And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights


Mets 3, Braves 2: I get the sense that we’ll be calling this one the “Francoeur Game” for some time. A bad route by Frenchie on what should have been a single to right led to the Braves’ second run, but then (a) Kyle Farnsworth walked Francouer on four pitches in the seventh and he came around to score; and (b) Frenchie hit the winning home run off Billy Wagner in the ninth. I can’t be mad at Francoeur. The guy’s not evil and he used to be part of my baseball life. Good for him for doing something great in the course of such an awful season. That dinger probably made his year, and everyone should get that kind of joy in their lives once in a while, even if it pains some of us to have to watch it.

Rays 6, Twins 4: Three-run bombs by Sean Rodriguez and B.J. Upton and now the Rays are in first place.  Why?

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 2: That’s why. Rickey Romero tosses a complete game two-hitter. But New York writers can’t be bothered to break down a great pitching performance by the opposition. No, they have to latch onto or create some narrative to explain the outcome in a way that creates a Yankee hero or a Yankee goat.  To wit: I haven’t seen the column yet, but after this game ended last night the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan tweeted that his story for today would be that the Yankees are “letting 600 get in their heads.”  As if anyone on the team cares beyond what it means for dumb reporters’ questions after the game.  Nothing to do with Girardi penciling in a peculiar bottom of the order. Nothing to do with Romero throwing bullets. It’s not even just an A-Rod story anymore. No, the whole damn team is infected by 600-itis!  Brilliant! UPDATE: Kernan didn’t disappoint: “The milestone has become a millstone around the neck of A-Rod and the Yankees.” Oy.

Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Fisticuffsmanship!  Well, pushing, shoving and jawing anyway. Josh Beckett hit a couple of dudes. So later Indians’ relievers Justin Germano and Jensen Lewis threw behind the backs of Papi and Beltre, respectively, which led to he aforementioned shoving and jawing and then ejecting. As for the baseball, Mike Lowell smacked a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw.

White Sox 12, Tigers 2; Tigers 7, White Sox 1: Like I said a couple of weeks ago: split a double-header and it’s like you wasted a day. Like you’ve ended on a note of ambiguity instead of being able to go to bed with the satisfaction of a win or the emptiness of a loss. With at least said emptiness being a resolved note, rather than a dissonant one. But a split? Runnin’ to stand still, baby. Ha La La La De Day. Ha La La La De Day, ha La La De Day.

Phillies 6, Marlins 1: Roy Halladay struck out nine over seven innings and had a two-run single to boot. The Phillies have lost a ton of position players, but Halladay has been there all year, and there’s no way to overstate how huge that has been.

Orioles 6, Angels 3: Buck Showalter’s Orioles are undefeated.

Pirates 7, Reds 6: The Reds came close to fighting back from a 7-1 deficit but fell a tad short. Hard core Pirates fans and fantasy junkies will be interested to note that Joel Hanrahan appears to have been given closer’s duties in Pittsburgh following the trade of Octavio Dotel. The rest of you can continue reading up on Steelers’ camp.

Astros 18, Cardinals 4: I’m becoming convinced that the NL Central is really a rec softball league.  Best part of this rout: Tony La Russa had infielder Aaron miles pitch the ninth inning yet somehow resisted the urge to play the matchups and yank Miles with a situational lefty infielder later in the inning.

Brewers 4, Cubs 3: When you strike out ten dudes in your major league debut you should probably win that game. Tough stuff for the Cubs’ Thomas Diamond, I guess.  The Cubs just couldn’t get the timely hit to support the kid.

Dodgers 2, Padres 1: The Ted Lilly deal is a good one so far. Lilly allowed only one run on two hits over seven without walking a dude. The Padres’ lone run came from one of their deadline pickups, Miguel Tejada, who hit a first inning dinger.

Mariners 3, Rangers 2: The M’s not only scored their first run since Friday, but they snapped their seven game losing streak too. Not that they really brought out the lumber: “They singled us to death,” Ron Washington said after the game.  Hey, whatever gets the job done.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 1: Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, then was beaned by a pitch in the sixth. Reynolds on the pitch from Colin Balester: “I guess the pitch just got away from him.” I truly hope so. There’s nothing uglier in baseball than pitchers hitting a dude on purpose simply because they hit a homer.

Royals 3, Athletics 2: Alex Gordon was 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, and came around to score the winning run on a fielder’s choice by Gregor Blanco in the ninth. I wonder if they’d take Kyle Farnsworth for Gordon?

Giants 10, Rockies 0: Jonathan Sanchez strikes out nine Rockies in six shutout innings and Colorado does nothing to stop the Giants’ bats (note: I’m still having trouble getting my mind around the Giants having bats).  That sound you hear is all hope abandoning the few remaining riders of the Rockies’ bandwagon.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

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Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.