And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Braves 5, Nationals 0: You can throw all the fire in the world, but if your defense isn’t any good, you’re not going to go very far. That’s a lesson Stephen Strasburg learned last night as the Nats’ defense did a Marx Brothers’ routine behind him in the seventh inning, allowing the Braves to score a zillion times.  Wait, that’s not fair: the Marx Brothers were nothing if not competent. Hell, they were a well-oiled machine, really. The Nats were more like the Stooges. Like, post-Curly and Shemp-era Stooges. With Ian Desmond as Joe Besser.

Reds 7, Phillies 3: Johnny Cueto gave up only one run in eight innings despite not striking anyone out. Don’t see that every day. Scott Rolen hit his 300th career homer. Chase Utley left the game after jamming his thumb stretching a single into a double.

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 5: The Cards keep pace thanks to the latest in a series of late game catastrophes for Arizona this year. This one was less a bullpen problem than a defense problem, as two key throwing errors allowed multiple Cardinals runs to score. Of course one of the throwing errors was on reliever Aaron Heilman, so maybe you do count it as a bullpen problem. And interesting ettickal question.

Marlins 10, Mets 3: R.A. Dickey reverts to old form in Puerto Rico (5 IP, 5 H, 5 ER) and the Mets pen doesn’t do much better. A three run homer for Mike Stanton tops off Edwin Rodriguez’s homecoming game in style.  Though I’m happy for him that he got to manage in his homeland, I’d still like to know what happened with that Bobby V. thing. Unless someone tells me otherwise I’m going to assume that he had, like, three bartenders quit on him at his sports bar in Stamford and now he has to hustle back and forth between pulling extra shifts there and his night job on Baseball Tonight up in Bristol.

Pirates 2, Cubs 1: The Buccos win their first road game in 18 tries behind eight innings of one-run ball from Paul Maholm. An RBI double from Jose Tabata in the ninth inning was der differencemacher.

Tigers 7, Twins 5: The Tigers take possession of first place in the AL Central, but Joel Zumaya left the game with an obviously painful arm injury after throwing a pitch in the eighth. All of that pales, however, compared to the fact that Jim Thome hit a triple. The last time he had a triple that didn’t have the words “decker cheeseburger” after it was in 2004.

Indians 2, Blue Jays 1: No one comes around and tells me that I disrespect the Blue Jays anymore. That’s kind of sad, really. Not as sad as getting held to one run by the Indians’ staff, but pretty sad all the same.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: The Chisox loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth but couldn’t plate a single run and were retired on a strikeout and a couple of infield popups. Anthony Larew got his first major league win. Which seems wacky to me because, as is the case with a lot of guys who came up with the Braves, I feel like Larew has been around forever. I bet fans of every team have a few guys like this.

Astros 9, Brewers 5: The Astros fell into a 4-0 deficit in the early
going but roared back. Michael Bourn had a good game: four hits,
including a solo home run in the third and an RBI
single in the sixth. He also struck out once after stepping out of the
box while asking for a time out that was never granted. That’s always
fun.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: The Giants hit into five double plays.
One of them came off the bat of Edgar Renteria in the fifth. Renteria
was first-pitch swinging with Pablo Sandoval on first base after he
walked on four straight pitches. Repeat: Pablo “I’ll swing at anything
south of the bridge and north of the airport” Sandoval walked on four
straight pitches, and Renteria thought it wise to immediate hack at the
first pitch right afterward. Mercy.

Rockies 10, Padres 6: Ubaldo Jiminez hadn’t allowed a hit into the
sixth inning. The wheels fell off for him then, however, allowing three
singles a homer, a walk and four runs. Lucky for him he had an 8-0 lead
at the time.

The Chicago Cubs dramatically jack up ticket prices

Wrigley Field
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The Cubs won the World Series. Now Cubs fans are going to pay through the nose for the privilege of going to games at Wrigley Field: The club has raised season ticket prices for 2017, on average, 19.5%. The rate increases range from 6% for upper deck seats to 31% for infield club seats.

As a result of the increase, the Chicago Tribune reports, a single infield box seat on the dugout for 81 games will cost $29,089.76, or $359 per game. The cheapest season ticket, for upper-deck outfield seats, is $2,139.20, or $26 per game. Those figures include tax, so it’s practically a bargain.

The Cubs cite “unprecedented demand” for tickets as the reason for the increase. That’s likely true. Cubs tickets are expensive even when they aren’t playing well due to the draw that is Wrigley Field. Indeed, for years, when the product on the field suffered, there was a sense that people would go to the ballpark just for the fun of it in ways that fans rarely if ever do for other teams. The Cubs attendance increased dramatically in 2016 and tickets often experienced an equally dramatic increase on the secondary ticket market. The Cubs would be wise to try to capture as much of that profit as they can rather than see it go to others.

Still, that’s gonna smart for people who can’t afford season tickets and who just want to go to a one-off game with the kids and exacerbates the longstanding trend of baseball tickets becoming luxury items for the well-off.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
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Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.