And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 6, Rangers 5: The coach-touching-the-runner interference call which ended this one is kind of nuts. Mostly because I can’t remember this even being talked about during a ballgame let alone ever having seen it. But it happened, Michael Young was out and the Rangers lost a game it looked like they were poised to at least tie up. My initial thought: even if there was contact here it was nothing of consequence, and did not “physically assist the runner in returning to or leaving third base,” which is what the contact needs to do per the rule in order to justify calling the runner out. In other words, it’s a judgment call, and the ump here, I think, judged it poorly.

All that said, how hilarious was it that third base coach Dave Anderson first yanked his hands back and then busted ass to get back inside the third base coach box as Young was running back to third? He knew they touched, and was trying his best to sell it that they didn’t. I still don’t think Young should have been called out, but maybe there’s a reason they have coaches boxes in the first place, huh?

White Sox 7, Red Sox 5: This is the game that sealed Papelbon’s non-tender this winter, right? Yeah, I realize that Richardson and Manuel walked in the go-ahead run and one to grow on, but they were Papelbon’s guys and the first rule of closing is not to put dudes on, right? Oh, and I’m guessing the White Sox are even angrier at that coach’s interference call in the Rangers-Twins game than the Rangers are. I mean, Texas basically has its playoff spot locked up. The Sox needed Minnesota to lose that one.

Cardinals 4, Reds 2: St. Louis took two of three, but is even that enough at this juncture? Chris Carpenter struck out 11. Matt Holliday hit the three-run bomb to put the Cards up for good. Future Braves centerfielder Colby Rasmus was 2 for 3.

Rockies 4, Padres 2: This is getting really hard to watch. Ten straight down, now the Giants are on the Padres’ heels and the Rockies — 4.5 back — aren’t far behind.

Giants 3, Dodgers 0: How close are the Giants? One game now thanks to a gem from Jonathan Sanchez (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9K). A two run homer for Juan Uribe — his second of the series — but he had to leave the game because, right before his bomb, he fouled one off his leg. Check in with lar and the Tater Trot Tracker to see if Uribe’s trot was negatively impacted.

Mets 18, Cubs 5: An eighteen run outburst on getaway day. How fun do you suppose that flight to D.C. was for the Mets yesterday? Courtesy of the Crank: the Mets have scored 18 or more runs in games seven times in their glorious history. Four of those games were in Wrigley Field.

Marlins 7, Braves 6: I’m happy I spent my afternoon toiling in our basement crawlspace rather than going from angry (Marlins take 6-0 lead) to happy (Braves tie it up) to angry again (Marlins win it in the 10th). Although the crawlspace toiling sucks on several levels too. For one thing my legs are in flaming pain today from all of the crouching and lugging of stuff. For another, most of the lugging was of baseball cards, getting them out of the main part of the basement and into storage so I can make room for a treadmill and weight setup, which will put me in even more pain. Hell, maybe I should have just had a few beers and watched this mess of a game to begin with? In other news, I have way too many damn baseball cards.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: Philly couldn’t take advantage of Atlanta’s stumble as Kyle Kendrick gave up a three-run bomb to Prince Fielder in the first inning and the Brewers never gave up the lead. Philly remains one behind the Braves.

Mariners 3, Indians 0: I felt pretty confident that Zack Greinke was going to win the Cy Young last year because his ERA and peripherals were so damn good that they had to overcome a lackluster win total that wasn’t his fault.  I’m less confident in Felix Hernandez pulling the same trick this year. Not because he’s not the best starter in the AL — he clearly is in my mind — but because the writers just ain’t gonna do the right thing twice in a row. Anyway, King Felix shut out the Tribe over eight and struck out nine dudes. He’s now 11-10 on the season, but he has 209Ks, has an ERA of 2.30, a WHIP of 1.09 and is going to finish with something like 250 innings pitched and fewer than 20 homers allowed.

Nationals 8, Pirates 1: Not all last place teams are created equal. Pirates starter Charlie Morton did lower his ERA from 10.03 to 9.66, though, so that’s a moral victory, right? Jason
Marquis refereed to himself in the third person after today’s game, describing his recent struggles thusly: “
That wasn’t Jason Marquis; it was Jason Marquis but pitching hurt, trying to battle through.” Craig doesn’t feel comfortable with a guy like Marquis doing that.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3: Haven’t scanned the tabloids yet, so someone tell me if any of them have blamed the return of A-Rod for the Yanks’ winning streak getting snapped. I wouldn’t bet a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys that no one went there. I’d probably bet the pink slip to my car that they did.

Orioles 8, Rays 7: Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer in his first at bat of the season and three other Rays had dingers too, but they weren’t enough to stop Buck Showalter from snagging his 900th career win.

Royals 2, Tigers 1: Jim Leyland: “You’re not going to win any games normally with three hits.”  That’s why he makes the big bucks, folks.

Angels 7, Athletics 4: Anaheim salvages one after getting shut down on Friday and Saturday. Ervin Santana lowers ran his career ERA against Oakland to 1.80 ERA and improved to 12-3 against them lifetime.

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2: From the AP recap: “Get rid of the first eight games of the season and the Houston Astros would be a .500 team.” Yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass a-hoppin’. OK, that was harsh. I get the point — the Astros have been pretty good in recent weeks — but I like to whip out that “if a frog had wings” thing once or twice a year and I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I got another one about how my auntie would be me uncle if certain things were different, but this is a family blog so I’ll save that for when I usually use it: in conversations with my children.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?

The Orioles and Yovani Gallardo are “making progress”

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.

If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

Navin Field
Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.