Travis Hafner

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: Carlos Villanueva threw six shutout innings. Too bad he couldn’t stay in to throw more, because the Indians rallied like crazy in the ninth with an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single and then the big shot: the Travis Hafner walkoff grand slam. That’s some serious dramatics right there, babies. Almost enough to make me feel OK to call him “Pronk” again, which seemed kind of ridiculous when he was in the middle of three blah years.

Cubs 10, Nationals 9: Facepalm. actually, make that a double facepalm. The Nats had an 8-0 lead heading into the sixth inning and they couldn’t seal the deal. Livan Hernandez deserves most of the blame here. Or maybe Davey Johnson. Dude just ran out of gas. Probably shoulda been pulled when the Cubs started doing a conga line around the bases in the sixth. This is one of those games that those of you who want to say that the Nats could be frisky have to deal with, because frisky teams don’t lose like this very often.

Rays 5, Yankees 1: Bartolo Colon didn’t have nothin’ (5.2 IP, 10 H, 5 ER), so the competitive part of this game ended early, leaving everyone to focus on Derek Jeter’s at bats. He got one hit, so he needs two more.

Red Sox 10, Orioles 4: One of the least fun thing about following games on Twitter: when fans of a team (in this case the Yankees), voice their displeasure at team in a totally different game (in this case the Orioles) for allegedly laying down against the the team (in this case the Red Sox) who is in a race against the team for which they root (back to the Yankees).  I mean, until we see money changing hands between the Red Sox and Orioles, we have to assume that this is simply a matter of Baltimore sucking every time they visit Fenway Park, not some underhanded scheme.

Braves 6, Rockies 3: Freddie Freeman continues his rampage, hitting a three-run homer in the third inning that put the Braves up for good. The Braves themselves are on a rampage, winners of nine of their last ten. Now it’s three against the Phillies — whom they trail by two and a half games — to take them into the All-Star break.

Marlins 5, Astros 0: Brad Hand — who I know damn well is gonna make me break out “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” quotes at some point this season even though that’s a totally hack thing to do — shut out the Astros for seven innings on two hits.

Twins 6, White Sox 2: Phil Humber was rocked like a hurricane. And to be clear: that’s bad when the Scorpions aren’t involved. Joe Mauer played first base and went 3 for 5 with two RBI. Hurm.

Tigers 3, Royals 1: Remember those games where Max Scherzer used to strike out, like, eleventeen guys? Well, this wasn’t one of those games — he only k’d two — but ’twas enough. “Twill serve. Homers for Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly, each of whom sound more like characters on “Mad Men” than baseball players.

Brewers 5, Reds 4: Rickie Weeks was 2 for 3 with a three-run homer. Zack Cozart was 1 for 3 with a run scored in his major league debut.

Diamondbacks 4, Cardinals 1: Arizona has won four of six. St. Louis has lost four of six. Justin Upton hit a big home run.

Rangers 6, Athletics 0: In light of what went down, I really don’t feel like riffing on this game at the moment.

Now we get to the late west coast games where, every night it seems, someone is throwing a complete game or shutting someone out for seven or eight innings or whatever. Viva la pitching.

Giants 2, Padres 1: All Barry Zito does is win baseball games.  Well, at least since he came back from the DL. Eight innings of four-hit ball.

Angels 5, Mariners 1: Jered Weaver tosses a complete game to win his 11th. Now he probably starts the All-Star Game on Tuesday. The offense he faces there will be slightly better than the bunch from Seattle.

Dodgers 6, Mets 0: Clayton Kershaw flummoxed the Mets for eight innings, shutting them out on five hits and striking out nine. The Dodgers made the most of their seven hits and two walks.

It’s pretty stupid that athletes can’t endorse beer

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates after pitching the Giants to a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: PAGP102
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One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.

After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.

Why?

I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.

That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.

That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:

Musial

And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.

Why can’t they get paid for doing it?

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.