Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Cleveland Indians

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 3, Indians 1: The no hitter for Ervin Santana.  We told the story as it happened yesterday, broke out some analysis of it a bit thereafter and threw on some perspective a bit after that.  Most notable: man, I had no idea that the game started at noon, so it was the sixth inning before I even knew it was going on yesterday. Made for a very quick ramp-up to the no-no.

Braves 2, Pirates 1: Because what these two teams needed after an emotional 19-inning affair was extra innings.  At least it wasn’t a ton of extra innings. David Ross mercifully ended it with an RBI single in the tenth. There were, to my knowledge anyway, no calls in this game which could be described as “criminal” or “the worst call I’ve ever seen in baseball history.” Although, the fact that Clint Hurdle just managed two nail-biter extra-inning games in a row without once calling on his All-Star reliever Joel Hanrahan is some sort of offense against God and Nature.

Mariners 9, Yankees 2: We hit this one up yesterday as well. The losing streak, she is over. Which is kind of sad for me because (a) I’m not a Mariners fan; and (b) there is a certain beauty to be found in life’s extremes. Mere mediocrity, which the Mariners now hope to embody for a while, is rather dull.

White Sox 2, Tigers 1: Even though I do this for a living, I never portray myself as some kind of baseball expert. I know a good deal about baseball, but many of you know far more. I fancy myself a pretty good writer when I bother to be careful about it. I think I’m a credible observer of human behavior. I’ve been told that I have a somewhat above average wit. By themselves, those traits don’t count for much, but put them together and you have yourself a damn good blogger if I may say so. But no, I’m not going to claim that I’m some baseball savant.  Which is why I have no problem admitting that I had never once heard the name Alejandro De Aza before he hit the two-run homer that proved to be all the runs the Sox would need yesterday.

Mets 8, Reds 2: Who needs Carlos Beltran? Lucas Duda played right and he hit a homer. More useful: David Wright’s three-run homer and four runs batted in overall. A complete game for Mike Pelfrey.

Giants 2, Phillies 1: Pitcher’s duel. Well, every game is technically a pitcher’s duel, only in most games the pitchers really suck at dueling. Here Matt Cain and Cole Hamels each had a handle on things, but Cain had a bit of a tighter grip. Only struck out one dude, though, which is always weird.

Blue Jays 3, Orioles 0: Ricky Romero didn’t get the shutout, but he did pitch eight and a third shutout innings to grab the win.  You don’t get to finish when you uncork a wild one on strike three and then hit a dude in the ninth inning of a close game.

Red Sox 12, Royals 5:  After scoring only once in that 14-inning game on Monday, the Sox hung a quarter-hundred on the Royals over the course of the next two nights.  Bruce Chen was absolutely muderlized: 4 IP, 10 H, 10 ER.

Marlins 7, Nationals 5: Steve Cishek did his best to make it interesting by allowing four runs in the ninth, but the Feesh held on. In other news, I have a friend in Washington — a non-baseball fan — who is going on an office outing to see the Nats-Marlins matinee this afternoon.  She asked me who to watch for. I told her to bring a book.

Brewers 2, Cubs 0: Zack Greinke shut ’em out for six and two-thirds and the pen took them the rest of the way. Rickie Weeks’ ankle injury was a big downer, though.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 1: The Rockies avoid the sweep thanks to a nice outing by Aaron Cook. Hiroki Kuroda pitched for L.A. Maybe for the last time if the trade rumors are to be believed.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3: Justin Upton hit two homers. One of them was fueled by anger because Corey Luebke quick pitched him, which my unwritten rule book clearly states is frowned upon. Look, it’s clearly unwritten right here in white and white on invisible page 38: “pitchers shall wait until hitters are ready for the pitch before delivering said pitch.”

Athletics 13, Rays 4: Two teams heading in very different directions. Hideki Matsui and Ryan Sweeney hit homers in the fourth inning — part of a nine-run fourth inning — for the offensive juggernaut Oakland Athletics. Seventeen hits in all, with every starter having at least one. Five runs batted in for Matsui.

Twins 7, Rangers 2: Brian Duensing allowed only one run is six and two-thirds. Bigger news: Joe Mauer hit a homer. An actual home run. First one since last September.

Astros 4, Cardinals 2: And the curse of Colby Rasmus begins.

Must-Click Link: Big Brother is Watching Ballplayers

Big Brother
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Over at Vice Rian Watt has a great story about how technology is changing baseball. No, it’s not about sabermetrics or statistical analysis. At least not as you all know and understand those things. It’s about how the players themselves are now becoming the data. About how wearables — little devices which monitor everything about an athlete’s behavior — and analysis of that behavior is changing clubs’ understanding of what makes baseball players excel.

Which is fine if you approach it solely from a technological standpoint and do that usual “gee, what a world we live in” stuff that such articles typically inspire. Watt, however, talks about the larger implications of turning players into data: the blurring of their professional and personal lives:

Welcome to the next frontier in baseball’s analytic revolution. Many of this revolution’s tenets will be familiar to anyone who works for a living—the ever-growing digitization and quantification of things never-before measured and tracked, for instance, or the ever-expanding workplace, the blurring distinction between the professional and the personal, and the cult of self-improvement for self-improvement’s sake. These broader trends are colliding with baseball tradition on backfields and in training facilities around the major leagues, and those collisions have raised questions about privacy, security, and what employees owe their employers.

Players already accept drug testing and rules about personal behavior. But can a club, armed with knowledge about how it affects a player’s performance, make rules about how he sleeps? What kind of shoes he wears off the field? Everything he eats?

I’m the last person to fall for slippery slope fallacies. In most instances there are lines that can be drawn when it comes to regulating the behavior of others and making new rules. But in order to draw those lines you have to ask questions about what is and what is not acceptable. You also have to acknowledge that it’s really easy for technology to get ahead of our ability to comprehend its ethical implications.

Vin Scully recites the “People will come” speech from “Field of Dreams”

James
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You all probably know my thing about “Field of Dreams.” Specifically, that I hate it. Maybe my least favorite baseball movie ever. And I have sat through “The Slugger’s Wife” at least twice. That’s really saying something. At some point I’ll watch it again and liveblog the experience to explain my position on this — I know all of you think I’m nuts for not liking it — but just accept that I don’t like it for now, OK?

But just because a movie stinks doesn’t mean every aspect of it is bad. I loved Burt Lancaster in everything he did and he did an excellent job in “Field of Dreams.” Same with James Earl Jones for the most part. I thought he did a great job playing a character which, at times, didn’t have as much to work with as he could’ve had. No, there are good elements of “Field of Dreams.” If there weren’t — if it were just a total turkey — it wouldn’t inspire the feelings I have about it. If it were an unmitigated disaster, I’d occasionally re-watch it on a so-bad-it’s-good theory.

The “People will come” speech is good. Not necessarily for its content — there’s some hokeyness to it — but because James Earl Jones does a great job delivering it. He could read the dang phone book and make it compelling

Yesterday Major League Baseball launched a partnership thingie with the Field of Dreams site in Iowa. Part of that effort involved having Vin Scully recite the “People will come” speech over some baseball footage. Watch and listen:

Personally, I’d prefer Vin to tell some kooky story about an opposing player actually being a part time flautist or what have you. He’s had many monumental moments, but Scully is Scully for the way he makes the workaday and the mundane sound poetic, not because he takes the already poetic and elevates it further.

Still, this is good. Even to a hater like me. And I’m sure a lot of you will love it.

The Yankees release former prospect Slade Heathcott

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Slade Heathcott #71 of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait on February 27, 2016 at George M Steinbrenner Stadium  in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Yankees announced last night that they have given an unconditional release to outfielder Slade Heathcott. They needed room on the 40-man roster and he was seen as expendable. There is no indication that they’re going to try to re-sign him or anything. He’s just gone.

Heathcott was the 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft and at one time was considered the second best prospect in the Yankees’ system. Injuries and decreased production as he climbed the minor league ladder took the shine off this particular apple, however. He had a nice little cup of coffee with New York last season, but he’s hitting a mere .230/.271/.310 at Triple-A this year in his second go-around.

Heathcott can play center field and has good tools, but he’s going to have to use them working for another organization.

Pete Rose says no one ever told him not to gamble on baseball anymore

Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose poses while taping a segment for Miami Television News on the campus of Miami University, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Associated Press
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Pete Rose will soon be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame and have his number retired and all of that jazz. To mark the occasion, Cincinnati Magazine interviewed the Hit King. And, for, like, the 4.256th straight time, Rose shows that he’s in complete denial about why he was banned in 1989 and why he was not reinstated last year when Rob Manfred agreed to review his case:

In this time of limbo after the ban, did you worry about your legacy? I normally don’t ever worry about anything that I’m not in control of. I wasn’t in control of anything in that situation. I went through a period when I got suspended where I didn’t even go to the ballpark. It’s not because I didn’t want to. There were so many restrictions on me, I just didn’t want to put people through that. It didn’t feel good to me.

Sure he wasn’t in control of anything. He was a tiny boat, cast out onto the waves, left to drift in a sea of uncertainty and powerlessness.

But it gets better. Rose was asked about how he changed his life after his ban:

But you still bet on baseball, albeit legally. It seems like the commissioner’s office has taken issue with that fact. Have you considered not betting on baseball anymore? That’s a good point. You remember reading about Bart Giamatti telling me to reconfigure my life? OK, no one has ever told me—including Manfred, including Selig—what does that mean? I guess my point is, just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it. I’m in control. Just tell me. If I want to bet on Monday Night Football, and that’s the way I enjoy my life, why is everybody so worried about that? I’m 75 years old, I have to be able to have some form of entertainment. I’m not betting out of my means. It’s not illegal. If you don’t want me to bet on baseball or anything else, just tell me.

If they told you that— I’d do it. Absolutely. But no one has ever explained “reconfigure your life.” I have taken responsibility for it. I have apologized for it. I have shown I’m sorry. But there again, no matter how many times you say you’re sorry, not everybody’s going to hear you. All I can do is imagine what they meant when they said reconfigure my life. And evidently, no one’s willing to tell me what that means.

So it was all a big misunderstanding. A man who was in his late 40s was banned for gambling on baseball and was told to straighten up yet he had no idea, for 26 years, that maybe it’d be a good idea for him to not gamble on baseball anymore in order to get back into the good graces of the folks who banned him. Damn, why did they pose such impossible riddles to him! If only he had a clue as to what sort of behavior would have improved his chances!

But really, guys: Rose is ready to stop betting on baseball. All you have to do is tell him. If he had known before now, well, we’d be having a TOTALLY different conversation, I’m sure.