Flight Delays

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 12, White Sox 3:  Well, I was supposed to be at this one.  Instead, my 9:30 AM flight to New York turned into a 12:08 PM flight which then turned into a 3:30 PM flight through Philly, which then turned into a 5:17 PM flight through Philly that was highly unlikely to allow me to make the connection to New York at all last night, let alone in time to see the ballgame. So I made the decision any wise man would make: I called my mom, had her pick me up from the airport and drive me back home so I could at least sleep in my own bed rather than some Philadelphia Ramada Inn.  Not that I ever got too mad or complained too greatly. The same storm system that mildly inconvenienced me killed hundreds the day before so, no, complaining was not exactly the order of the day. OK, some very mild, perspective-laden complaining. But I felt guilty about it afterward.

As you’re reading this on Friday morning I am (cross my fingers!) en route to New York, this time for real. It’s a flight so early that — apologies — this edition of ATH is a slightly truncated one. I’ll be sure to refund your money at my earliest convenience.

As for the Yankees-Sox game: this was one of the more Edwin Jackson starts you’ll ever see. He had a no-hitter going for a while but was still down 2-0. Then it went downhill because Edwin Jackson basically has no idea where the ball is going. 91 pitches in four innings. Quite the trick.

Giants 5, Pirates 2: The species known as Ryan Vogelsongia displays a combination of long life cycles, a seven-year periodicity, and mass emergences. They are closely-related to locusts, but they are not locusts at all, as locusts belong to the order Orthoptera. The nymphs of Ryan Vogelsongia live underground at depths of 30 cm or more, feeding on the juices of plant roots. They stay immobile and go through five development stages before constructing an exit tunnel in the spring of their 7th year, at which time they give up two runs on four hits while striking out eight in five and two-thirds innings.

Rays 15, Twins 3; Rays 6, Twins 1: Ben Zobrist certainly ate his Wheaties yesterday. Eight RBI in the first game and another two in the nightcap.

Indians 8, Royals 2: The Royals sent the worst regular starting pitcher in the history of baseball out to face the first place Indians and achieved the expected results.

Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2: It was a 2-2 tie from the third inning on, but then Darren Oliver got knocked around in the ninth. If you can call having Corey Patterson lay down a bunt RBI single and having Adrian Beltre and Oliver combine for the most confusing and ugly-looking two-run, two-error play you’ll ever see “being knocked around.” The Jays take three of four from Texas.

Mariners 7, Tigers 2: I watched some of this on the laptop while hating life at the airport.  Michael Pineda has seriously nasty stuff. He’s going to throw a no-hitter someday. Or strike out 18 dudes or something.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 2: Jon Lester’s mastery of Baltimore continues. A 3 for 5, 2 RBI day for Adrian Gonzalez, who is starting to heat up.

Nationals 4, Mets 3: The Mets’ winning streak ends as Livan Hernandez hangs ’em out to dry for eight innings. Like he as some kind of launderer or something.

Cardinals 11, Astros 7: Five RBI for Lance Berkman against his old team. Take that, Milo Hamilton.

Diamondbacks 11, Cubs 2: Ryan Dempster lasted one-third on an inning. Gave up seven runs in that time.  Yikes.

Twins pitcher barfs before almost every appearance

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18:  Ryan O'Rourke #61 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after loading up the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on August 18, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Twins righty Ryan O'Rourke has pitched in 54 big league games. He has barfed before almost every one of them.

No, really:

Through his first 54 big-league outings over the last past two years, O’Rourke estimates he emptied the contents of his stomach close to every time.

“I don’t do it in the public’s eye,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I go in the bathroom, or sometimes it’s just on the back of the mound. But, yeah, it happens.”

I wonder if I’ve barfed 54 times in my entire life. I doubt I have. Then again, I’m not doing anything in front of tens of thousands of people with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

Yet he who is without sin hurl the first, um. Well, never mind.

The new intentional walk rule isn’t a big deal but it’s still dumb

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 06:  Anthony Recker #20 of the New York Mets calls for an intentional walk as Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Let us preface this by stipulating that the new rule in which pitchers will no longer have to throw four balls to issue an intentional walk is not a big deal, objectively speaking. Teams don’t issue many IBBs to begin with. A couple a week, maybe? Fewer? Moreover, the times when a pitcher tosses one to the backstop or a batter reaches out and smacks a would-be intentional ball may be a lot of fun, but they’re extraordinarily rare. You can go years without seeing it happen.

So, yes, the intentional walk rule announced yesterday is of negligible consequence. We’ll get used to it quickly and it will have little if any impact on actual baseball. It won’t do what it’s supposed to do — speeding up games — but it won’t harm anything that is important either.

But let us also stipulate that the new rule is dumb.

It’s dumb because it’s a solution in search of a problem. Pace of play is a concern, but to listen to Rob Manfred and his surrogates in the media tell it, it’s The Most Pressing Issue of Our Time. Actually, it’s not. No one is abandoning baseball because of 5-15 minutes here or there and no one who may be interested in it is ceasing their exploration of the game because of it. And even if they were, IBBs are rare and they’re not time-consuming to begin with, so it’s not something that will make a big difference. It’s change for change’s sake and so Rob Manfred can get some good press for looking like a Man of Action.

It’s also dumb because it’s taking something away, however small it is. One of my NBC coworkers explained it well this morning:

I agree. Shamelessness is a pretty big problem these days, so let’s not eliminate shame when it is truly due.

Picture it: it’s a steamy Tuesday evening in late July. The teams are both way below .500 and are probably selling off half of their lineup next week. There are, charitably, 8,000 people in the stands. The game is already dragging because of ineptitude and an understandable lack of urgency on the part of players who did not imagine nights like this when they were working their way to the bigs.

Just then, one of the managers — an inexperienced young man who refuses to deviate from baseball orthodoxy because, gosh, he might get a hard question from a sleepy middle aged reporter after the game — holds up four fingers for the IBB. The night may be dreary, but dammit, he’s going to La Russa the living hell out of this game.

That man should be booed. Boo this man. The drunks and college kids who paid, like, $11 to a season ticket holder on StubHub to get into this godforsaken game have earned the right to take their frustrations out on Hunter McRetiredBackupCatcher for being a wuss and calling for the IBB. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that night, and now Rob Manfred would take that away from them. FOR SHAME.

And don’t forget about us saps at home, watching this garbage fire of a game because it beats reading. We’re now going to have to listen to this exchange, as we have listened to it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since the 2017 season began:

Play-by-Play Guy: “Ah, here we go. They’re calling for the intentional walk. Now, in case you missed it, this is the way we’re doing it now. The new rule is that the manager — yep, right there, he’s doing it — can hold up four fingers to the home plate umpire and — there it goes — he points to first base and the batter takes his base.”

Color Commentator, Who played from 1975-87, often wearing a mustache: “Don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. There was always a chance the pitcher throws a wild pitch. It happened to us against the Mariners in 1979 [Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice: it didn’t] and it has taken away something special from the game. I suppose some number-cruncher with a spreadsheet decided that this will help speed up the game, but you know what that’s worth.

No matter what good or bad the rule brings, this exchange, which will occur from April through September, will be absolutely brutal. Then, in October, we get to hear Joe Buck describe it as if we never heard it before because Fox likes to pretend that the season begins in October.

Folks, it’s not worth it. And that — as opposed to any actual pro/con of the new rule — is why it is dumb. Now get off my lawn.