San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 8, Rockies 1: Lincecum had a no hitter into the seventh inning. As I was watching it in the den, my wife walked in. She loves Tim Lincecum, so I said “hey, your boyfriend has a no-hitter going in the seventh.”  She said “Is that good?”  I’ve been married to this woman for almost 16 years and we’ve been together for over 20 and absolutely zero baseball knowledge has rubbed off on her. There’s an aggressive, tenacious amount of ignorance there, bordering on the hostile. Maybe it’s for the best. If she was into baseball, she probably would try to do something about her Tim Lincecum fixation. Timmy struck out 10 in seven and two-thirds.

Indians 7, Royals 3: A tight one in regulation between the top two teams in the AL Central. Though they would pile more runs on in the 10th, Shelley Duncan’s RBI double that inning ended up being the game-winner. So two of the Calcaterra ladies had reason to be happy last night, even though they were both oblivious of it. My wife because of her active ignorance of her boyfriend’s eventually spoiled accomplishment, my daughter because her minor league baseball crush got his hit after her 8:30 PM bedtime.

Dodgers 4, Braves: 2:   I couldn’t watch all of this one because of the time difference, but I switched to it as soon as Lincecum’s no-hitter was broken up. Thanks to MLB.tv I had my choice of announcers. Do I watch my favorite team’s crew, or do I watch the bad guys’ crew? The former is Chip Caray. The latter is Vin Scully. Who do you think I watched?  In the top of the second inning Scully said the following, and this is an exact quote: “Dan Uggla — U-G-G-L-A. It is a Swedish name, and it means owl.”  You can never go wrong with Scully.

Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1: I hit this one up yesterday afternoon. Still no word if the real Dice-K has been found. I don’t know that anyone’s looking. We may have a Martin Guerre situation at work here. Except in this case, I think everyone will be just fine if Arnaud du Tilh is allowed to stick around.

Brewers 6, Phillies 3: John Axford blew the save by allowing a pinch-hit RBI single to Pete Orr, and they played on deadlocked until the 12th. That’s when Kyle Kendrick came in for Philly. While he pitched the entire 12th inning, Kendrick didn’t retire anyone who didn’t willingly give themselves up. Here’s how the inning went: walk, attempted sacrifice/Kendrick throwing error, sacrifice, HBP, run-scoring wild pitch, intentional walk, RBI sacrifice, intentional walk, RBI single, but the third out on an outfield assist. Oy.

Rays 5, White Sox 0: In the Power Rankings yesterday I excoriated the Mariners for making Adam Kennedy the DH and batting him cleanup last week. In this one Joe Maddon did the same for Felipe Lopez. Lopez, however, went 3 for 4 with a double a homer and three RBI. Sam Fuld went 4 for 4, and his legend grows. Eight shutout innings for David Price.

Twins 5, Orioles 3: Eight straight losses for Baltimore. Drew Butera — who else? — swings the big stick for the Twins, going 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI. Matt Capps allowed a homer in the ninth but got the save anyway. Which is an improvement.

Pirates 9, Reds 3: Travis Wood takes a cue from Edinson Volquez and allows three runs in the first inning and the Reds never really recovered. Wood gave up six runs on eight hits in all. No home runs for Pittsburgh, but every Pirate starter except the pitcher got a hit, and most of them had two hits.  Only bright spot for Cincy: Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, hitting triple digits on the radar gun multiple times. The ballpark radar gun registered 106 once, but that was obviously hot. But even if it was, what, four or five miles per hour over, it ain’t like Chapman was throwing meatballs.

Cubs 1, Padres 0: It was 34 degrees at the time of the first pitch, so the fact that this was a 0-0 game through nine innings is kind of understandable. Carlos Zambrano shut out the Padres on three hits while striking out eight ten during his time in the game. Tim Stauffer did the same on four hits over seven. Cubbies win it when Tyler Colvin doubles in Geovany Soto in the bottom of the 10th.

Rangers 7, Angels 1: C.J. Wilson strikes out nine in seven innings and Ervin Santana shows us that there’s a long ways down from Mt. HarenWeaver to the valley in which the rest of the Angels rotation resides (4 IP, 10 H, 6 ER).

Tigers 8, Mariners 3: Detroit comes from behind when they put up a 6-spot in the seventh inning. Or, as Eric Wedge put it after the game, “that seventh inning got ugly there.” A win, but a costly one for Detroit, as they lose Victor Martinez to a groin injury in the second.

Are the current Collective Bargaining Agreement talks too friendly?

Scott Boras
Associated Press
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Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1. There have been comments from both commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA director Tony Clark suggesting that progress was being made and there has been no suggestion thus far that there are sticking points which could lead to a work stoppage. Heck, even a few acrimonious rounds of negotiation before it’s all said and done seem unlikely.

That’s good news for fans, but it’s not making certain agents happy. Smooth labor sailing likely means a new CBA that is pretty close in most terms to the current CBA. Agents — especially agents who represent veterans — don’t like that because they believe that the current rules regarding free agency, draft pick compensation, luxury taxes and qualifying offers penalize the players they represent. Today Ken Rosenthal has a story about that anger, talking to both anonymous agents and super agent Scott Boras about how baseball’s middle class is disappearing and baseball’s median salary goes lower and lower.

Major League Baseball counters that while the median salary is going down, the average salary is going up. And baseball is right about that. But it’s also the case that the average is propped up by a handful of superstar contracts while the somewhat less lucrative but still nice mid-level contracts for mid-level veterans are disappearing. The financial landscape of the game is morphing into one with a small upper class with nine-figure contracts and a large lower class of pre-arbitration players and veterans on shorter, smaller deals, squeezing the old veteran middle class out of existence.

Sound familiar?

Baseball, of course, is not the American economy. There are some good reasons why those mid-level contracts have gone away. Specifically, because they tended not to be very good deals for the teams who signed them. At the same time, baseball is far better able to tweak its rules to spread the wealth than the U.S. government can, and those rules — like the qualifying offer and luxury tax — have had a harsh impact on a lot of players.

There’s not a clear answer on what the best system is for free agents, draft pick compensation, draft bonus pools and the like actually is. I tend to favor the fewest restrictions on a player’s right to negotiate freely with teams, but I’ll also acknowledge that there is a less than perfect market at play in baseball given revenue disparities between teams and the need to maximize, within reason, competitive balance. It’s not an easy trick even before you get into the B.S. team owners tend to spew about pocketbook matters.

But it’s also the case that an all-too-friendly relationship between the union and the league — one in which a given set of rules is rubberstamped from CBA to CBA — is not an ideal situation. No one wants acrimony, but the fact is that the players and the union are slicing up a pie. If the person you’re slicing up a pie with is all-too-happy to keep slicing it the same way, it probably means that they’re getting a bigger piece than you. Maybe, if it’s your job to grab a bigger piece?

The agents Rosenthal talked to, who represent a good chunk of MLBPA membership, certainly think the union should be doing some more grabbing. I wonder if their clients do too.

Four baseballs autographed by Jose Fernandez wash ashore

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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This is just . . . ugh.

WSVN-TV in Miami reports that a black bag containing Jose Fernandez’s checkbook and four baseballs signed by him washed ashore on Miami Beach. Probably a bag to keep stuff dry while out on the water.

The bag was given to a lifeguard. Hopefully the bag finds its way back to Fernandez’s family quickly.