And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Twins 19, Orioles 7: This was a multifaceted butt-whupping, but it got started with Chris Tillman’s butt. Which is a shame considering that five short months ago he was in the Best Shape of His Life. All of those runs for the Twins despite hitting only one homer. It was a Gashouse Gorillas-style conga line around the base paths. I wish Ron Gardehire had kept Anthony Swarzak in the game for a third inning of relief, however, because this game really needed a save.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Did you know that Kevin Youkilis was the first player who was ever traded by a team to then face his old team in a baseball game?  It’s true! At least if you read the stuff in the Boston papers over the past couple of days. Youk was good enough — he went 3 for 4 — but Adrian Gonzalez drove in four, including a three-run homer. Aaron Cook allowed zero earned runs over seven innings.

Marlins 5, Nationals 3: Well, we missed out on any Ozzie Guillen-Bryce Harper fights, so it sort of feels like a letdown. But Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer and Carlos Lee drove in two.

Indians 3, Rays 2: 11 pitchers were used in a nine inning game. A ball that was initially called a homer was changed to a double after a replay review revealed the initial call to be incorrect. If Bud Selig had his way the latter would never happen because it screws up the pace of the game. Sometimes you just have to laugh so you don’t cry.

Diamondbacks 5, Reds 3: The Reds announce that Joey Votto is going to have surgery and then they go out and find themselves down 4-0 in the first inning, effectively ending things before they start.  There have been better nights in Cincinnati.

Mariners 9, Royals 4: Gonna go out on a limb and say that the Royals did not win the Jonathan Sanchez-Melky Cabrera trade. Sanchez: 1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R. His ERA balloons to 7.76. Casper Wells drove in five with a three-run homer and a two-run triple.

Yankees 6, Blues Jays 3: Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam, but that was the least of the Blue Jays worries last night, as they lost Jose Bautista for what will likely be an extended period. Tendon problems on power hitters = potential ugliness.

Tigers 8, Angels 6: Quintin Berry had three hits, two stolen bases and scored twice. Brennan Boesch had a two-run homer. Detroit has won 11 of 15 and are now two and a half behind the White Sox. I called them a sleeping giant before the All-Star break. The giant stirs.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: A nice duel between Lance Lynn and Mike Fiers, but neither figured in the decision thanks to Jonathan Axford giving up three runs on three hits and two walks while blowing a 2-0 lead in the ninth.

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: Ryan Howard hit his first homer and, in doing so, picked up his first RBI of 2012. And tonight: Roy Halladay comes back. Slowly but surely the Phillies are becoming the Phillies again. But I strongly suspect it’s too late.

Astros 2, Padres 0: The Astros vs. the Padres had an official attendance of 26,000+. I assume the promotion was “free money night” or something.  Houston finally wins one on the road.

Rockies 5, Pirates 4: This one went into a rain delay in the top of the ninth with the Rockies up by three. I was tempted, before I went to sleep, to simply write it up, figuring that it was over. Then I thought “eh, Coors Field, anything can happen.” Wise choice, as the Pirates tied it up after the grounds crew dried it up when Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run bomb. Dexter Fowler won it on a sac fly in the bottom of the ninth. I wonder how many actually stuck around for that.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.