And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Rockies 10, Reds 5: Ubaldo Jimenez won his first one in over a month, but it had a lot more to do with the offense behind him because he was all over the place. He walked six, allowed seven hits and was a hair’s breadth from getting the hook early on. Tulowitzki homered, tripled and drove in three runs and Carlos Gonzalez was 3 for 5 with a couple of RBI.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 6: The Cards pick up a game — they’re now six back — thanks to a six-spot in the eighth inning, capped by a Yadier Molina grand slam. After the game, Molina said “from now on, we have to win, that’s a rule.” Jeez, bro, if you had simply made that rule a month ago y’all wouldn’t be down six games right now, would ya?

Padres 4, Dodgers 2: The streak, she is broken. San Diego lost five and a half games of their lead in the process, but they retain a one-game advantage over the Giants. The win may have been significant from a historical perspective as well, as at least one team — the 1982 Braves — lost ten in a row and still made the playoffs, but no one has dropped eleven straight and done so. Not that it couldn’t have happened to the Padres, of course, but The Fates, man, they don’t like to be tempted like that.

Giants 2, Diamondbacks 0: Just your typical seven-pitcher shutout for the Giants, led by Madison Bumgarner. Ian Kennedy certainly deserved a better fate than his no decision (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). Certainly deserving better were two children who were hurt in the fourth inning, one by a flying bat, one by a foul ball, with each child being taken to the hospital.

Athletics 6, Mariners 2: We must give a golf clap to Brett Anderson for a nice outing, but really, shutting down Seattle these days is no big trick. Indeed, it’s been 12 games since they scored more than three runs.

Cubs 5, Astros 4: Geovany Soto got barreled over blocking home plate in the fourth — he held on to the ball to make the out — and then hit the game winning homer in the eighth. But then again, he’s a catcher, and that’s what they do.

Twins 5, Royals 4: Jim Thome hit a home run in the fifth inning that went so far it had to clear Canadian customs before it could land. Jason Kubel’s, however, was the go-ahead homer. The Twins have won 17 of 20.

Blue Jays 7, Rangers 2: Rangers manager Ron Washington, talking about the Jays’ offense after the game: “They got seven and six came via the long ball.” Hey Ron: I’ll refrain from filling our your lineup card if you refrain from doing my job, OK? Thanks.

Pirates 3, Braves 1: The Braves strand so many guys at first or second base that I’m beginning to think that their hitting coach is Lysistrata.

Marlins 7, Phillies 1; Phillies 7, Marlins 4: A split doubleheader combined with the Braves loss pulls Philly to within a half game of Atlanta. Marlins rookie Adalberto Mendez shut the Phils down before leaving the first game with a leg injury. Roy Oswalt continued his winning ways in the nightcap, allowing four runs and six hits and striking out seven in seven innings.

Orioles 4, Yankees 3: Brian Matusz won his fourth straight start, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings. Alex Rodriguez surpassed 100 RBI for the 13th straight season. Note: when a player people like hits a lot of RBIs, he’s a “run producer.” When Alex Rodriguez does it, he’s a selfish stat-hound.

White Sox 5, Tigers 4: A.J. Pierzynski hit the go-ahead single in the 10th inning and had three RBIs overall as the Sox with their seventh in a row. According to the game notes, Vizquel passed Rafael Palmiero for most games by a player born outside the United States in baseball history. I don’t know that I would have gotten that one right if you had given me five guesses. I would have probably guessed Tony Perez and maybe Julio Franco or someone like that ahead of those guys. Which makes no sense, because intellectually I realize that Vizquel has had a longer career than them. I think it’s a mental block because I’ve been an adult for basically all of Vizquel’s entire career so it doesn’t seem as long. Time, time, time, see what’s become of me.

Nationals 13, Mets 3: Rookie Danny Espinosa had a grand slam, a solo shot, a double, a single and six RBI. The Nats won their 60th game of the year, which is something they hadn’t done since 2007.

Red Sox 12, Rays 5: Boston jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never really looked back. Not a bad output for a lineup that only had four Opening Day starters in it.

Indians 3, Angels 2: Shin-Soo Choo broke a 2-2 with an RBI single in the ninth. The Angels’ offense continues to sputter. From the AP game story: “Cleveland’s starters have a 3.20 ERA over the last 12 games, allowing
three runs or fewer in all but one start. Every starter in the past 14
games has gone at least five innings.” [Dana Carvey doing Johnny Carson’s voice]: I did not know that. That’s some wild, wild stuff.

Jackie Robinson: ” I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag”

FILE - In this April 11, 1947 file photo, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers poses at Ebbets Field in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Robinson's widow said Major League Baseball has yet to fully honor her husband's legacy. "There is a lot more that needs to be done and that can be done in terms of the hiring, the promotion" of minorities in the sport, Rachel Robinson said Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 during a Q&A session with TV critics about "Jackie Robinson," a two-part PBS documentary airing in April.  (AP Photo/John Rooney, File)
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One more bit of baseball via which we may reflect on the Colin Kaepernick controversy.

In 1972 Jackie Robinson wrote his autobiography. In it he reflected on how he felt about his historical legacy as a baseball player, a businessman and as a political activist. A political activism, it should be noted, which favored both sides of the aisle at various times. He supported Nixon in 1960, supported the war in Vietnam and worked for Nelson Rockefeller. He did not support Goldwater and did support the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He supported Humphrey against Nixon in 1968. He was no blind partisan or ideologue. When you find someone like that you can usually rest assured it’s because they’re thinking hard and thinking critically in a world where things aren’t always cut-and-dried.

As such, this statement from his autobiography, describing his memory of the first game of the 1947 World Series, is worth thinking about. Because it came from someone who spent a lot of time thinking:

There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.

Colin Kaepernick is not Jackie Robinson and America in 2016 is not the same as America in 1919, 1947 or 1972. But it does not take one of Jackie Robinson’s stature or experience to see and take issue with injustice and inequality which manifestly still exists.

As I said in the earlier post, the First Amendment gives us just as much right to criticize Kaepernick as it gives him a right to protest in the manner in which he chooses. But if and when we do, we should not consider his case in a vacuum or criticize him as some singular or radical actor. Because some other people — people who have been elevated to a level which has largely immunized them from criticism — felt and feel the same way he does. It’s worth asking yourself, if you take issue, whether you take issue with the message or the messenger and why. Such inquiries might complicate one’s feelings on the matter, but they’re quite illuminative as well.

(thanks to Kokujin for the heads up)

Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a sports owner once again

File photo of Frank McCourt leaving Stanley Mosk Courthouse after testifying during his divorce trial in Los Angeles
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There aren’t many major league ownership reigns which ended more ignominiously than Frank McCourt’s reign as Dodgers owner. He was granted access to one of business’ most exclusive clubs — one which being a convicted criminal or even a Nazi sympathizer cannot get you kicked out of — and somehow got kicked out. The clear lesson from his saga was that saddling your team with debt, using it as your own private piggy bank and exercising bad judgment at every possible turn will not get you drummed out of baseball but, by gum, having it all go public in a divorce case sure as heck will.

McCourt landed pretty safely, though. By sheer luck, his being kicked out of ownership coincided with the vast appreciation of major league franchise values and the expiration of the Dodgers cable television deal. He may have left in disgrace, but he also left with a couple of billion dollars thanks to the genius of capitalism. At the time it was assumed he’d ride off into the sunset, continuing to make a mint off of parking at Dodgers games (he retained a big piece of that pie) and not get his hands messy with sports ownership again.

Such assumptions were inoperative:

The soccer club has suffered from poor financial decisions in recent years. So I guess it was a match made in heaven.