And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights


Giants 2, Phillies 1: A few days ago Jonathan Papelbon watched his team lose another game and said “I definitely didn’t come here for this.” Well, they didn’t show up at the ballpark yesterday expecting Papelbon to give up four singles and blow the lead. Again. Cole Hamels’ eight shutout innings were for naught and the Phillies continue to sink.

Rangers 7, Diamondbacks 1: Yu Darvish was not messing around. He struck out 14 in seven innings — and 10 of the first 13 batters he faced — while shutting out the snakes and allowing only five hits. He has 10 games of double digit strikeouts this season.

Cardinals 13, Pirates 0: Well, I suppose five-game sweeps are hard to come by. The Cardinals scored a baker’s dozen without the aid of a homer. Just a big conga line around the base paths, chasing Charlie Morton and pounding Jeanmar Gomez. Pittsburgh still has the division lead, but the Cards head on to Cincy with at least a bit of pride restored.

Orioles 6, Astros 3: Bud Norris just got traded away from Houston on Wednesday and here he is beating them on Thursday. What a fine how-do-you-do. Chris Davis homered again. “Glad to see he’s back on the ‘roids after a few days off,” said half of the Internet.

Marlins 3, Mets 0: Tom Koehler is not as famous as Matt Harvey but he was better than him on this day. Six shutout innings for the Marlins’ starter. All three of the Marlins runs came in the sixth off a clearly tiring Harvey. Miami has taken 10 of 15 from New York this season.

Indians 6, White Sox 1: Two homers for Ryan Raburn and a continuation of the Tribe’s surge. I called them as a surprise wild card contender before the season began. I had no idea that they’d hang this close to the Tigers into August. After the Marlins this weekend they get four against the Tigers at home. This is gonna be good.

Royals 7, Twins 2: The Royals are just as hot as the Indians, if not hotter. But they’re not gaining ground given how good both Cleveland and Detroit are doing. Still, this is giving hope to Royals fans. Royals fans have had hope before. For the past 25 years or so it’s always been dashed. But I suppose it’s better than nothing. Well, at least if you’re not a big Shawshank fan, then you may disagree.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 7: Whoa. Just your everyday six-run bottom of the ninth to give the home team the win when they started the frame down 7-2. Tom Wilhelmsen and Oliver Perez provided the kerosene and match, respectively. They had better sleep with one eye open for the next few nights as Felix Hernandez — whose one-run in seven innings performance was wasted — would probably like to kill everyone in Seattle’s bullpen these days.

Braves 11, Rockies 2: Well, Atlanta didn’t put up a six-spot in any inning for the first time this series, but they still beat the tar out of the Rockies. Really, this may have  been the biggest beatdown in any series by any team in the majors this year. Colorado was outscored 40-13 in the four-game set. Two homers for Justin Upton. Eleven strikeouts for Julio Teheran.

Dodgers 6, Cubs 4: Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo each homered twice for the Cubs, but they only had five hits in all and that’s just not enough. Yasiel Puig hit a two-run shot in the ninth. The Dodgers had to be tired as they didn’t get to their hotel in Chicago until 7:30 yesterday morning, but I guess beating the Cubs doesn’t require full energy these days.

Angels 8, Blue Jays 2: Bet a lot of people thought this would be an ALCS matchup. Oh well. The Angels had a four-run first inning, fueled by a Mark Trumbo homer. J.B. Shuck drove in three. On the bright side for Toronto, the loser of this series gets The 2013 Under Achiever Award, so they’re in the lead now. Wondering what that award looks like. Maybe a trophy with a little Christian Slater figurine on top?

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.