And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights


Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: I guess I owe Kevin Kernan an apology. Apparently the Yankees were waiting for A-Rod to get his 600th home run before the team would focus on winning baseball games again. He did it, they won, Kernan was right, Q.E.D.

Twins 2, Rays 1: And hey, the Yankees now own first place again thanks to the Rays loss. This one went 13 innings, though the Rays didn’t score their first run until Dan Johnson hit an RBI single off Matt Capps in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extras, blowing an excellent start for Scott Baker. But a win, as they say, is a win. Well, except for Scott Baker. That dude just doesn’t know how to win I guess.

Dodgers 9, Padres 0: Vicente Padilla with the two-hit shutout as the Dodgers take their second in a row from San Diego. This guy is turning into Livan Hernandez part deux: when he’s hit hard you totally understand it and when he’s hardly touched at all it almost drives you nuts.

Braves 8, Mets 3: The Mets throw the ball all over the field during what many Mets fans were saying on Twitter last night was the night they officially fell out of contention. I don’t know about that, but it certainly feels like it.  Not that (a) the Braves looked good either; or (b) the news was all good for them. But hey, Chipper hit another homer against the Mets, so a pretty strong sense of normalcy remains.

Phillies 7, Marlins 2:  Three RBI for Domonic Brown, though they came in less than glamorous fashion: a single, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice. But hey, they’re runs.

Cardinals 8, Astros 4: Single, double and a homer for Albert Pujols and seven and a third strong innings from Chris Carpenter. As for the Astros, J.A. Happ didn’t exactly make anyone forget about Roy Oswalt last night (1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 3 BB). On the bright side, the Houston bullpen allowed only one run in the next eight innings.

Indians 9, Red Sox 1: The Indians are 12-8 since the All-Star break. This is good. It will cause people to once again make them their “frisky pick” next spring, however. This is bad. For the sake of prognosticators and spring training optimists everywhere, Manny Acta, tank the rest of the season! Cleveland sports fans can’t afford to have their hopes — however irrational they may be — crushed again!

Orioles 9, Angels 7: Torii Hunter hit an RBI double in the ninth to bring the Angels to within two. Then, with no one out and the tying run at the plate, he tried to steal third and was thrown out.  On what planet does a guy try to steal third base with nobody out in the ninth inning, down by two?

Cubs 15, Brewers 3: I’ll stop saying that the NL Central is a rec softball league on a night when one of their teams doesn’t put up a couple of touchdowns on an in-division opponent. Jesus, this is ugly baseball.

Rockies 6, Giants 1: Even if I don’t think the Rockies have enough go-go to their game right now to get back into the race in the NL West, Ubaldo Jimenez’s season has at least given Rockies fans something worth following. He picked up his 17th win, striking out nine and allowing only one run over seven innings. He also scored all the way from first base on a Ryan Spilborghs double in the second innings, so the kid’s got stamina too. Must be all that good food his mama makes him.

White Sox 4, Tigers 1: Edwin Jackson was kind of the white elephant of the trade deadline. No matter what he says now, Kenny Williams did not intend to be stuck with him, but stuck he was after the Nationals decided that they only liked Jackson, not like-liked him. Having him paid off like crazy last night, though, as Jackson allowed only one run in seven innings. Only threw 95 pitches too, which is very un-Edwinlike.

Reds 9, Pirates 4: Heard this: Johnny Cueto owns a little shadowbox in which he stores and displays the Pirates’ butts, which he so thoroughly owns. He’s 3-0 against them this season, having allowed only four runs in 26 innings while striking out 27.

Athletics 4, Royals 3: Jose Guillen is 0 for his last 21. Which makes me
wonder why in the hell I listed him in my little “guys who could be
traded after clearing waivers” segment on HBT Daily yesterday. The
lesson, as always, is that I’m an idiot.

Nationals 7, Diamondbacks 2: Two homers and four RBI for Adam Dunn, who (a) is now the sole home run leader in the NL; and (b) is making himself a lot of money in this next contract.

Rangers 11, Mariners 6: A win on the field and an even bigger win in the courthouse. Grand slams for Michael Young and Chuck Greenberg.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

Scott Olson/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.