And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 7, Red Sox 5: Guess that visit from Ric Flair didn’t pay off, eh?  It’s possible, I suppose, that the visit wasn’t from the man in his awesome Nature Boy persona, but rather, was the real life Ric Flair, who is pretty damn pathetic. Anyway, sure, Tampa Bay lost too and if these teams keep pace with one another for the next week Boston wins. On the other hand, yuuuuuck.  If Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon can’t combine in the eighth inning to shut down Baltimore, how much confidence do you have for the playoffs?

Yankees 5, Rays 0: Look, Tampa Bay: Boston isn’t gonna do all of the collapsing for you. You have to do your part too.

Braves 4, Marlins 0: Randall Delgado tossed five shutout innings for his first MLB win and Fredi Gonzalez was finally introduced to a couple of relievers who aren’t Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters to close things out. True fact: I actually own and still wear a sweatshirt that is older than Delgado. It’s a black I.O.U. number with purple lettering on it and the words “styled for the 90s” written across the bottom. I got it from an aunt in November 1989 (Delgado was born in February 1990). I have no idea why I’ve kept it so long, but I still sleep in it when it’s really cold. I could probably match it up with a pair of baggy acid wash jeans and some British Knights and really make the scene in some Eastern European village someplace.

Cardinals 11, Mets 6: Of course you can’t depend on the Mets to do anything for you. They had a 4-0 lead and blew it and then were back to a 6-5 lead in the seventh before giving up a bases-loaded Ryan Theriot double and six runs in all that inning. Albert Pujols was 4 for 5.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: While St. Louis kept pace the same can’t be said of San Francisco. Clayton Kershaw pretty much owns the Giants and he flummoxed them again, winning his 20th. A James Loney single and a Jerry Sands homer gave him two runs to work with early and two runs tends to be all he needs.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3; Nationals 3, Phillies 0: Yeah, I know they’ve clinched their division and are a lock for the best record and that September records mean little for playoff teams and yadda, yadda yadda. But that said: aren’t you at least a bit worried about this offense?

Brewers 5, Cubs 1: I have no idea why the postal service is considering cutting off Saturday delivery to cut costs. The Cubs are so thoroughly mailing it in that the USPS budget should be balanced by next Wednesday.

Royals 10, Tigers 2: Eric Hosmer went 5 for 5 and drove in three. Brad Penny got lit up. The Royals have won eight of their last nine. If they pick up a pitcher or two this winter, they are gonna be everyone’s trendy pick next spring.

Mariners 5, Twins 4: Mike Carp was 5 for 5 but didn’t score once. I wonder how often that happens.

Reds 6, Astros 4: Homer Bailey scattered six hits while pitching and had three of his own while hitting. We always couch this as an individual sentiment, but really, there’s no “I” in “helped his own cause.”  Oh, wait. There is one “i” in there. It’s not capitalized though, so maybe we can let this one pass?

Angels 10, Blue Jays 6: Toronto fails to play spoiler on this night.  Know what would be really cool, though? If someone played The Spoiler. Anyone remember that guy? You, over there, in the I.O.U. sweater. You’re old enough, right?  Yeah, he kind of sucked actually, but the world needs high-level jobbers to get guys over, OK? Those superstars don’t sell themselves.

Padres 2. Rockies 1: Mat Latos struck out nine in eight and two-thirds but ran out of gas as the pitch count crossed the 120 mark. Heath Bell got a one out save.

Indians 4, White Sox 3White Sox 5, Indians 4: The only thing more meaningless than a White Sox-Indians game this time of the year is the White Sox and Indians splitting a double header. At least in a single game something perceptible happens in the standings. The split twin bill was about as eventful as making an angel in the gypsum at White Sands National Monument. Tomorrow, it’s as if it never happened.

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 3: Charlie Morton threw six scoreless innings. The Dbacks magic number is down to three thanks to the Giants’ loss.

Rangers 7, Athletics 2: Michael Young got his 200th hit and Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer. Texas has won eight of ten and is gonna cruise into the playoffs at this rate. The magic number is four.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.