And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 2, Twins 1: Welcome back to the land of the living, Tim Lincecum.  Timmy fans 12 and allows only three hits in seven shutout innings, notching his best start in over a month. No managers resigned after this game.

Nationals 1, Mariners 0: Hit this one up yesterday, but the game itself got lost in the shuffle of Riggleman going all Johnny Paycheck on the Nats’ butts. The Nats have won 11 of 12. No matter what they do going forward, it’s gonna suck for Riggleman’s legacy. If they continue to win, well, he wasn’t that important. If they lose, he quit on the team and sent them into a tailspin.

Mets 4, Athletics 1: Chris Capuano pitched six scoreless innings but left early because his side was hurting. Jose Reyes was 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Rain delay of 2:15. Game time of 2:37.

Cardinals 12, Phillies 2: Oswalt’s exit — and his rather fatalistic attitude about it after the game — is obviously the big story here. After a pretty crappy week, the Cards managed a 14-hit onslaught supporting Chris Carpenter, who got his first win in ages. Best part of the game, pointed out to me by Kiwicricket: Fernando Salas was brought into a 6-1 game with two outs in the eighth and threw one pitch which ended the inning. Then, despite a six-run outburst by the Cards in the bottom of the inning, La Russa sent out a different pitcher to finish the ninth. Viva la specialization.

Diamondbacks 5, Royals 3: Daniel Hudson becomes roughly the 2,305th pitcher in major league baseball to get his ninth win this year. The Dbacks sweep Kansas City, winning their 15th of the their last 19 road games.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

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Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.