Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 3, Tigers 2: If only there was some form of technology that could rectify bad calls. Some magical device that could allow officials to see what really happened on a baseball field when the umpires miss it. A bit of sorcery that could put right what was wrong and prevent a game from being decided on a blown call. Sadly, no such thing exists, despite all of the efforts of our men and women of science. So, alas, the Rangers win on a blown call.

Diamondbacks 6, Braves 4: Randall Delgado issued a bases loaded walk and then a grand slam to Gerardo Parra in the second inning and that would be all Arizona needed. The Dbacks snap their five-game skid and salvage one in what had been a ghastly series against the Braves.

Padres 6, Phillies 1: Nick Hundley tripled, homered and drove in four. I don’t have time to go run the numbers right now, but I assume that that alone is more offense than the Phillies have mustered since the season began.

White Sox 7, Mariners 4: Ichiro Suzuki singled in the first, so no perfect game in this one. Umpire Tim Mcclelland had to be restrained from saying Ichiro struck out on the single, though. And then no one showed the replay and no one talked about it. Huh.

Reds 4, Cubs 3: From the AP game story:

Aroldis Chapman came on to strike out Ian Stewart looking with a fastball that registered 99 miles per hour on the stadium scoreboard, preserving the lead.

I’ve only been there once and it was like 12 years ago, but I was kinda surprised that Wrigley had gun readings on a scoreboard somewhere. These sorts of things elude me.

Athletics 5, Indians 1: Justin Masterson, the Indians Opening Day starter, continues to struggle, giving up four runs on six hits in five innings. Seth Smith and Cliff Pennington each drove in a couple.

Rockies 4, Brewers 1: Ryan Braun got his MVP plaque awarded to him before the game. That and 50 cents gets you a pack of Certs,apparently, because a Michael Cuddyer RBI double in the eighth and a Carlos Gonzalez RBI single in the ninth put the Rockies over the top.

Orioles 3, Angels 2: Nick Markakis supplied all of the Orioles’ offense, in the eighth and the tenth innings. The O’s are at 9-6 tied with the Rays a half game back of New York and Toronto. Yeah, it’s too early for that kind of standings watching, but it’s kinda fun to say it, ain’t it?

Astros 12, Dodgers 0: L.A got whupped. Jordan Schafer hit a grand slam. Wandy Rodriguez threw seven three-hit shutout innings.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 3: Rickey Romero was solid (8 IP, 5 H 2 ER), Brett Lawrie stole home on a delayed double steal and Kansas City has lost ten in a row. Yikes.

Rays 6, Twins 2: First sentence of the AP recap:

The Minnesota Twins are becoming concerned with Francisco Liriano’s struggles.

This is not a repeat from any year since 2006.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 1: How is Kyle Lohse doing this year? Well, he gave up one run over seven innings and his ERA actually went up. From 0.89 to 0.99.

I will now sell five copies of The Three E.P.’s by The Beta Band:

Yankees vs. Red Sox: POSTPONED: I asked him time again …

Marlins vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: Take me in and dry the rain …

Giants vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, the rain the rain the rain now.

A-Rod will be back on Fox for the playoffs

Alex Rodriguez
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Alex Rodriguez made for a shockingly good analyst during last year’s playoffs. He’s clear and concise and is able to criticize players without being a jackass. That’s key, as so many current and former players who spend time doing analysis seem loathe to call out a player despite the fact that that’s what they’re there for.

Fox obviously liked what they got out of A-Rod, because he’s coming back:

Now, if they can refrain from hiring Pete Rose and if TBS brings back A.J. Pierzynski, tuning in to the pregame and postgame shows may actually be worth your time this October.

Blame Baseball’s copycat behavior for its lack of diversity in the executive ranks

Rob Manfred
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Following on yesterday’s stuff about baseball’s marked lack of diversity in the executive ranks comes a Ken Rosenthal column which digs into it a bit.

I might observe that, while, Rosenthal is right on all of the facts, there is a whiff of pushback in the story. As if MLB folks were hearing the criticisms Murray Chass and others have leveled in recent days about the lack of women, minorities and other candidates who don’t fit the “30-something MBA from an Ivy League school” mold of so many of today’s top execs and wanted to get some points out there. The league’s search firm is examined and there is a bit of “well, here is an exception; and here are a few more . . .” to it. Which, hey, that’s fair. Like I said, Rosenthal has his facts right and treats the issue seriously.

I think Rosenthal’s best bit, however, is the point he hits on at the end, when he says “homogeneity is dangerous in any industry, particularly when bright people are excluded.” That’s probably the key word to think about when you think about baseball’s hiring practices. “Homegeneity.” Baseball has a distinct lack of women and minorities in key positions, but I don’t think it’s because baseball is maliciously racist or sexist. Rather, it’s because baseball is acutely prone to copycat behavior that breeds homogeneity.

Everything about baseball culture, from the first day of a player’s minor league career-on and from the first day an intern is hired to get coffee for an assistant general manager is about not being different. About not sticking out. About emulating successes. You may mess up or you may fail, but if you do it while going about your business the way other, successful people went about theirs, you’ll be way better off than if you did things differently or stuck out.

This is true of all industries to some degree, but it seems far more prevalent in baseball. It’s a smaller world with fewer opportunities than business at large. It’s a more conservative world in terms of temperament. It’s one where you’re far more likely to have a reporter ask you about why you did something than, say, the accounting industry. It makes people afraid to take chances and makes people far more likely to do what that last successful guy did than to go out on even the shortest of limbs.

Not that things don’t change. Indeed, today’s preference for 30-something MBAs is radically different than the old model of hiring some old “baseball man” to run baseball operations. But it only came to the fore after the sabermetric and analytical model forced its way into the conversation with success and/or efficiencies that were impossible for even the crustiest old baseball man to ignore. That said, it was a transformation that was so difficult and radical that it was literally turned into a book and a movie and led to a decade and a half of arguing. A philosophical change which may have been casually noted in another business and then quickly emulated played out like some sort of cultural civil war in baseball circles. Change came, yes, but it wasn’t easy.

But here we are again, with the old baseball men replaced by the “Moneyball” disciples, who have become the new normal. A normal which one deviates from at great risk in baseball’s conservative world. I don’t believe that baseball’s homogeneity in the executive ranks is a function of bad people who believe bad things making bad decisions. I think it’s about fear and conformity more than anything else. Now there is a fear that not hiring that Ivy League MBA is the radical and perilous move. And if that Ivy League MBA was one who worked under another Ivy League MBA with another, all the better. And the easier we can sell him to fans as “the next Theo Epstein,” well, the better. And it sure would be easier to do that if he looked like Theo Epstein! Comps are the lingua franca of old baseball scouts. They’re the lingua franca of baseball decision makers too.

Whatever the causes, the net effect of all of this is no different than if there were virulent racism and sexism in the hearts and minds of baseball’s decision makers. It’s the same rich white boys club that maliciousness and bigotry could’ve created, even if it was created via more benign means. If baseball’s leaders truly believe that diversity in their leadership ranks is important — and I believe them when they say they do — they need to attack the problem of its homogeneity in the same manner they would if there was something malicious afoot. They need to stop throwing up their hands and saying “well, that’s what clubs do” or “that’s what our search firm gave us” and make achieving diversity a goal with an action plan, not just a goal which is merely stated.