And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 4, Angels 3: Watching the Angels get beat by the Rangers puts me in mind of some sci-fi movie where a group is under attack from an invading army. Mike Scioscia is the defending general in a command center somewhere and keeps getting reports that the defenses are crumbling. He steels himself and says “send out Santana,” who in the movie is thought of as some last resort defense, only to see him overrun. Then, tonight, he orders the “Weaver maneuver” — a really, really, last defense; like a ship captain ordering his helmsman to ram the intruder — to be deployed. If the usual narrative holds, Weaver gets annihilated and Scioscia orders a full retreat and the second half of the movie results in a change of tactics, guerrilla warfare or some sort of doomed resistance movement.  I’m having trouble putting my finger of what movie this is but I’m sure someone knows the general arc I’m talking about. Maybe it’s partly the end of “The Best of Both Worlds” when Riker orders Crusher to ram the Borg cube combined with a little bit of “Red Dawn.” What? No, I really have been with a woman before. Why do you ask?

Giants 7, Braves 5: On a day when yet another Giant — closer Brian Wilson — is unavailable due to owies, Matt Cain plays stopper, allowing only one run — unearned — in eight innings. Of course, without Wilson the bullpen kind of melted down in the ninth, but San Francisco’s 7-1 lead entering the bottom of the inning provided enough of a cushion.

Rays 4, Red Sox 0: Hit this one up yesterday. The best offense in baseball is suddenly not at its best.

Astros 4, Cubs 3: That man, Brian Bogusevic, comes through again with an RBI double and the Astros have themselves a nice little two-game winning streak. They should probably do champagne showers and everything for this.

Athletics 6, Orioles 5: Kurt Suzuki had two homers and held on to the ball on a wacko play to end it.  All kinds of ugly outfield defense in this one.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 2: Allen Craig hit two homers. Whenever he makes SportsCenter, my brother calls me and says “hey, your name is Craig Allen, and there’s a baseball player named Allen Craig! Did you know that?”  Yes, Curt, I knew that.

Reds 2, Nationals 1: Johnny Cueto allows one run in eight innings and drops that ERA down to 1.89.

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 2: An effective Cliff Lee keeps the Dbacks’ bats quiet and Hunter Pence reaches base four times, scoring three times. I credit the fiery bacon.

Mets 7, Padres 3: David Wright pwned Cameron Maybin. Total pwnage.

Rockies 12, Marlins 5: Ricky Nolasco had beaten the Rockies five straight times. This time, not so much. Four RBI a piece for Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Iannetta.

Blue Jays 6, Mariners 1: Brandon Morrow struck out 12 Mariners in six innings. When do the Orioles play the M’s? I wanna see Adam Jones hit for the cycle.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 1: Betting on baseball is idiotic because anything can happen in one game. But if I had to bet on one game yesterday, it would have been Greinke and the Brewers beating L.A. That’s six straight for Milwaukee

Royals 5, Yankees 4: Yankees lose by one on a night with a controversial home run call? Yeah, we’re gonna have more about that later.

Indians 4, White Sox 1: Nothing like a fierce battle for second place in baseball’s worst division. But this year, it’s pretty much all we have.

Twins 6, Tigers 5: And of course, the division’s best team loses a series like this.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.