Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Braves 9, Giants 6: The Braves should have had this one won in regulation, but Fredi Gonzalez apparently fell asleep while reliever Jairo Ascencio poured kerosene all over the place and lit a match in the seventh inning. Maybe the warmth made Gonzalez’s nap more cozy. I don’t know. All I know is that by the time he woke up and yanked Ascencio, a 5-2 Braves lead had turned into a 6-5 Giants lead. A Dan Uggla homer in the eighth tied it up and then the Braves broke through against Brian Wilson in the 10th, loading the bases with no one out and subsequently plating three. Jason Heyward had a three-run homer. He went 7 for 12 with that homer and four RBI against the Giants over the weekend.

Red Sox 7, Angels 0: A butt whuppin’. Both this game and the whole series. And really the whole west coast swing. I don’t think we need to worry too much about the Red Sox anymore. This was the Red Sox’ first four-game sweep in Anaheim since 1980.

Phillies 3, Padres 1: You’ll see a bad Roy Halladay start on occasion, like the one we saw against Milwaukee last week. Then he’ll mow down the next team he faces. Fourteen strikeouts for Doc. The Padres scored three runs in four games against the Phillies.

Dodgers 7, Cubs 3: I watched most of this one. For all practical purposes it was over in the first inning when the Dodgers pulled the old blitzkrieg on Carlos Zambrano, scoring five runs before I even had the cap off my beer. Lots of sloppy defense too, so it actually worked out well for me inasmuch as I didn’t mind turning it off to go over to my parents’ house for Easter dinner. If it was a good game I had to turn off I would have been all surly over there. Er, surlier.

Mets 8, Diamondbacks 4: Four straight wins for the Mets. This one was occasioned by two David Wright homers. So I guess two things we thought we were sure of the other day — that the Mets suck and that David Wright is getting killed by his home park — aren’t quite as clear as we thought.

Tigers 3, White Sox 0: Before the game Ozzie Guillen tweeted “Let’s be ready to turn this crapp.”  I suppose that’s open for multiple interpretations, but I’m guessing that being shut out for the second day in a row was not what he was aiming for.

Brewers 4, Astros 1: I, for one, welcome our new hawk overlords. The Wolf ones (Randy) are pretty impressive too (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER).

Yankees 6, Orioles 3: Mariano Rivera blew his second save in a week — and Joba Chamberlain had given up a couple of runs before that — but the Yankees broke through in the eleventh on the power of a boatload of infield singles and throwing errors. And you thought that they could only score via the long ball. Well, they got a long ball from Curtis Granderson, but all of the other runs came via ground rather than air forces.

Rangers 8, Royals 7: The Rangers are unimpressed with the precocious Royals, sweeping them the heck out of Arlington. Michael Young and Jeff Francoeur stretch their respective hitting streaks to 14. Alex Gordon stretches his to 18.

Athletics 5, Mariners 2: Oakland salvages one in Seattle behind a strong Brett Anderson outing. Coco Crisp reached base three times and scored on each occasion.

Nationals 6, Pirates 3: Mike Morse had three hits, including a three-run homer. It was his first homer on the year which, given how many he hit last year (15) in so few at bats (266) is a surprise.

Twins 4, Indians 3: Three wins in a row for the Twins, who are starting to show some signs of life.

Marlins 6, Rockies 3: Ubaldo Jimenez gave up only one hit, but unfortunately for him he walked four guys and that one hit was a bases-loaded triple. Colorado came back to tie it late, but Mike Stanton’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth sealed it. Oh, and Marlins fans were booing Hanley Ramirez in this one which seems pretty nutso to me.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 0: Wow, what has gotten into James Shields? Back-to-back complete games in which he allowed only four hits. Unlike the last one, though, this was a shutout. All of the game’s scoring was over in the first inning with Ben Zobrist’s two-run homer. The game took two hours and five minutes.

Cardinals 3, Reds 0: When Yadier Molina hit that three-run home run just as the rain was picking up, I was sure it was time for Tony La Russa to activate the microchip he had implanted in the umpiring crew’s brains, causing them to call the game before the Cardinals’ bullpen was summoned to lock it down.  There must have been a malfunction, however, because they played on and the shutout of the Reds was completed. Jake Westbrook had his best start of the year. Edinson Volquez somehow avoided his usual first inning meltdown and looked good himself until the Molina homer. Which came after it looked like Volquez hyper-extended his left knee, by the way, even though Dusty Baker didn’t seem to care about it too much.  Pujols left the game gimpy too.

The Days of Chief Wahoo are numbered

Fox Entertainment

One of the more common responses to what I’ve posted about Chief Wahoo lately is “it’s just a cartoon character! Nobody cares!”

Well, looking at that guy in the photo above and many others dressed like him at Progressive Field the past two days is evidence that it is not just a cartoon character. A certain swath of Indians fans think that, because of their team’s name and mascot, it’s totally acceptable to show up in public looking like this. Wahoo as an official trademark of a Major League Baseball club gives people license to dress up in redface — or in this case, red and blackface — with headdresses on, turning a real people and a real culture into a degrading caricature. It’s not just a cartoon character by a long shot. To many it’s a get-out-being-called-a-racist-free card.

As for “nobody cares,” well, yes, someone does. Go read this from Sterling HolyWhiteMountain over at ESPN, talking about both Chief Wahoo as a symbol and America’s treatment and conception of Native Americans as a whole. It’s moving stuff that puts lie to the idea that “nobody cares.” It likewise puts lie to the false choice so many Chief Wahoo defenders reference in which they argue that people should care more about actual injustices visited upon Native Americans and not mascots. One can and should care about those injustices. And one can do that while simultaneously finding Chief Wahoo to be an odious symbol that serves to dehumanize people. Once people are dehumanized, it’s far easier to treat them as something less-than-human, of course.

But it’s not just Native Americans or anti-Wahoo folks like me who care. While I have been critical of Major League Baseball for not taking its own stand against Wahoo publicly, it seems pretty clear at this point that the league is weary of Wahoo and is looking to pressure the Indians to eliminate it. Last night, at the Hank Aaron Award ceremony, Manfred spoke more expansively about Wahoo than he did the day before. Manfred is a lawyer and he does not choose his words carelessly. Read this and parse it carefully:

“I know that that particular logo is offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why. Logos are, however, primarily a local matter. The local club makes decisions about its logos. Fans get attached to logos. They become part of a team’s history. So it’s not easy as coming to the conclusion and realizing that the logo is offensive to some segment.

“I’ve talked to Mr. [Indians owner and CEO Paul] Dolan about this issue. We’ve agreed away from the World Series at an appropriate time we will have a conversation about this. I want to understand fully what his view is, and we’ll go from there. At this point in this context, I’m just not prepared to say more.”

Yes, he’s still trying to be diplomatic, but note how he (a) acknowledges that Wahoo is offensive to some people; (b) that “all of us at Major League Baseball understand why” and (c) does not validate the views of those who do not find it offensive. He acknowledges that they feel that way due to history, but he does not say, as I inferred from his previous comments the day before, that both sides have merit. Indeed, he says he’d like to hear Paul Dolan’s side, suggesting that while he’ll listen to argument, he doesn’t buy the argument as it has yet to be put.

I still wish that MLB would come out hard and strong against Wahoo publicly, but the more I listen to Manfred on this and read between the lines, the more I suspect that Major League Baseball is finally fed up with Wahoo and that it wants to do something to get rid of it. That it’s not just the hobby horse of pinko liberals like me. I believe Manfred realizes that, in 2016, Chief Wahoo is an embarrassment to an organization like Major League Baseball. Maybe, because of p.r. and political considerations, he doesn’t want to stand on a soapbox about it at the World Series, but I believe he wants to put an end to it all the same.

You can call me names for being against Wahoo all you want. But you can’t say it’s a non-issue. You can’t say that it’s just a cartoon character and you can’t say that nobody cares. To do that is an exercise in denial. I have come to believe that Major League Baseball cares and that it’s going to push hard to make the 2016 World Series the last time it is embarrassed by anachronistic racism on its biggest stage ever again.

Game 2 is going to be the poster child for pace of play arguments this winter

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Zach McAllister #34 of the Cleveland Indians is relieved by manager Terry Francona during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Two of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images

In August, it was reported that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred would like to implement pitch clocks, like those in use in the minor leagues for the past two seasons, to improve the pace-of-play at the major league level. You can bet that last night’s Game 2 will be the lead argument he uses against those who would oppose the move.

The game was moved up an hour in order to get it in before an impending storm. By the time the rain finally started falling the game had been going on for three hours and thirty-three minutes. It should’ve been over before the first drop fell, but in all it lasted four hours and four minutes. It ended in, thankfully, only a light rain. The longest nine-inning game in postseason history happened a mere two weeks ago, when the Dodgers and Nationals played for four hours and thirty two minutes. There thirteen pitchers were used. Last night ten pitchers were used. Either way, the postseason games are dragging on even for those of us who don’t mind devoting four+ hours of our night to baseball. It is likely putting off more casual fans just tuning in for the Fall Classic.

It’s not all just dawdling, however. Yes, the pitchers worked slowly and a lot of pitching changes took place, but strikeouts, walks and the lack of balls in play contribute to longer games as well. We saw this both last night and in Game 1, which was no brisk affair despite each starting pitcher looking sharp and not working terribly slowly. Twenty-four strikeouts on Tuesday night had a lot to do with that. Last night featured 20 strikeouts and thirteen — thirteen! — walks. It’s not just that the games are taking forever; the very thing causing them to drag feature baseball’s least-kinetic forms of excitement.

But no matter what the cause for the slower play was — and here it was a combination of laboring pitchers, the lack of balls in play and, of course, the longer commercial breaks in the World Series — Manfred is likely to hold Game 2 up as Exhibit A in his efforts to push through some rules changes to improve game pace and game time. So far, the centerpiece of those efforts is the pitch clock, which has proven to be successful and pretty non-controversial in the minor leagues. It would not surprise me one bit if, at this year’s Winter Meetings in Washington, a rule change in that regard is widely discussed.