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.

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.