And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: Milwaukee makes a statement, sweeping the formerly-first-place Cardinals. Shaun Marcum pitched seven strong innings and the Brewers came back from being down 3-0 after five and a half innings to taking the lead after six. The Brewers are the hottest team this side of Boston, methinks. Speaking of them …

Red Sox 14, Blue Jays 1: Remember those Blue Jays truthers hanging out in the comments section who got on everyone’s case a month or so ago when people were ranking the Sox higher than the Jays even though the Jays had a better record? Yeah, well, truth your way out of a 35-6 three-game series. At home.

Braves 4, Astros 1: Tommy Hanson stuck out 14 guys in seven innings, and Braves pitchers struck out 17 in all. Which is way less shocking than the fact that Dan Uggla went 2 for 3 with a homer, a walk and a couple driven in. That’s six straight wins for the Braves. Houston has lost four straight and eight of nine.

Mariners 7, Tigers 3: Two homers for Mr. Indispensable and the usual ho-hum eight strong innings for Felix Hernandez. Detroit and Seattle split the four-game series.

Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 1: Stephen Drew had a two-run double in the first and that was really all Arizona would end up needing.  That’s ten of eleven in the toilet for Florida.

Mets 7, Pirates 0: Chris Capuano with seven shutout innings, three hits allowed.  Jose Reyes is absolutely on fire. He already had an OPS over 1.000 for June coming in to this game and went 3 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Yankees 9, Indians 1: Cleveland’s nightmare June continues. That’s two wins and nine losses on the month. This one was close until the fifth when Josh Tomlin imploded and the Yankees put up a five-spot.  Curtis Granderson was 4 for 4 with a couple RBI, A-Rod was 3 for 5 with three driven in.  None of the Yankees runs came on home runs. Which is great, because we’re told that in Yankee-land, home runs are things you don’t too many of.

Twins 6, Rangers 1: Francisco Liriano had a no-hitter going into the eighth. Too bad he didn’t get it, because I’d have to imagine that he’d easily be the worst pitcher to have two no-hitters in a season.  Anyway, they needed those blanks from Liriano at least through the seventh before the Twins broke through for five runs, taking the pressure off.

Phillies 4, Cubs 3: Roy Oswalt had a better start, actually striking out some dudes for once. Ryan Howard drove in three. The Cubs have the same 2-9 record in June that the Indians have.

White Sox 5, Athletics 3: The A’s have a record in June that even the Cubs and Indians can laugh at, and have lost 12 of 13 overall. Adam Dunn with a three-run homer.

Rays 9, Orioles 6: Brian Matusz had nothing out of the gate and only lasted an inning and a third. That left it to Alfredo Simon and the rest of the O’s pen to keep it close, but they … didn’t. Not that the bats didn’t try to help. Back to back homers for Adam Jones and Vlad Guerrero. The Rays were just on base all day, though, and you’re not going to make any headway against ’em when that happens.

Nationals 2, Padres 0: A Petco special, scoreless until the ninth when the Nats strung a couple together. Jordan Zimmermann deserved the win after striking out ten in seven shutout innings, but that’s not how it turned out. Tim Stauffer deserved a better fate too.

Dodgers 10, Rockies 8: An ugly line for Ubaldo Jimenez (5.1 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 2 ER), capped by the James Loney grand slam. Rubby De La Rosa looked strong until he had to leave with a cramp in his arm.

Royals 9, Angels 0: A totally different Vin Mazzaro than we saw the last couple of times out: seven shutout innings. Not epic shutout innings, mind you — he walked five and didn’t strike anyone out — but the Royals defense turned a bunch of double plays behind him, and that will cure a lot of ills.

Giants 4, Reds 2: Three hits and two runs driven in for Aubrey Huff as the Giants come from behind. The most notable thing about this game: watching the views from the blimp and wondering why in the hell I live in Ohio instead of California.

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.