Battlestar Galactica

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 9, Rockies 1: How Jair Jurrjens continues to win — this was his 12th win — and win impressively without striking out a crap ton of dudes is one of the more interesting little things going on so far this year. How the Braves might do if they continue to score some runs to go with that pitching staff could be one of the more interesting little things that could go on going forward. What’s more interesting is the reason I didn’t watch this one: I started watching “Battlestar Galactica” on Netflix last night.  I got through all three hours of the opening miniseries and now I have 74 (or thereabouts) episodes to watch while on the treadmill in the morning.  That should pretty much guarantee that I drop Cylon references and the word “frak” in every other ATH for the next two or three of months, so like, be warned.

Reds 9, Cardinals 8: A long game — 13 innings and over four hours of playing time — thanks in part to the Reds blowing an eight run lead they held in the fifth inning. Pujols was 1 for 6 in his return from his arm being severed by Count Dooku or whatever the hell happened to him.

Mets 5, Dodgers 3: Fourth win in a row for the Mets.  I understand that my cohort Aaron Gleeman, along with many other members of the SABR Convention crew, were at this game.  Now that I know that they have willingly given money to Frank McCourt, however, they’re all pretty much dead to me. Sorry guys.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: See, the Pirates have to lose occasionally, lest all of us national people run out of things to say about them other than “golly gee, how neat it is that the Pirates are winning!”  Now we actually have to consider them like they’re a regular baseball team or something and not some novelty.  I’ll start doing that tomorrow. I still have a few more golly gees in my system.

Indians 5, Yankees 3:  Justin Masterson had eight scoreless innings before the Tribe bullpen decided to make it interesting. Didn’t matter though. And Jetes got a hit. Here’s hoping he gets to 3,000 on Friday night when I’m out having dinner and drinks with my wife and a friend of ours from out of town, because if that happens it’s D.J.’s task to write up the big “3,000th hit” post.

Nationals 5, Cubs 4: The first eight runs of the game came on homers. The last and deciding run of the game came on a suicide squeeze by Wilson Ramos with Mike Morse running.  There is something glorious about all of that. It’s like, “we go all the way or we frakkin’ forget it. None of this in-between stuff for us!”

Marlins 7, Phillies 6: Mike Stanton with the walkoff bomb in the 10th. Charlie Manuel violated a pretty hard and fast baseball rule here: “never call on sucky, awful relievers like Danys Baez on the road in an extra inning game.” Controversial, sure, because a game can be blown at any time, not just when you have a lead to protect, but it’s unwritten, plain as day, in the unwritten rule book.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4: Rickey Romero got roughed up for six runs on nine hits in four and a third. Three knocked in for Ellsbury.

Athletics 2, Mariners 0: Guillermo Moscoso with seven two-hit shutout innings and Scott Sizemore with all of the offense for the A’s. Another home run for him. I guess the AL West just agrees with him. Maybe it’s those 2:12 games. They help sharpen the senses or something.

Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Casey McGehee hit a three-run pinch hit homer. After the game, the slumping McGehee said “It definitely felt like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulder.”  The fact that my first thought upon reading that was “yeah, but if you go back to sucking tomorrow, it’s gonna feel like the cruel fates have thrown that weight back on your shoulder with some extra pounds added on to taunt you” is why I never really meshed well with teammates during my youthful forays into competitive sports.  Having pessimists around just really kills team chemistry.

Tigers 5, Angels 4: Detroit fought back from a 3-0 hole in order to avert the sweep. In other news, Joe West worked the plate and no one was ejected.

Royals 4, White Sox 1: Bruce Chen was effective and Edwin Jackson turned in one of his patented 122-pitch blah-bombs, which those of us who happen to watch a lot of AL Central games have grown used to over the past few years. When he’s on he’s electric. When he’s not, there aren’t a lot of pitchers who are harder to watch.

Rays 12, Twins 5: Three hits and four RBI for Evan Longoria. He’s been slumping, but he has some perspective about it all: “There’s nothing I can really do to control the outcome of a ball put in play.”  Hey Evan, Voros McCracken, my personal human shield when I’m in the greater Phoenix area, called and he says you’re stealing his bit.

Rangers 13, Orioles 5: That was a bloodbath. And it was 100 degrees in Arlington at game time too. Gonna go out on a limb here and say that those two things combined for this being the Orioles’ least-pleasant game all year.

Giants 6, Padres 5: A big night on a long night for Nate Schierholtz, who led off the bottom of the 14th with a walkoff homer. This went with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. Being such a long game and taking place on the west coast, I assume this ended, like, ten minutes ago.

The Chicago Cubs: Spring training games, regular season prices

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Craig Calcaterra
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MESA, AZ — I’ve been covering spring training for eight years, and in just those eight years a lot has changed in the Cactus and Grapefruit League experiences. The parks are bigger and fancier and the vibe is far more akin to a regular season major league one than the intimate and laid back atmosphere most people think of when they picture February and March baseball.

Just imagine, however, how much has changed if you’ve been coming to Florida or Arizona for a really long time.

“When we first started coming, you could bring your own beer in,” says Don Harper, a lifelong Cubs fan from Kennewick, Washington who spends his winters in Arizona. “You couldn’t bring a cooler, but you could bring a case of beer and a bag of ice and you just set it down in between you and you just put the ice on it and keep it cold.”

I asked Don if the beer vendors complained.

“They didn’t sell beer,” he said.

That was three decades and two ballparks ago. They certainly sell beer at the Cubs’ gleaming new facility, Sloan Park. Cups of the stuff cost more than a couple of cases did back when Don first started coming to spring training.

The price of beer is not the only thing that has changed, of course. The price of tickets is not what it used to be either. Don told me that when he started coming to Cubs spring training games tickets ran about seven dollars. If that. It’s a bit pricer now. Face value for a single lawn ticket, where you’ll be sitting on a blanker on the outfield berm — can be as high as $47 depending on the day of the week and the opponent. Infield box seats run as high as $85.

The thing is, though, you’re not getting face value seats for Cubs spring training games. Half of the home games sold out within a week of tickets going on sale in January. Since then just about every other game has sold out or soon will. That will force you to get tickets on the secondary market. According to TickPick, the average — average! — Cubs spring training ticket on the secondary market is $106.30. For a single ticket. It’s easily the highest price for spring training tickets in all of baseball, and is $26 higher than secondary market tickets for the next highest team, the Red Sox:

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That may be shocking or even appalling to some, but as the automatic sellouts at Sloan Park and those high secondary market prices suggest, there are at least 15,000 people or so for each Cubs home game who don’t seem to mind. Supply meet demand meet the defending World Series champions.

I spoke with two younger Cubs fans, Corey Hayden and Eleanor Meloul, who traveled here from Salt Lake City. On Sunday they lucked out and got a couple of lawn seats for $28. On Saturday, however, they paid $100 a piece on StubHub to get some seats just beyond third base. I asked them if there is some price point that would keep them from coming.

“There isn’t one,” Hayden said. “I paid $4,500 for a World Series ticket, so . . .”

Don Harper wouldn’t do that, but he doesn’t really mind the higher prices he’s paying for his spring tickets. Of course, he’s a longtime season ticket holder so he gets access to the face value seats. I asked him whether his spring training habit would end if those prices got jacked up higher, as the market would seem to bear, or if he had to resort to the secondary market.

Don paused and sighed, suggesting it was a tough question. As he considered it, I put a hard number on it, asking him if he’d still go if he had to pay $50 per ticket. “Yeah, probably,” he said. “$75?” I asked. He paused again.

“As long as I got enough money.”

Don is a diehard who, one senses, will always find a way to make it work. Corey spent a wad of cash on that once-in-a-lifetime World Series ticket, but he and Eleanor seem content to bargain hunt for the most part and splurge strategically. If you’re a Cubs fan — and if you’re not rich — that’s what you’ll have to do. The ticket it just too hot.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.