And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Braves 2, Mets 1: A three-hour and fifty-two minute rain delay? Really? Despite that, Dillon Gee shut the Braves out through eight and a third and drove in the Mets’ only run. And despite that he gave up a walkoff two-run homer to Freddie Freeman just before 1:30 AM. Now they play a day-night doubleheader. Expect many yawns.

Tigers 5, Orioles 1: Max Scherzer is now 10-0 as he struck out ten Orioles in six innings of work. The biggest coming against Chris Davis with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth and home plate umpire Tim Timmons apparently trying to make a point about the randomness of nature and strike zones. Blew a couple of 96-97 m.p.h. fastballs by the AL home run leader.

Blue Jays 2, Rockies 0: Josh Johnson tossed seven and a third five-hit shutout innings fanning 10 and the Jays won their sixth straight. A week ago Monday they were at their nadir, 12 games back in the AL East. They’re not close now — 8.5 back — but that’s a decent gain in a short amount of time. Worth watching.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 4: Yadier Molina had two hits including a two-run double to raise his average to .355, which is nutso. Shelby Miller threw five shutout innings and then left with leg cramps. Bananas, Shelby. Eat more bananas. Trust me on this one.

Royals 2, Indians 1: The Royals get to .500 and move into second place, taking their 11th win in 13 games. Victory here came when the go-ahead run scored from third base on a wild pitch by reliever Matt Albers in the ninth.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: Jonathan Papelbon vultures a win, blowing his first save of the season but giving up a two-out, two-strike homer to Chad Tracy, then but notching the win when Domonic Brown hit a two-out walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth. Off Fernando Abad, because one cannot use a closer in a tie game on the road, even if one is Davey Johnson, apparently.

Reds 4, Pirates 1: Homers from Zach Cozart, Todd Frazier, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Bruce has three homers in his last five games. The Reds stay a game and a half ahead of Pittsburgh for second place. They are off to their best start in 18 years.

Rangers 8, Athletics 7: Texas breaks its six-game hitting streak behind two Nelson Cruz homers and five and a third one-run innings from the bullpen following Nick Tepesch’s poor start. The AP gamer frames this as the Rangers responding to Ron Washington’s pep talk during a closed-door meeting on Sunday. If closed-door meetings worked that way managers would have them every day, yes?

Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 2: Giancarlo Stanton vs. Paul Goldschmidt. Each accounted for all of his team’s runs. Goldschmidt’s came on a solo homer and an RBI singleStanton’s, however, game on two homers which drove in three. Stanton’s second homer was the 100th of his career. The Marlins had three hits total.

White Sox 4, Astros 2: Chicago avoids a sweep in this wraparound series. All the Sox’ runs came in the sixth, topped with a Dayan Viciedo bases-loaded triple.

Angels 11, Mariners 3: Albert Pujols and Alberto Callaspo each had four hits and Josh Hamilton had a two-run homer. They rattled off 21 hits in all, their most in four years. Just like they drew it up, huh?

Padres 5, Giants 3: Seven wins in a row for the Pads, this one coming in 13 innings, with the tie-breaking run coming on an Andrew Cashner pinch-hit bunt. The Giants thought they had this one won in the 12th when Juan Perez drove one to the warning track but Will Venable made a fantastic diving catch.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

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Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.