The American League wins the 2013 All-Star Game 3-0


source:  Another Midsummer Classic in the bag. Another scoresheet which looks like a train wreck, but that’s how the All-Star Game rolls. And the American League rolled to victory here at Citi Field, beating the National League 3 to 0.

As with most All-Star Games it was the small moments which were the most memorable. Here we had the Mets’ Matt Harvey, pitching in his home park, obviously carrying some extra adrenaline early. His velocity was high but his first couple of pitches shaky as he gave up a leadoff double to Mike Trout and then hit Robinson Cano on the right leg. Cano had to leave the game after taking first base and, thankfully, X-Rays came back negative — he has a contusion — but you don’t want to see that happen in an exhibition. Harvey calmed down after that and retired six in a row. A nice outing for the kid.

Beyond that, not many fireworks, as pitching and defense came to the fore.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth when Miguel Cabrera doubled off Patrick Corbin, advanced to third on a Chris Davis single and scored on a Jose Bautista sac fly. The American League added another run in similar fashion in the fifth, this time with an Adam Jones double off Cliff Lee, a Joe Mauer single and a J.J. Hardy fielder’s choice. Not the most exciting way to score, but it was mixed in with a fan wearing a Robinson Cano shirsey running onto the field — he telegraphed it, quite stupidly, via his Twitter feed — and that’s kinda fun. Except for the fan, of course, who was slammed to the ground.

More zeros after that with Matt Moore, Jose Fernandez, Grant Balfour and Aroldis Chapman putting up zeroes through the the bottom of the fifth, all through the sixth and into the seventh-inning stretch. Then in the bottom of the seventh Jim Leyland decided to get some more relievers in the game, going through Greg Holland, Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar. They combined for yet another zero, aided by a slicker than slick play by Manny Machado on a hard Paul Goldschmidt ball to third. Machado looked like Brooks Robinson.

source:  The AL added an insurance run in the eighth off of Craig Kimbrel. The sequence: a Salvador Perez single, Jhonny Peralta single and then, after Torii Hunter grounded into a double play, Jason Kipnis doubled to left scoring Perez. That set the stage for Mariano Rivera, who came in an inning earlier than expected, covering the bottom of the eighth. He entered to a nice tribute from the assembled All-Stars — they left the field empty for him as he took the mound, giving him a standing ovation — and ended it by retiring the National League in order, throwing 16 cutters, in his final All-Star appearance.

Everyone involved was getting punchy by the top of the ninth inning, but Prince Fielder woke us up with a leadoff triple of Jason Grilli. Prince Fielder. The big man. And he moved like nobody’s business, letting out a yell as he slid head-first into the third base bag. I love to watch that guy run. He must have been tired, though, as he remained stranded on third despite a couple of infield outs that may have scored a less tired man.

Joe Nathan came on in the ninth, struck out the first two batters he faced before surrendering a double to Goldschmidt. Nathan bore down, however, and induced a pop fly by Pedro Alvarez to end the ballgame.

Chris Sale got the win, Corbin got the loss, Nathan got the save and the American League has home field advantage in the 2013 World Series. Mo Rivera was named MVP and awarded a new Corvette.

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.