Brian McCann

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, White Sox 4: A pinch-hit, walkoff homer for Brian McCann in the bottom of the tenth inning. The Yankees scored four runs — none of them earned — against Chris Sale. They’ve won four in a row and refuse, Rasputin-like, to die.

Rockies 7, Marlins 4: Sure, the Rockies won this one, but the Marlins took the season series 4-3. And, as you’re no doubt aware, the winner of the Rockies-Marlins series each year takes home the 1993 Cup. It’s a large, pewter trophy with a little speaker in it that plays Haddaway’s “What is Love” if you press the button. It’s also filled with VHS tapes containing the first season of the “X-Files.” It’s pretty prestigious, actually.

Indians 3, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer tossed six shutout innings. The Indians runs came on a sac fly and a couple of singles. No inning featured more than one run scored. Yet it took three hours and fourteen minutes. I feel like this is exactly the kind of game that baseball needs to speed up as it looks at pace-of-play issues.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Evan Longoria with an RBI single in the tenth to put the Rays ahead to stay. I suppose this being an extra innings game takes it out of the pace-of-play conversation, but it’s still nuts that even a ten-inning 2-1 game can take three hours and twenty-eight minutes.

Mariners 8, Red Sox 6: The M’s sweep the Sox, sending Boston to its eighth straight defeat. Dustin Ackley was 3 for 5 with a double, a triple and three runs scored. This one was over four hours long. It featured (a) tons of men left on base; (b) two stars in Robinson Cano and David Ortiz leaving with illness and injury, respectively; and (c) with an otherwise top-flight pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma getting beat up. That’s about a 9.6 on the ugly scale. A long rain delay or an instant replay debacle would’ve pushed it to a 10.

Mets 11, Dodgers 3: A big win and a triple play? That’s a fun day at the old ballpark for the visiting team. Of course, the triple play doesn’t happen if Puig doesn’t Puig his way into out number three at hime plate. Didnt even slide or anything. But hey, they were down by five at the time. It’s not like making dumb outs on the base paths really mattered at that point. [Someone whispers in my ear]. I’m sorry, I take that back. Running into outs is way worse when you’re down by a bunch of runs. My apologies. Oh, Yasiel.

Reds 5, Braves 3: Not as close as the score would suggest, as Alfredo Simon held the Braves in check all day before the bullpen let a couple of runs across. It was Simon’s first win since the All-Star break. I had forgotten that he was actually an All-Star this year.

Nationals 14, Giants 6: The Nats were down 5-0 after three innings and were down 6-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Then they scored 12 unanswered runs off of Giants pitchers. Well, the runs were answered with lots of expletives and stuff — Jake Peavy was ejected for arguing balls and strikes and he didn’t even pitch in this game — but they weren’t answered with any other runs. The Nats extend their division lead to eight games.

Padres 7, Diamondbacks 4: Yasmani Grandal had a three run homer and a sac fly. Ian Kennedy beat his old mates. Well, normally we assume that former teammates are “old mates” in that friendship way, but I’m pretty sure the Dbcaks’ team handbooks requires no relationship higher then “frenemies” for former Diamondbacks players under penalty of a Miguel Montero wedgie.

Phillies 7, Cardinals 1: Jerome Williams allowed one run on five hits in eight innings. I suppose the third team of the 2014 season is the charm. Justin Masterson has a 7.43 ERA in five starts since being traded to the Cardinals at the deadline. So that’s not looking to hot I suppose.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,500. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 4, Pirates 3: Mike Fiers allows two runs on two hits in seven and helps the Brew Crew avoid the sweep. Fiers has been a revelation for the Brewers since being called on to replace Matt Garza in the rotation. He’s struck out 32 and walked just four in four starts with a 1.29 ERA since.

Cubs 2, Orioles 1: Tsuyoshi Wada didn’t allow a hit until surrendering a Steve Pearce homer with one out in the seventh. And that was the only offense Baltimore would get.

Tigers 13, Twins 4: Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter each drove in four in this rout. Seventy-three runs were scored in this four-game series. The Twins outscored the Tigers 42 to 31 yet the series was a split.

Rangers 3, Royals 1: The Rangers avoid the sweep. Scott Baker got his first win as a starter in more than three years. It was around 100 degrees for this game. Kind of sticks out for those of us in the Midwest and/or east coast, where’s it’s been a pretty cool and went summer. My brain really hasn’t gotten into “crap, summer heat sucks” mode all season. And my kids start school today, so it’s not going to feel mentally like summer much more either. Weird year.

Angels 9, Athletics 4: Josh Hamilton homered and drove in three, Mike Trout hit a homer and the Angels salvaged one in Oakland. Still, they leave on top of the division. To be continued next weekend.

Nationals acquire Derek Norris from Padres

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres prepares to bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of a MLB game at Chase Field on October 1, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
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According to an official team announcement, the Nationals have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Pedro Avila.

Norris, 27, batted a career-low .186/.225/.328 in 458 PA with the Padres in 2016. He hit career highs with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases, but his dismal production rate through the second half of the season spelled the end of his time in a starting role in San Diego. Norris’ departure from the Padres also confirms 24-year-old Austin Hedges‘ spot on the roster, as reported by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell:

Heading to San Diego is 19-year-old right-handed starter Pedro Avila, who was acquired by the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. The 19-year-old spent his first season in Single-A Hagerstown and went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 2.42 K/BB rate in 93 innings.

Breaking Down the Today’s Game Hall of Fame ballot: Bud Selig

Bud Selig
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On Monday, December 5, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame — the replacement for the Veterans Committee which covers the years 1988-2016 — will vote on candidates for the 2017 induction class. This week we are looking at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness. The final candidate: Bud Selig. 

The case for his induction:

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, in January 2015, as Bud Selig was stepping down after 20+ years as baseball’s commissioner, I wrote a column claiming that he was “The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History.” I stand by that assessment.

Which is not to say that he was perfect or that he was, in an absolute sense, good. He was simply better than all of the other commissioners, most of whom weren’t worth a tinker’s damn.

More important to that analysis than his historical comps, however, was that when people talk about how good or bad a commissioner was, they’re usually judging him by their own, subjective terms, not the terms of the commissioner’s employment. Contrary to popular belief, the commissioner is not a president, governor or mayor of baseball. He is not elected by nor answerable to the fans or the public. He may play up all of the trappings of political leadership because it makes him seem important and noble and serves to justify the power he wields, but in reality the commissioner of baseball is merely the Chairman of the Board for Baseball, Inc., answerable to anywhere between 16 and 30 owners depending on what time in baseball history he happend to serve.

People hate being reminded of that. They want to say Bud Selig was a failure because he did things they did not like, but that’s beside the point. He did things his employers liked and did them better than most others who preceded him. In the process he made a lot of people very rich, including all of the other owners, broadcast executives, players, agents and just about anyone else who holds a stake in baseball. His transgressions — discussed below — were real, but they were not considered deal breakers for anyone to whom Selig actually owed a duty. He may have betrayed you or me and he may have done things that harmed our love of baseball, but it was never his job to make us happy. Sorry I had to tell you that so bluntly, but it’s better you heard it from a friend.

So, the case for Bud: he did his job the way he was supposed to and he grew the game and made his employers rich. That’s not an inspiring case, but it’s the case we have.

The case against his induction:

Personally, I don’t think any commissioner should be in the Hall of Fame, but as we noted with the other executives, that ship has sailed. Bowie Kuhn is in the Hall of Fame for Pete’s sake and he bungled just about everything that came his way. Hall of Fame induction for a commissioner is a gold watch. A lifetime achievement award.

It may also be worth noting that he’s on the Hall of Fame board for crying out loud, so he has a blatant conflict of interest here, what with having been part of selecting or approving the very people who will vote for him on Monday. Based on what we’re seeing in other arenas, however, I suppose we’re over things like conflicts of interest in late 2016 America, so that gets us nowhere.

Still, let’s not pretend that Bud Selig was not an accomplice and, according to many, a ringleader of a literal criminal conspiracy that harmed people’s livelihoods and, in turn, compromised the product on the field. Let us not pretend he did not launch a disastrous, cynical and greed-inspired labor war that cost us the 1994 season and World Series. Let us not pretend that he did not turn the ownership ranks into a secret society open only to those who know the secret knock, rewarding those inside the club, however incompetent, and destroying entire franchises. Let us not pretend that he did not willfully turn a blind eye to steroid and performance enhancing drug use in the game, knowing that the resulting dingers helped boost fan interest and revenue, only to then turn around and vilify and scapegoat the players who used those drugs in a comically grandstanding and self-serving manner.

Should all of that be held against him? Absolutely. Will they be? I seriously, seriously doubt it.

Would I vote for him?

We hear from BBWAA voters so very often that to withhold a Hall of Fame vote from someone is not a “punishment” as much as it is a mere denial of the highest honor. We hear that withholding a vote does not deny a player’s greatness, just a place in the Hall. If that’s the case I see no problem withholding a vote from Selig, even if he was the greatest commissioner. Yes, he was great, but he also did a lot of stuff which brought ignominy to the game and which actively harmed people. Many, many players have been effectively barred from entering the Hall of Fame for far lesser transgressions. Bud Selig is not, in my view, worthy of baseball’s highest honor.

Will the Committee vote for him?

It’s a mortal lock. Baseball loves nothing more than patting Bud Selig on the back. He made everyone involved with it quite wealthy. I’d place the odds of him making it in on Monday’s vote at 100%.