Chipper Jones

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Yes, I’ll get to the Weaver no-hitter in a minute. But it’s already an HBT top story and we have some supporting stuff too.  And besides, there was some clairvoyance going on last night too, and that’s way more rare than a no-no, so first:

Braves 15, Phillies 13:  Dudes, not gonna lie. I turned this game off when it was 5-0 Phillies and Halladay was on the mound because 99% of the time, that’s over.  So instead I chatted online with my girlfriend and watched a couple season 2 episodes of “Louie.”  Including the one with the duckling in Afghanistan which was awesome, right?  Of course.

So, Louie ends and I go to the scoreboard to see how badly the Braves lost and I see that — shock! — it’s 13-13 in the 11th inning.  To the Roku player!  I turn it on and Chipper Jones is batting against Brian Sanches.  This is my chat log with my girlfriend, unedited. Apologies for the language, but it was the heat of the moment:

Me: Holy f**k, what the f**k happened in the Braves game. I started ignoring it when it was 5-0 Phillies. Now it’s 13-13, hahaha
Allison: oh my god  i had no idea??
Me: Looks like the wildest thing ever
Allison: couple of Phillies fans i know havent tweeted much
Me: I’m hoping Chipper hits a walkoff two run homer here
Me: S**t he almost did. Just foul
Allison: haha aw
Allison:  No f*****g way??
Me: I f*****g called that!
Allison: Hahahaha this chat log better make the blog too
Me: Oh yeah

So yeah. I called it. If “hoping” counts as calling it, which I think it does. If not, I at least willed it. Anyway, the Braves’ mostly-dead third baseman is better than your third baseman, so there.

Angels 9, Twins 0: Jered Weaver: no hitter. Drew had the details last night. And yes, it counts even though it came against the Twins.  The best part of it: the lengths to which the Angels broadcasters went to avoid mentioning the fact that he actually had a no-hitter going until the game actually ended. They’re so cute.

Rockies 8, Dodgers 5: Chipper wasn’t the only old man to hit a walkoff homer.  Jason Giambi did too, and his was a three-run job. Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers of his own as Clayton Kershaw was rocked in Denver.

Cardinals 12, Pirates 3: A really nice night for older, often-gimpy players: Carlos Beltran had two homers and seven RBI. Also, there was a kind of beauty in A.J. Burnett’s pitching line. Just the numbers themselves, I mean:  2.2 12 12 12 1 2 2.  I’m assuming Pirates fans feel differently about that.

Cubs 3, Reds 1: You can’t stop Bryan LaHair, you can only hope to contain him. He hit a homer and now sits at .381/.459/.794 on the season with six bombs.

Indians 6, White Sox 3: Johnny Damon lead off, went 0 for 3 and left early with cramping. Didn’t matter, though, because Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana went yard. Adam Dunn hit a homer too.

Rays 5, Mariners 4: James Shields became the first five game winner in the AL, and struck out 11 Mariners. It wasn’t perfect — he gave up four runs in six innings — but he had homers from Sean Rodriguez and Luke Scott backing him. That’s 10 of 11 for the red-hot Rays.

Athletics 4, Red Sox 2: Brandon McCarthy explained after the game how seeing Jarrod Parker tie up the Red Sox the night before helped him visualize success against them last night:

“If anything, it gives you the confidence that you’re not facing a team that scored a bunch of runs,” McCarthy said of watching his teammate’s success the previous game. “When you see someone go out there, throw strike one, with good location, I think it can give you the confidence that it can be done.”

Based on that, I’m taking the hill tonight.  I’ll watch the Parker game three times if I have to. I know I can do it.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 4: Ian Desmond hit a walkoff homer. Bryce Harper went 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI and made a barehanded catch in the outfield after he stumbled. More importantly, the Nats snapped a five game losing streak. Exciting stuff going down in the District.

Orioles 5, Yankees 0: OK, seriously Orioles, cut it out. The joke has gone on long enough. That “hee hee, look at at compete” thing is starting to make everyone a little nervous, so whenever you’re ready, please return to being the division doormat, OK?  Anyone?  Folks, I’m not sure that they’re listening. Jake Arrieta, eight innings of shutout ball.

Padres 5, Brewers 0: Jeff Suppan won his first game since 2010, shutting out his old team for five innings. I’d call it “The Revenge of Jeff Suppan,” but I’m not sure that the Brewers did anything that warranted vengeance.

Royals 3, Tigers 2: Hit this up yesterday. The Tigers are gonna wake up soon, right?

Blue Jays 11, Rangers 5: Edwin Encarnacion continues to abuse baseballs. He hit a three-run jack — check out how beautiful it was — and Kelly Johnson hit one too. Just as disaster of a series for Texas.

Astros 8, Mets 1: Chris Johnson: two homers, four hits, six RBI. This is the Astros third baseman, by the way. Not the Chris Johnson I went to GW law school with and who was a former colleague of mine back at the Ohio law firm.  Totally different dude.

Marlins 3, Giants 2 : Carlos Zambrano shut out the Giants for seven. And, amazingly, Barry Zito’s new marriage didn’t cause him to maintain his pitching success. He walked seven dudes in three and two-thirds innings and needed over 90 pitches to get that far. But then the ninth inning came and Heath Bell came in and he, once again, didn’t have it, and the Giants tied it up.  Never fear, though: Giancarlo Stanton had it: homer in the 10th to win it.

Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Eminent Domain and the history of the Rangers Ballpark

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump addresses supporters at a campaign rally, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Eminent Domain — the right of a government take/buy private property for public use — and its implications has always been a controversial topic. It became far more controversial in the 1990s and early 2000s, however,  as the practice, which is intended for public projects like roads and stuff, was increasingly used in ways to help developers and businesses.

The controversy came to a head in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London in which the Supreme Court held that general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth — not just direct public works — qualified as a “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The upshot: if someone had a good argument that a shopping mall would benefit the community, Mr. Developer and the government can force you to sell them their house.

This led to a HUGE backlash, with property rights people freaking out about what seemed like a pretty clear abuse of governmental power serving the interests of developers. Some 44 states have since passed laws outlawing the use of Eminent Domain for purely economic development. Some of that backlash has gone too far in the other direction, with some laws getting passed which not only required compensation to landowners if land was taken, but merely if land was diminished in value.  Like, if the government passes an environmental regulation which makes your private, for-profit toxic waste dump less lucrative than it was, the government has to pay you. It’s crazy stuff, really. And all of those laws notwithstanding, the topic continues to be a controversial one, with battles over what, exactly, is “public” what is a “public good” and all of that raging on. It’s rather fascinating. At least for boring nerfherders like me.

In the recent GOP presidential debate Donald Trump and Jeb Bush got into it on the topic, with Trump — a real estate developer, or course — defending the use of Eminent Domain to take land for economic development and Bush — a really desperate dude who at this point will take ANY position he can if it’ll give him traction — opposing it. In the days since they’ve continued to fight about it, with Trump charging Bush with hypocrisy since his brother, George W., was an owner of the Texas Rangers when they built their new ballpark with the help of Eminent Domain.

Ahh, yes. We finally get to baseball.

Today Nathaniel Rakich of Baseballot digs into that project and looks at how it all played out against the Eminent Domain debate. It touches on stuff we talk about a lot around here: are ballparks engines of economic development or merely for the enrichment of ballclubs? If they are built by a municipality, are they public goods? Wait, how can they be public goods if you can’t just walk into them for free? And the arguments go on.

It’s fascinating stuff showing, once again, that the real world and baseball intersect all the dang time and it’s handy to have a handle on just how, exactly, it does so.

Who wants Ian Desmond? Probably not the “long shot” Rays

Ian+Desmond+Baltimore+Orioles+v+Washington+DNMQvTzHgF2l
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Two weeks ago there were multiple reports linking the Rays to unsigned free agent shortstop Ian Desmond, but now Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Tampa Bay signing Desmond “is a long shot” because, like most other teams, they don’t want to forfeit a draft pick to do so.

Desmond significantly dropping his asking price could always change things, but the Nationals are said to be out of the mix to re-sign him after adding plenty of veteran infield depth. And the Padres, who were believed to have some interest last month, instead signed Alexei Ramirez to start at shortstop.

Desmond rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals at the beginning of the offseason and previously turned down a $100 million contract extension offer to stay in Washington long term.

Ruben Amaro is workin’ out and gettin’ ready to coach first base

Ruben Amaro Jr.
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One of the weirder stories of the offseason was Ruben Amaro going from the Phillies front office to the Red Sox, where he’ll coach first base. That kind of transition is almost unheard of but it’s happening with old Rube.

Today Pete Abraham of the Globe has a story about how Amaro is preparing for the role. And how, while it may look weird on paper, the move actually makes a lot more sense than you might suspect given the Red Sox’ coaching staff and Amaro’s own background. It’s good stuff. Go check it out.

On a personal note, it serves as a signal to me to keep my eyes peeled for reports about Amaro from Fort Myers once camp gets started:

Amaro has been working out in recent weeks with his nephew Andrew, a Phillies prospect, to get ready for throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes.

Could we be so lucky as to get the first-ever Best Shape of His Life report for a coach? God, I hope so!

It’s pretty stupid that athletes can’t endorse beer

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates after pitching the Giants to a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: PAGP102
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One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.

After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.

Why?

I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.

That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.

That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:

Musial

And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.

Why can’t they get paid for doing it?