And That Happened: Classic!

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Note: due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” version of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran on July 10, 1977

Orioles 6, Yankees 5:  Reggie Jackson went 1 for 3 with an RBI double, but that wasn’t good enough for manager Billy Martin, who tried to physically attack Jackson after the game was over. That keeps a seventeen-game assaulting-Reggie Jackson-streak alive for the Yankee skipper.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 2: This game was delayed for nearly an hour when the home plate umpire’s CB radio malfunctioned. I suppose they could have tried to play without it, but in this day and age, modern technology is just a part of the game and those anti-citizen band people are just trying to deny progress.

Mets 7, Expos 5: This game went 17 innings and ended when Lenny Randle hit a game ending homer. It was only the second most notable hit he’s had all year.

Athletics 7, Royals 1: The game was pretty dismal for Kansas City, but shortstop Freddie Patek did have a great play at short. We have no means of showing you a videotaped recreation of the play, but check out the frame-by-frame photo of it.

Brewers 3, Red Sox 2: The winning run scored when Steve Dillard booted one at second base in the eighth inning. He later explained that the “demons” in his neighbor’s dog that “made him do it,” and has re-christened himself “the Son of Steve.”

White Sox 5, Tigers 2Cardinals 4, Cubs 3: One Chicago team wins and the other loses, but they both remain atop their respective divisions. At this point — exactly 81 games into the season — I think it’s safe to say that the long suffering of Chicago baseball fans is going to end this year, be it from a championship by the Cubs or the Sox.

Mariners 5, Twins 2: Dick Pole gets the win over David Goltz. Jeez, what a name. “Goltz.” I mean, really.

Rangers 7, Angels 2: With the loss, the Angels fall nine and a half back of the division leading White Sox. And there is no future, In California’s dreaming. No future, no future, No future for you, No future, no future, No future for me,  No future, no future, No future for you, No future, no future, For youuuuuuuuu.

Reds 3, Astros 1: Tom Seaver gets the win, allowing only one run in this complete game. It’s been less than a month since the Mets traded him to Cincinnati, but one can already tell that this is going to be the worst personnel move since Larry Linville left M*A*S*H.

Padres 2, Dodgers 1: A beautiful night in Southern California. From the game story:

It’s so clean out here. That’s because they don’t throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows. I don’t want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.

Giants 5, Braves 4: This loss puts the Braves 25 and a half games back in the NL West. Look, I’ve argued this one to death, but at the risk of continuing to do it, I will simply once again note that when Ted Turner managed the team back on May 11, they were only 15 and a half back. You can’t argue the numbers. Bring Ted back!

Pirates 9, Phillies 8: Davey Johnson went 3 for 5 and drove in five. He was hotter than the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire out there! Ooh, sorry. Too soon?

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.

 

There is a Tyler glut in baseball

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It’s a slow news morning — Miguel Montero is gone and everyone else is quiet — so you should go read Tyler Kepner’s latest column over at the New York Times. It’s, appropriately, about Tylers.

There are a lot of them in baseball now, Tyler notes. No Larrys and hardly any Eddies or Bobs. This obviously tracks the prevalence of the name Tyler in the population at large and the declines in Larrys, Eddies and Bobs. It’s the kind of thing I imagine we’ve all noticed from time to time, and it’s fun to do it in baseball. For his part, Kepner tries to make an all-Tyler All-Star team. The results are sort of sad.

There are always one or two Craigs floating around baseball from time to time, but not many more than that. We got a Hall of Famer recently, so that’s pretty nice. There will likely be fewer over time, as Craig — never even a top-30 name in popularity — is now near historic lows. I’m not complaining, though. I never once had to go by “Craig C.” in class to differentiate myself from other Craigs. Our biggest problem is being called Greg. We tend to let it pass. Craigs are used to it by now.