Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 3, Phillies 2: Roy Halladay struck out 14 and pitched a complete game but lost all the same. Guess he just doesn’t know how to win, huh?  Lyle Overbay knocked in all three of the Snakes’ runs, including a two-run double which ended up winning it in the ninth.

Astros 6, Cubs 5: Where in the hell did that come from? It was 5-2 in the ninth and I was just about ready to write that the Astros may not win 50 games this year, when all of a sudden something called a Brian Bogusevic hits a walkoff grand slam off Carlos Marmol. I mean, sure, Marmol has had his share of meltdowns this year, but since when do the Astros have any late game moxie? Oh, and they still may not win 50 games this year, but given this dramatic win, it would be rude to point that out in this recap.

Braves 2, Giants 1: Whichever San Francisco Giants employee built their house on that ancient Indian burial ground, can you please tear it down? On a day when practically everyone who has ever worn a Giants uniform dating back to Billy O’Dell was placed on the disabled list or otherwise injured, starter Jonathan Sanchez had to leave the game early with a sprained ankle. That the Braves won it on an 11th inning single was probably a blessing for Bruce Bochy, who no doubt was convinced by then that he’d lose a player to Cotard’s Syndrome or something. As it is, he probably has a case of Trichotillomania by now.

Athletics 8, Orioles 4: Read the box score if you want to know what happened in the game. For now, I’m mostly interested in the AP recap. For the second day in a row (here’s yesterday’s), the guy writing the O’s-A’s recap has gone with a pitcher talking about his cut fastball as the centerpiece. Coincidence? Possibly. Maybe that’s just what the player decided to talk about in the clubhouse afterward. But part of me thinks that we have a cutter obsessive on our hands, lurking in west coast ballparks, armed with a press pass and his monomania. But what does he want? WHAT DOES HE WANT?!

Rangers 7, Angels 3:  [As the Angels join hands to sing]: I was born here and I’ll die here against my will. I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still. Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb. I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from. Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Red Sox 3, Rays 1; Rays 6, Red Sox 2:  I hit the first game up in a post yesterday. As for the second, one day after I mentioned that I like the bang-bang-bang triple plays, the Red Sox turned one. What kind of sorcery is this, and can I learn to use it on demand?

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Justin Verlander cruises, as usual. I know wins aren’t everything, but the guy is on pace for something like 24 wins right now, and that kind of total doesn’t happen much these days. There’s a righteous argument for him to win the Cy Young on the real merits anyway, but if he snags 24 wins, it’s probably unanimous because it’s the kind of thing on which everyone can agree.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: Walkoff homer for Garrett Jones in the 11th. I have no idea how this happened. I mean, Tony La Russa had his ancient lefty specialist in to face the lefty Jones, and the gods who gave La Russa was all of his baseball wisdom proclaimed that such a strategy never fails. I saw it written in flaming letters on the side of a granite cliff. I swear.

Brewers 2, Dodgers 1: As the Cardinals lose, Milwaukee improves to 12-2 in August thanks to Mark Kotsay’s RBI single to end it in the ninth. They now have a seven game lead in the division. That’s only a half game worse than Philly’s lead in the East, which is the biggest in baseball.

Nationals 6, Reds 4:  I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that, both times recently when I remembered that Wang was pitching, he won.  Because I have a clever little phrase I want to use that I’m sure no one has ever thought of before in the event that someone beats Wang.

Padres 6, Mets 1: Like the Cubs, the Padres are putting it together too late for it to matter. But hey, at least they’re putting it together. How together? San Diego leads all of baseball in runs scored since the All-Star break. Yeah, that’s a bit of a shocker.  Fifteen hits last night, including two triples for Nick Hundley.

Blue Jays 13, Mariners 7: They Jays jumped out to a six-run lead, blew it, and then went on to win by six anyway. It’s like they have a crate of six-run leads in the clubhouse that they can just use whenever.

Marlins 6, Rockies 5: Eight strong innings from Anibal Sanchez to give him his first win in over two months. It was almost deja vu for Florida, though, as the Rockies mounted a ninth inning rally. It fell short, of course. If it hadn’t, I would have written the score differently.

Yankees 9, Royals 7:  Ivan Nova gave up seven runs on nine hits in five and a third. But he got the win, so by definition, that makes him better than Roy Halladay.

White Sox 8, Indians 7:  A wild one. The wildest part: Juan Pierre, offensive hero. A homer in the fourth — only his 16th in his whole long career — and the walkoff single in the 14th.  Also wild: the Sox had five triples. Also wild: the Indians had the bases loaded with one out in the 13th but couldn’t get it done. A five-hour+ game.

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.