And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights


Yankees 3, White Sox 1: Bartolo Colon is pitching like it’s 2002 again or something (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER). Quick! Bartlo! Send an email to 2002-era Craig and tell him not to put off that trip to Paris he planned with the missus and then cancelled. Contrary to what they each said, the trip would not wait another year because in another year they had a Mookie in the oven and then another one 19 months later that effectively punted European travel for a decade or more. Dear God, 2002 Craig was too stupid to live.

In other news, I’m leaving my fortified compound and I’m travelling to New York this morning. Among the many things I will do there between today and Sunday is to catch tonight’s Yankees-White Sox game. The weather forecast looks iffy, however. I sure hope it doesn’t get cancelled. Because God knows that there’s nothing else to do in New York.

Mets 6, Nationals 3: The Mets just will not lose. A pinch-hit homer in the eighth from Daniel Murphy tied it up and a two-run double from Murphy sealed the deal in the ninth. Six in a row for New York.

Phillies 8, Diamondbacks 4: Some more offense for the Phillies, who bombarded Joe Saunders and avoided the sweep. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard go yard. After the game Charlie Manuel said “Anytime you hit, you feel good about yourself.”  Then — and here is where the video of the interview with Manuel got a bit jumpy, so I could have it wrong — he said “You know, with some offense you got that vim! That vigor! That pep! That get-up-and-go that makes a fella feel swell. We hit the long balls, bury the Braves, get Roy some hardware, Burma Shave!”

Pirates 2, Giants 0: James McDonald and a quartet of relievers shut out the Giants. A strong outing for Madison Bumgarner, but it was for naught. The fifth loss in six games for the Giants.

Mariners 10, Tigers 1: Where in the heck did this come from? Doesn’t matter to Erik Bedard. He’ll take the runs, because they helped him get his first win since 2009. Justin Smoak had a three-run homer and a two-run double. That’s two homers and seven RBI for Smoak in the two games since he returned after missing time due to his father’s death. Not exactly repeatable motivation, but hey, whatever gets him through the dark days right now.

Braves 7, Padres 0: Tommy Hanson dominated the Padres, striking out 10 over the course of seven shutout innings. Chipper Jones had a triple and three RBI, passing Mickey Mantle on the all-time RBI list. He now stands second all-time for pinch switch hitters behind Eddie Murray, whom he’ll never catch. Mat Latos has now lost nine straight starts stretching to last season.

Indians 7, Royals 2: Cleveland jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first on an Orlando Cabrera bases-clearing double and never looked back. The Indians now have the second biggest division lead in baseball. For their part, the Royals have lost eight of ten, pretty much ending all of that “are the Royals for real” talk which no one in their right mind ever should have answered in the affirmative.

Orioles 5, Red Sox 4: It was a tough day for Luke Scott but he rebounded nicely with a homer in the fourth. Overall the O’s jumped out to a 4-0 lead, frittered it away in the eighth inning, but then had their bacon saved by a Vlad Guerrero RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to pull it out. Vlad was put in position to score, it should be noted, when Jason Varitek let not one, but two balls get by him, with he and fellow base runner Nick Markakis advancing to second and third, respectively, on the first one and Vlad advancing to third — with Markakis getting tagged out — on the second.

Reds 7, Brewers 6: Cincy squandered leads of 4-0 and 6-4, but pulled it out via some nifty relief work from Aroldis Chapman to get out of an eighth inning jam and a 10th inning bomb from Drew Stubbs. For the Brewers,  Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee finished a combined 0-for-12.

Rangers 7, Blue Jays 6: Both teams got awful performances from their starters — Jo-Jo Reyes for Toronto and Derek Holland for Texas — but the Rangers pulled it out with a Mitch Moreland homer to center in the seventh.

Athletics 2, Angels 1: Both teams got great performances from their starters — Tyson Ross for Oakland and Dan Haren for Anaheim — but the Athletics pulled it out with a Connor Jackson RBI groundout in the tenth.

Dodgers 5, Marlins 4: Between this post and this post you have all you need to know. Andre Ethier is a beast and Vicente Padilla, at least for now, is a closer.

Cardinals 6, Astros 5: It’s a win, but the Cardinal bullpen woes continue. Kyle Lohse shut out the Astros for seven innings, only to have to bite his nails as the pen — particularly old closer Ryan Franklin and flavor of the month Eduardo Sanchez — almost cough it up a 6-0 lead in the eighth and ninth. They had help from Fernando Salas too.

Rays 8, Twins 2: Tampa Bay scored four in the first off Francisco “Dead Man Walking” Liriano and won it going away. Liriano is now 1-3 with a 9.13 ERA. In 23.2 innings he has walked 18 and struck out 18. What in the hell happened to him? Sam Fuld reached base four times in five plate appearances and Ben Zobrist drove in three.

Rockies vs. Cubs: POSTPONED: Bake those biscuits good and brown, it ain’t gonna rain no more. Swing your partner round and round, it ain’t gonna rain no more. Bullfrog sitting on a lily pad, he looked up at the sky. The lily pad broke and the frog fell in, he got water all in his eye.  Oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more, no more, it ain’t gonna rain no more. How do you suppose the Old Man knows it ain’t gonna rain no more?

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

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Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.