Lloyd McClendon, Tony Randazzp

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 8, Tigers 1: Chris Young continues a nice stretch of pitching, putting up six shutout innings helping the M’s to the series victory against their strongest competition for the wild card. Kyle Seager drove in three.  Lloyd McClendon was ejected by umpire Tony Randazzo for the second game in a row because, in Randazzo’s words, McCleandon “took his hand and shooed away my call.” In other news, if Tony Randazzo is so easily upset, he is a big friggin’ baby who probably doesn’t have any business umpiring at the major league level.

Brewers 7, Dodgers 2: All the smart kids have been assuming the Brewers were just gonna stop playing well eventually, but they haven’t. To the point where now they’re sending messages about potential October playoff meetings with teams like the Dodgers, sweeping them in this three-game series. And still, I guarantee, sometime in the next week someone will ask me when the Brewers are going to turn into a pumpkin. Welp, maybe they’re not?

Giants 5, Phillies 2: The Phillies had their chances early against a shaky Tim Lincecum, but he never did break. And then Michael Morse just kept doing what he’s been doing lately in getting on base. Indeed, he’s reached base in nine straight plate appearances. Don’t ask him what he’s doing though. His quote after the game was about how he’s looking for pitches to hit. Hope no one gets mad at him for revealing the innermost secrets of the hitting fraternity.

Rangers 3, Angels 2: Huston Street came in to lock down a 2-1 lead in the ninth but couldn’t get the job done. He gave up four straight singles in the ninth without retiring a batter, allowing Adam Rosales to get the walkoff RBI. He was pretty efficient about it, though. Only ten pitches to lose the lead and the game. I’m sure his teammates were grateful that he didn’t drag things out and allowed everyone to get to the airport in a timely fashion.

Cardinals 7, Padres 6: Matt Carpenter homered, doubled and drove in three and while Trevor Rosenthal tried his hardest to give up the lead in the ninth, the Cards held on. Adam Wainwright got his 15th win, tying him with Johnny Cueto for the league lead.

Royals 12, Twins 6: Seven runs in the second innings — invoking ATH’s patented seven-run inning rule — and five more for good measure for the Royals. Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Josh Willingham homered, and Kansas City has now won 20 of 25. And their lead in the Central is now a game and a half.

Marlins 10, Diamondbacks 3: Giancarlo Stanton homered and drove in four. He has 32 homers and 88 RBI on the season. The homer total leads all of baseball. The RBI total leads the National League. He went 7 for 14 with four walks and six RBI against the Dbacks in the four game series.

White Sox 7, Blue Jays 5: The Chisox jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first thanks in part to a Conor Gillaspie grand slam. The real hero of this game, however, was the throwback uni the Sox wore. Which are always awesome:

source: Reuters

Cubs 2, Mets 1: Starlin Castro hit a tiebreaking homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning to put the Cubs ahead to stay. And of course the game story is focused on how good he’d look in a Mets uniform because that’s how it always goes with New York teams for some reason. Yes, I get that the Cubs could deal Castro given the value he has now and given the infield prospects they have coming up through the system, but rarely do you hear such open covetousness about other team’s players for the non-New York teams.

Yankees 4, Rays 2: Hiroki Kuroda gave up two runs and four hits in six and two-thirds and Brett Gardner drove in two. The Yankees are three back in the loss-column from the second wild card. I keep figuring they’ll slide out of it, but they sort of keep hanging around. I figure we’ll start to see a lot of “Derek Jeter has willed a flawed team to stay in contention” stories soon. Can’t wait.

Astros 8, Red Sox 1: Jose Altuve hit a grand slam. He got the chance to do it because Xander Bogaerts fired the ball to first base early — before stepping on the second base bag — on what should have been a double play. Instead he only got the force out at first, leaving two men on with two outs. A walk later and Altuve went yard. After that the game was never close again. Oops.

Orioles 4, Indians 1: The O’s avoid being swept for the first time since May. Kevin Gausman allowed one run over six. Despite the bad overall weekend the O’s still sport a seven-game lead in the East.

Nationals 6, Pirates 5: Both closers — Rafael Soriano and Mark Melancon — blew leads in the ninth. Then pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the 11th to give the Nats the sweep. the Pirates have lost five straight. Pittsburgh is falling out of the NL Central race. And if they’re not careful, they’re going to fall out of the wild card race too.

Braves 4, Athletics 3: Just when I’m about to declare the Braves dead and start to transition into the acceptance stage of grieving this season they do something like sweep the best team in baseball, capped by defeating Jon Lester. That keeps the A’s — who have lost five straight — in a tie with the Angels. And keeps the Braves within a game and a half of the wild card. Not going to declare Atlanta alive or anything, but I suppose that’s not dead.

Rockies 10, Reds 9; Reds vs. Rockies: Colorado rallied for five runs in the ninth of game one, overcoming a 9-5 deficit with a three-run homer from former Red Drew Stubbs. Four of those runs came off of Aroldis Chapman, who didn’t record an out, walking all four batters he faced. Which, holy crap, that never happens. Three hits overall for Stubbs. The nightcap: Michael Cuddyer hits for the cycle as the Rockiesput up another 10-spot. In other news, Michael Cuddyer is still alive and playing.

Bryce Harper reportedly wants a $400 million extension

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a single in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Nationals are “balking at Bryce Harper’s demands in early talks about a long-term contract extension” and are thus prepared to let him walk when he becomes a free agent following the 2018 season.

What would make the Nationals balk? According to Nightengale’s source it’s a deal that “will exceed 10 years in length and likely pay him in excess of $400 million.”

That might seem crazy given historical norms and given that Harper is coming off a disappointing season, but if Harper returns to anything close to his 2015 form in which he won National League MVP honors while hitting .330/.460/.649 and hit 42 home runs, $400 million is going to seem quite reasonable. That sort of production was not some crazy fluke for a guy with Harper’s talent, after all. And he’ll be 26-years-old when he hits free agency, which is far, far younger than your typical free agent. Indeed, he’ll be entering what have, historically, been the prime years of most superstars’ careers.

The closest comp to star hitting free agency at that age was Alex Rodriguez, who was 25 when he signed his first $250 million deal following the 2000 season. Top big league deals going from $250 million to $400 million in the space of two decades is not really all that crazy when you think about it. Especially when you realize that, between 2001 and 2018, baseball revenues will have increased by a factor of three, assuming current growth holds.

UPDATE: My first thought after reading all of this was “I wonder if the Nats leaked the $400 million thing, whether it was an actual demand or not, in order to turn the PR in their favor if they deal Harper?” Question answered:

At least one quarter of the Today’s Committee owed Bud Selig a solid

Bud Selig
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OXON HILL, MD — The 16-member committee that voted Bud Selig and John Schuerholz into the Hall of Fame — the “Today’s Game” Committee — consisted of the following members: Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Bobby Cox, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Pat Gillick, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton, and Frank Thomas, major league owners/executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Phillies) and Kevin Towers (Reds); and media members/historians Bill Center, Steve Hirdt and Tim Kurkjian.

That’s certainly a venerable list of names. A quarter of that electorate, however, could be characterized as having a pretty notable conflict of interest when it comes to Bud Selig. At least if anyone cared about things like conflict of interest when it comes to baseball.

Whatever the case, two of those 16 guys became owners — and even more wealthier as a result — due to his affirmatively choosing or approving them to join sports’ most exclusive club. Two others were personally chosen by Selig to assist him over the years, raising their profile and importance in the game and giving them resume pieces that will one day be part of their own Hall of Fame cases.

  • Royals owner David Glass: Became the Royals CEO and Chairman in 1993, right after Selig became the acting commissioner. Glass was a key ally for Selig’s efforts to impose a salary cap and take a financial hard line in negotiations with the union, which eventually led to the 1994-95 strike. In 1999-2000 he became the full owner of the Royals after Selig personally stepped in to stop a bid for the club by a competing ownership group and is thus widely refereed to as Selig’s handpicked man. Glass is on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, on which Selig served for decades.
  • Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr.: Bought his club in 1995, after Selig had taken over and thus would not be a baseball owner without Selig’s approval. DeWitt was a point man for Selig on a host of his pet projects, including the Wild Card and interleague play. He likewise led the charge for revenue sharing and other potentially divisive financial matters which tended to be in the interest of smaller market clubs, the sort of which Selig himself championed when he was a mere owner. DeWitt chaired the committee to find Selig’s successor, which eventually served to validate Selig’s desire to have his hand-picked choice, Rob Manfred, succeed him.
  • Phillies President Andy MacPhail: Selig’s handpicked choice for the labor negotiating committee in 2002 which, at the time, continued speculation that MacPhail would one day be on the short list to succeed Selig. A few years before that MacPhail was public in saying that Selig would be the right choice to become permanent commissioner at a time when many were concerned that a team owner assuming that role was a conflict of interest.
  • Former President of the Blue Jays, Paul Beeston: In the late 90s, Beeston resigned as president of the Toronto Blue Jays following a successful reign to accepted baseball’s newly created position of president and chief operating officer. The move was widely seen as a means of giving Selig a top lieutenant — a defacto deputy commissioner — which would help him smooth his transition from acting commissioner to permanent commissioner. Many thought at the time that if Beeston was not hired for that gig, Selig may have declined the full-time commissioner’s role. Selig was described in the press at the time as a strong admirer of Beeston’s. In 2014, Beeston reflected glowingly on Selig’s legacy, saying, “I absolutely admire him on this steroid thing.” Beeston is on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, on which Selig served.

Is there anything necessarily wrong with that? No. Baseball is a small world and Bud Selig existed in it for a long, long time, so having a relationship with Selig was pretty unavoidable for almost anyone with any sort of profile in the game. No technical rule or historical baseball norm was violated by virtue of this vote or the composition of the committee itself. Indeed, the old Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame was widely seen as a group of good old boys voting their old friends. Worth noting, perhaps, that that iteration of the Veterans Committee was abolished precisely for that reason, but I suppose we’ll leave that go for now.

I wonder, however, what the vote totals would have been for some of the other candidates if 25% of their electorate consisted of people who owed personal and professional debts to them the way Selig’s electorate owed him. Maybe Barry Bonds’ agent could get a Hall of Fame vote? Roger Clemens’ mechanic? Mark McGwire’s interior designer?

I suppose we’ll never know.