And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 9, Mets 2: Cliff Lee stood to lose yet another one, as he and the Phillies were down 2-0 entering the seventh, but three runs in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings saved his bacon. First win of the year for Lee.

Marlins 7, Brewers 6: On Tuesday Milwaukee beat Miami in ten so yesterday Miami returned the favor. I didn’t see if Ozzie Guillen unleashed an expletive-filled rant after this one too. Yes, I know they won. It could have been expletives of joy.

Pirates 6, Astros 4: Seven of eight for the Pirates who are quite happy being in first place. Michael McKenry and Pedro Alvarez drove in two runs apiece.

Orioles 4, Mariners 2: Chris Tillman made his first start of the year and was outstanding: Two runs — both unearned — on two hits in eight and a third. But, well, Mariners.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 1: This game looked boring based on the box score, so what I really want to know is whether the people of Canada viewed the Royals wearing hats with the camouflage logos as an act of international aggression.

Cubs 5, Braves 1: Can the Braves rewind the season, regain Randall Delgado’s big time prospect status and trade him for Zack Greinke then? I somehow feel like that would have been a good move and would have led to a better season. Homers for  Bryan LaHair, Jeff Baker and Anthony Rizzo.

Athletics 3, Red Sox 2: David Ortiz hit his 400th homer, but Oakland sweeps the Sox. Brandon Moss had three hits including a dinger. Overall he was 6 for 8 with five RBIs and three runs scored against his old club in this series.

Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Adam Wainwright allowed one run over six innings on eight hits. I am contractually obligated to note that, because it was eight hits in six innings, those hits were scattered.

Indians 12, Angels 3: Ervin Santana was rocked like a hurricane, allowing eight runs on six hits in an inning and a third. Three-run homers by Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman.

Yankees 4, Rays 3: Alex Rodriguez drew a bases loaded walk off Kyle Farnsworth, who was making his second appearance of the year. Joe Maddon after the game:

“Kyle Farnsworth is a big part of our present and our future. For us to get to the promised land, he’s got to perform well, which he shall. I’ve never seen him do that before …”

I guess Joe Maddon just met Farnsworth, like, yesterday.

Nationals 9, Giants 4: Madison Bumgarner got shelled, allowing seven runs on nine hits in five innings. The Nationals hit four homers and Ryan Zimmerman drove in three.

White Sox 5, Rangers 4: Kevin Youkilis worked Mike Adams for nine pitches in the bottom of the 10th inning with a man on and then served one to left field for the walkoff. The crowd cried “Yooooooouk!”  Youkilis is six for his last 14 with a homer and six driven in.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 6:  Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer. Four of his six hits have been home runs. Have we ever had a Three True Outcomes catcher before? I suppose Grandal has to take a walk before get on that subject, but let’s keep it in our back pocket. Jason Kubel hit a three-run homer.

Tigers 5, Twins 1: A lengthy rain/storm delay meant that rather than 100 degrees at game time it was 78 degrees. The Tigers seemed to like that, as Miguel Cabrera hit two homers and Justin Verlander tossed a complete game. This box score is sort of the platonic ideal of a 2012 Detroit Tigers game.

Dodgers 4, Reds 1: L.A. took two of three from the Reds and, with the Giants loss, regained first place in the NL West.

Former outfielder Anthony Gose is throwing 99 m.p.h. fastballs in the minors

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Anthony Gose played for five seasons as an outfielder in the big leagues. He never hit well enough to be a regular, and a series of altercations with his minor league managers and coaches didn’t do too much for his future either.

His fastball, however, may eventually make up for all of that.

Toward the end of spring training it was reported that Gose would begin work as a pitcher. Given that he was a highly regarded high school pitching prospect with a plus fastball, it wasn’t a crazy notion. When Tigers camp broke, Gose stayed in Lakeland in extended spring training, throwing bullpen sessions and stuff.

Now he’s seeing game action. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Gose threw an inning for the Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers against the Palm Beach Cardinals last night. He allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout and one walk, lighting up the radar gun at 99 m.p.h. This is the tweet from Lakeland’s assistant general manager:

The Free Press says that the Tigers’ vice president of player development, Dave Littlefield, is “very optimistic” about Gose’s progress.

Given that he’s still only 26 and he’s a lefty it wouldn’t shock me at all if he makes his way back to the bigs someday soon.

There is no need to lament the loss of “The Great Hollywood Baseball Movie”

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Today in the New York Times Jay Caspian Kang writes about what he calls the loss of “The Great Hollywood Baseball Movie.” About how there are few if any big baseball movies anymore. Movies which traffic in baseball-as-metaphor-for-America with Jimmy Stewart (or Kevin Costner)-types playing characters which seem to transcend time, elevate our emotions and rack up the dollars at the box office.

It’s a bit of meandering column, with just as much time spent on Kang’s seeming dissatisfaction with modern baseball and baseball telecasts as his dissatisfaction with baseball cinema, but he winds it up with this, which sums his argument up well enough:

Baseball’s cinematic vision of Middle America no longer means what it once did. The failing family enterprise and the old, forbearing white — or Negro Leagues — ballplayer now remind us of an extinct vision of the country and the growing distance between Middle America and the coasts. The attempts to update the archival, sun-kissed, Midwestern vision — whether on last year’s “Pitch,” the Fox TV show about a woman pitching in the majors, or “Million Dollar Arm,” the 2014 Disney movie in which Jon Hamm goes to India to convert cricket bowlers into pitchers — are canceled or bomb at the box office.

You won’t be surprised that I take a great deal of issue with all of this.

Mostly because it only talks about one specific kind of baseball movie being AWOL from cinemas: the broad works which appeal to the masses and which speak to both the past, present and future, often with a hazy nostalgia in which love of baseball and love of America are portrayed as one and the same.

It’s worth noting, though, that such films are extraordinarily rare. There was a brief time when such things existed and did well at the box office — the 1980s had “The Natural,” “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham” and “Major League” in a relatively short period of time — but that’s the exception, not the rule.

Baseball movies are almost always niche flicks. Biopics made of recently deceased stars like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Weird slices of life like “The Bad News Bears” or “The Sandlot.” Quirky comedies that are baseball offshoots of larger cinematic trends like “Little Big League,” which was just the latest in a series of “kids doing adult things” movies popular at the time. Or “Rookie of the Year” which is essentially baseball’s version of one of those body-switch movies that come and go. Or “Mr. Baseball” which was just a fish-out-of-water comedy like any other.

We still get those kinds of smaller baseball movies fairly often. They’re still pretty decent and still do pretty decently at the box office, even if they’re no one’s idea of a blockbuster.

“Moneyball” was done well and did well, not as a mass appeal movie, but as one of many business/Silicon Valley flicks that have popped over the past few years. “Sugar” was a great movie, but a small movie, exploring a culture about which most people aren’t aware and basically serving as a character study. “42” is just an updated (and much better) version of those old biopics of baseball stars. “Everybody Wants Some” may be the quintessential niche baseball movie in that it’s a story about characters which just happen to have a lot of baseball in their lives. “Bull Durham” was like that too, but it just came along at the right time to become a massive hit. As many have noted, baseball was more background than plot in that movie, even if the background was amazingly well done. I’d argue that most good baseball movies use baseball like that rather than put it squarely in the foreground.

There will likely always be baseball movies, but they will almost always be smaller ones, not large blockbusters or Oscar bait with an epic sweep. Most baseball movies are like baseball itself in that they lack a grand consensus. Baseball is not The National Pastime anymore — it’s just one of many forms of sports and entertainment available to the masses — so it follows that the movies which deal with it will likewise not have that massive cross-market appeal.

I think that’s a good thing. Smaller baseball movies more accurately reflect the sport’s place in the culture. To portray baseball as something larger than what it actually is opens the door to a lot of artistic and cultural dishonesty and runs the risk of creating some really bad art.

I mean, have you seen “Field of Dreams?” Bleech.