New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 6, Twins 3: Six shutout innings for Andy Pettitte. After all these years. After a retirement. After an injury that cost him the bulk of the season. Andy Pettitte is still critical to the Yankees after all of these years.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 1; Blue Jays 9, Orioles 5: The split costs Baltimore a half game to New York. They’re two back in the loss column. Adam Jones went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBI in the opener.  J.P. Arencibia hit a grand slam in the night cap. This is the first time the Yankees and O’s are separated by more than a game since September 2.

White Sox 5, Indians 4: Two homers for Adam Dunn, the second of which was a three-run homer in the eighth — to help the Chisox break a five-game losing streak.

Tigers 6, Royals 2: And whaddaya know? Both AL Central contenders won. How novel. Justin Verlander allowed two runs over eight despite hurting his non-throwing shoulder — get this — catching the ball as it was being thrown back by the catcher. There’s something to the idea that geniuses are people who make the hard stuff easy and the easy stuff hard.

Mets 6, Pirates 2: Say what you want about the Mets season, but they’re trying to end it strong. Four straight wins for New York, this one powered by two Ike Davis bombs. As for the Pirates? Here’s their second half schedule and results. I haven’t seen that much red on a board since the show “Homicide” went off the air.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2: Tyler Chatwood wins and goes to 5-5. Trevor Cahill loses and goes to 12-12. There’s something so very satisfyingly symmetrical about that. I mean, apart from the fact that if you interchangeably used the aliases “Tyler Chatwood” and “Trevor Cahill” that no one would ever notice.

Cardinals 6, Astros 1: Lance Lynn wins his 17th and the Cards win their seventh of eight. St. Louis has a three and a half game lead for the second wild card.

Nationals 12, Brewers 2: A six-run fourth inning for Washington when the sun caused Carlos Gomez to misplay a two-out fly ball. The day before the Nats had trouble with balls in the air in the midday glare.  Here’s hoping that MLB doesn’t solve the Nationals public transportation problem by giving them NLDS games in the middle of the afternoon.

Rangers 5, Athletics 4: Josh Hamilton came back and hit a homer. Wouldn’t it be neat if he ekes out the home run crown in the AL, denying Miguel Cabrera the MVP? Like he denied Cabrera the MVP in 2010?  No, you don’t think that would be neat Tigers fans?

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.