And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 3, Braves 1: If, before last night, you said “on Monday the Braves are going to start a minor league swingman who has never thrown a pitch in the bigs against the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park and Philly will only score three runs,” I would have been fairly shocked and ultimately pleased, as far as it goes. But it could have been Greg Maddux v.1995 and it wouldn’t have made a difference because the Braves bats were just terrible. Not to take anything away from Cole Hamels, who was excellent, but Atlanta had its chances, but just hit into double plays and stranded guys and made bad errors and that’s pretty much the story of the last month.

By the way, I was amused at all of the “LoL! Braves suck!” sentiment from Philly fans on Twitter last night. Yes, my friends; the two-time defending National League Champions hung three whole runs on something called “Brandon Beachy” and the second string of the Braves bullpen. Clearly, your rooting interest was fearsome in its triumph. But hey, at least you Philly people have your own version of The Gimp.

Yankees 8, Rays 6: Curtis Granderson hit two homers, but each time the ball was devoured by the giant, insatiable head of the horrible, mammoth Steinbrenner Monument, which — due to its sheer mass — violated multiple laws of thermodynamics, came to life and sought something on which to feed. Just looking at it I can hear that “Xanadu: the costliest monument a man has built to himself!” voice-over running though my head over and over.

Marlins 4, Cardinals 0: Chris Volstad with the five-hit shutout. All the scoring came on a Brad Davis grand slam in the second. This one only lasted one hour and fifty-two minutes, allowing those in attendance to catch the whole game and still make it to the early bird special to steal Sweet N Low packets or whatever it is people who like to eat dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon to save a couple of bucks do in Florida.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: When Daisuke Matsuzaka dies, they’ll reprint a box score like this one instead of writing an actual obituary, because it pretty much captures his entire essence as a pitcher (6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 4K, 109 pitches). I got simultaneously bored and annoyed just reading that which, again, captures the essence of Dice-K.

Tigers 7, Royals 5: Yuniesky Betancourt was 4 for 4 with a homer and three RBI in a losing cause, blah, blah, blah . . . I’m more interested in the game story notes: “Brandon Inge’s two strikeouts gave him 1,094 in his career, leaving him five short of Lou Whitaker’s franchise record.”  Lou Whitaker? Really? I know he had longevity on his side but I would have guessed Willie Horton first and then maybe Norm Cash. Seems that they’re fifth and third, respectively, with Al Kaline coming in fourth. Never would have guessed Inge to even be top ten. Then again, if you had asked me before I looked, I never would have said that he’s played for the Tigers since 2001. Someone, please: where in the hell did the last decade go?

Astros 8, Nationals 2: The smallest crowd in the Nats brief history paid to watch the hometown nine throw/drop the ball all over the field, allowing four unearned runs to score in the fifth.

Twins 9, Indians 3: Danny Valencia hit his third homer in the last four games, this one an upper deck shot. But by far the coolest thing going for the Twins last night was that people were sending around this link to this week’s Sports Illustrated cover. I’m not a Twins fan by damn sight and it got me goin’. I’m guessing Aaron will have to take the day off to recover.

Reds 5, Brewers 2: Back-to-back homers by Votto and Rolen break a 2-2 tie and put the Reds back up by seven games. Zee magic number, she is six.

Athletics 3, White Sox 0: That’s seven straight losses for Chicago who, if I let my imagination run wild, I envision all working together to get their manager that job down in Miami that he seems to want. And hey: Boof Bonser sighting: he pitched the seventh and picked up the win, his first in over two years.

Angels 7, Rangers 4: David Murphy went 5 for 5, but it wasn’t enough as the Angels finally gave Jered Weaver some run support. The Rangers can’t clinch in this series, but they can when they move on to Oakland next.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.