.62. Watch out, boys, she’ll chew you up.

White Sox 8, Indians 7: The Chisox rally from down 6-2 to salvage one against the Tribe. Mark Buehrle continues to struggle, as he needed 95 pitches just to get out of the third inning. He has struggled since the end of last year, really. The lesson here: Armando Galarraga was very lucky not to have thrown that perfect game. It’s the kiss of death, brother.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: All hail Javy Vazquez. The man who was booed gave up one hit and two runs in seven innings against a team that has knocked the cover off the ball this year. That’s two outstanding starts in a row for Javy. Of course the last one was against Baltimore, so weigh that however you’d like.

Mets 7, Marlins 6: The Mets were down 5-0 in the sixth before asploding. Jeffy Francouer’s three-run bomb in the seventh tied it up and Ike Davis hitting into a double play — but plating a run all the same — drove in the game-winner. The Marlins now get Mike Stanton, by the way, and he hits ten homers a game so this losing with a mere six runs thing is officially now a thing of the past.

Padres
6, Phillies 5
: The Padres took the lead in the 10th. The
Phillies tried to rally in the bottom of the inning, with Placido
Polanco reaching on a walk. Chase Utley was up next and he singled to
center, but Tony
Gwynn Jr. nailed Polanco trying to make it to third
. Sweet play, as
the ball was softly hit and Gwynn never got a chance to plant and throw.

Dodgers
5, Braves 4
: The Braves took a 4-1 lead but then squandered both it
and many other opportunities to with the game. In more uplifting news,
the Dodgers made it Jose Lima tribute day, having his son throw out the
first pitch and playing video of Lima singing the National Anthem and
“God Bless America.”

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.