St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 6, Brewers 5: Jake Westbrook with career win 100. And get this: dude allowed only one run in six innings and his ERA increased. Which, yes, will happen when you come in at 0.98. It’s now an unsightly 1.10. He talked after the game how 100 was a goal for him. And while, no, it isn’t 300, it represented him being a grinder and sticking around and stuff. I think there’s all kinds of underrated glory in that. 300 game winners are spectacular, but they’re on that far right side of the bell curve with which most folks don’t have a frame of reference. 100 game winners have been around the block and seen a good deal of bad to go with the good and all of that.

Orioles 5, Angels 1: Chris Tillman with eight shutout innings. He’s from Orange County, so maybe it was the home cooking. Unless maybe his mom can’t cook and it was really just like, “hey, awesome, we get to eat at Del Taco!” or something.

Tigers 7, Astros 3: Fourteen innings in Houston, decided when Houston intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to get to Don Kelly. Kelly was up to the challenge and singled in the go-ahead run. Matt Tuiasosopo then doubled in two more followed by a Jhonny Peralta sac fly. Get this: seven shutout innings from the Tiger bullpen. You don’t expect that very often.

Nationals 3, Braves 1: Washington earns the split behind a nice outing from Dan Haren, who was really in need of a nice outing. It was the first time he’d gone past the sixth inning this season. First time he reached the eighth in nearly a year.

White Sox 3, Rangers 1: You know what the real tragedy about all this is? Hector Santiago was not even supposed to be here today! But he was and pitched well (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6K). Then he closed the store to play hockey, went to a wake and tried to win back his ex-girlfriend without even discussing how he felt about his present one.

Phillies 7, Marlins 2: Kyle Kendrick: Phillies ace. He picks up his third win after allowing only two runs over seven innings. Domonic Brown was 3 for 4 with a homer. Ryan Howard had a solo shot. Juan Pierre notched his 600th career steal.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays waked a lot of Red Sox. How many times did they walk the Red Sox?

Haha, no, actually it was ten. And David Ortiz even took the day off. Man.

Padres 4, Cubs 2:  Travis Wood deserved better, but bad defense and bad bullpen work did him in.

Rays vs. Royals: POSTPONED: Last time I was here, it was rainin, doesn’t rain here anymore. The streets were drowned, and the water’s waining, all the runes washed to shore. Now I’m here lookin’ through the rubble, tryin’ to find out who we were. Last time I was here, it was rainin, ain’t rainin’ anymore.

Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in three years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.

Hall of Fame voters are making news, not exercising democratic rights

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Associated Press
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Last month the Baseball Writers Association of America voted to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with next year’s vote for the 2018 induction class. In the past 24 hours or so, as this year’s Hall of Fame voting period comes to a close, a lot of folks have been talking about that. Most notably in Jayson Stark’s piece over at ESPN regarding next year’s brave new public world.

Stark is pro-transparency on the ballots, as are the vast majority of BBWAA members who voted on the public ballot measure (it passed 80-9). Not everyone Stark quotes in his article is on board with it, though:

“I’ve already seen a lot of people change their votes from one year to the next,” said one of the strongest dissenters to this decision, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “People have changed their votes based on public opinion.”

Two other sources in the story, Scott Miller of Bleacher Report and a voter who asked to remain anonymous equated their Hall of Fame vote with democracy and invoked the sanctity of the secret ballot. “The No. 1 reason I was against this rule is that in this country, it’s a democracy, and everyone has a vote on different things. And I hate to see a blanket rule that forces everyone to go in one direction,” Miller said. Here’s what the anonymous guy said:

“To me, a secret ballot is a fundamental of democracy. You should be able to vote your conscience without having to explain your vote. But once it’s public, you’re open to public pressure. And that’s not what we want in a democracy. We’re not elected representatives. We’re chosen to be part of a voting group.”

This is ridiculous of course. Voting for the Hall of Fame is not exercising democratic rights. It is making news and making history. Hall of Fame voters are making decisions which will fundamentally alter baseball history and which matter greatly to a large number of baseball fans. They are not advancing their own or society’s interests at the ballot box the way citizens do on election day. Despite the fact that the form of their action here is, technically speaking, a ballot, they are making news in the same way a GM makes a news with a trade, the commissioner makes news with a rule change or a team makes news by winning a World Series.

Would any of these voters — who are credentialed members of the media, by the way, and like to style themselves as truth-seeking members of the Fourth Estate — accept silence from the people who make the news on the beat they cover? Would they be content if the newsmakers whose acts they chronicle demanded anonymity the way they themselves do now? Of course they wouldn’t. And if they got the same silent treatment they’d prefer to give, they’d write one of those petulant little columns they love about players who “duck the press” after a game.

Suck it up, journalists. Act the way you expect the newsmakers you cover to act and own your decisions. Don’t pretend for a moment that you’re not the subject of, and not the reporter of, the story when Hall of Fame season comes around.