Getty Images

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

32 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 3, Rockies 2: Kelby Tomlinson, which is somehow not the name of an SEC quarterback, hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the ninth to lift San Francisco. “Just hoping to get a pitch that I could handle and get it in play there,” Tomlinson said after the game, showing that his promotion from Sacramento last week was due to his finally mastering his cliches.

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 6: Two outs in the ninth. Bases loaded. The Yankees clinging to a one-run lead in a wild, back and forth game. Justin Smoak drives one to deep left field! It’s to the wall! It’s . . .

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-6-32-30-am

Hey, nice grab Brett Gardner. Let’s watch that one:

The Jays have lost four of five and are now tied with Boston atop the AL East. The Yankees, while still four and a half back in the East and three and a half back in the Wild Card, are seven games over .500.

Nationals 9, Braves 7: Braves rookie Dansby Swanson hit his first big league homer — an inside the park job — but you gotta pitch too and the Braves didn’t do enough of that. No one did, really, as these two teams combined to use 14 pitchers in this three hour thirty eight minute game. It was tied at six until the eighth inning when Nats scored three. They also had a five run third inning.

Cardinals 9, Pirates 7: Also a 9-7 game but this one took exactly two minutes less time, maybe because only 12 pitchers were used instead of 14. This one ended with the Cards knocking the Pirates over the head with a sledgehammer, man, hitting three homers in the top of the ninth, turning a one-run deficit into a three-run lead. Matt Carpenter was one of the homer hitters. His was of the pinch hit variety. It was St. Louis’ 15th pinch hit homer this season, which is a major league record. Pittsburgh has now lost eight straight.

Astros 4, Indians 3: Marwin Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off of Corey Kluber, who had been pitching lights out for the last two months. Gonzalez hit two doubles as well. The Astros have won 13 of their last 17.

Mets 5, Reds 3: The Mets hit four homers, including a two-run shot for Yoenis Cespedes in the seventh which gave the Mets the lead. Cespedes also nailed Brandon Phillips with a great throw from the left field wall to end the eighth inning:

Royals 10, Twins 3: Brian Dozier homered again — he has 39 on the year now and has homered in five straight games — but Kendrys Morales hit two homers and drove in five. Things were tied heading into the ninth but the Royals scored seven that frame on four RBI singles and a Morales three-run shot. Sal Perez had to leave the game in the sixth after being hit by a pitch in the wrist.

Phillies 4, Marlins 3: Giancarlo Stanton was activated and had a pinch hit but the Marlins are still free falling, losing their tenth in the last eleven games. Tommy Joseph and Freddy Galvis each drove in two runs for the Phillies. Adam Morgan had been 0-9 with a 6.72 ERA in his last 15 appearances but the Marlins made him look like pretty darn good.

Orioles 11, Rays 2: Manny Machado hit a grand slam in the O’s six-run fourth inning. He added an RBI single in the eighth. Chris Davis and Adam Jones homered too, as the O’s pull to within one of Boston and Toronto and add a game lead to their position as the second Wild Card team because . . .

White Sox 2, Tigers 0: . . . Detroit couldn’t do anything against Miguel Gonzalez and three White Sox relievers. Jose Abreu homered. He was hitting just .242/.304/.382 through the end of May. Since then he’s put up insane numbers to bring his overall line to a pretty nice .294/.347/.480 with 23 homers and 87 RBI.

Brewers 12, Cubs 5: The Cubs have been on fire of late (with “of late” being defined as “the entire 2016 season, save a week or two when people pretended that something was wrong with them”) but a five-run first inning from Milwaukee cooled them off a bit. Jason Hammel didn’t fool anyone in that first inning, as Jonathan Villar homered to lead things off, Ryan Braun had an RBI single, Domingo Santana singled in two and Martin Maldonado added a sacrifice fly. After that it was all bratwurst and High Life.

Athletics 3, Angels 2: The A’s were down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth when Ryon Healey hit an RBI single and Joey Wendle drove two in with a single of his own. Your job today: poll ten baseball fans you know and ask them if they know what team Ryon Healy and Joey Wendle play for. God, I love September.

Rangers 10, Mariners 7: Elvis Andrus homered and hit three doubles, driving in a couple. He also had two errors in a game that, based on the box score anyway, looked like a sloppy mess. Texas has won eight of ten.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 2: Shelby Miller continues to be lost in the desert, allowing five runs — four earned — on 11 hits in four and a third innings. Ross Stripling wasn’t all that sharp, but he hit an RBI single in the second which have the Dodgers a lead they’d never relinquish and the bullpen was strong for L.A. The Dodgers remain four games ahead of the Giants, which is their biggest lead of the year.

Red Sox 5, Padres 1: Clay Buchholz, making his first start in a couple of weeks, allowed one run while pitching into the seventh inning as Jackie Bradley Jr., and Chris Young homered. The Sox are now tied for first with Toronto in the East.

Derek Jeter: no longer the media’s darling

Getty Images
11 Comments

There was a time, not too long ago, where the baseball press practically gave Derek Jeter awards for providing them no information whatsoever. As a player, he turned not answering questions into an art form. To the point where, eventually, the press just stopped asking him substantive questions almost entirely.

Unlike a lot of players who shut out the media, Jeter did it rather politely, so he did not get that passive aggressive treatment — or, occasionally, the aggressive-aggressive treatment — the press often gives uncommunicative players. To the contrary. He was positively lauded for his lack of communication. Lionized, even.

Take this column from Jeff Peralman at CNN.com from 2014, under the headline “Derek Jeter: Baseball’s Humble Hero”:

Throughout the first 18 seasons of his career, Jeter has often been labeled “dull” by the media. His answers to questions are unimaginative and full of cliché baseball nothingness blather. In hindsight, however, such lameness is almost to be admired. We live in an era where too many athletes feel as if they need to draw attention to themselves — for confidence, for commercials. If you’re not tweeting trash talk, you’re texting trash talk. Or making bold promises. Or demanding money or respect . . . he’s a guy who merely wanted to be a guy.

How about this from the New York Times around the time of his retirement:

Jeter’s ability to maintain a posture of sustained inscrutability — or, if you must, dignified comportment — has extended especially to the spoken word . . . he has played his best defense in front of his locker: catching every controversial question thrown to him and tossing it aside as if it were a scuffed ball unsuitable for play.

In a major league career that dates to the Clinton administration’s first term — he is the only Yankees shortstop a generation of fans has known — inquiring reporters have gathered around Jeter in the clubhouse thousands of times. He has maintained eye contact, answered nearly every question posed to him — and said nothing. This is not a complaint, but rather an expression of awe; of admiration, even. His batting average and fielding percentage aside, this kid from Kalamazoo, Mich., entered the New York meat grinder two decades ago and came out the other end looking as sharp as Joe DiMaggio’s suit.

This opinion of Jeter was pervasive throughout his career, but especially pronounced at its end of it. Jeter was deified by the press for saying nothing to the press. Praised for making the media’s job harder by the media itself. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

Times, however, have changed.

Some minor grumbling about Jeter’s non-answers to media questions began soon after he took over as Marlins co-owner. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote a column about it all back in October, saying Jeter’s “Crash Davis Rules of Media Relations don’t apply anymore.” Not too many people echoed that at the time, probably because it came in the wake of a pretty boring introductory press conference and the stakes were pretty low. I did wonder at the time, though, if the media was waiting to turn on Jeter once he actually started making moves in his new role.

I think we can now say the answer to that is yes.

In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, a lot of baseball writers had a lot of questions for Derek Jeter. Jeter, however, decided that he didn’t even need to show up here at the Winter Meetings to answer them, despite the fact that he lives just a couple of hours away.

On Monday morning Buster Olney of ESPN made conspicuous note of it:

Later in the day Jeter deigned to talk to the media via a conference call. As usual, he said mostly nothing, but unlike 1997, 2007 or 2014 (a) he got testy about it; and (b) the press made a note of it:

They likewise noted when he passed the buck to someone below him on the org chart:

Last night I think a dam broke, and I don’t think Jeter will ever be able to sweet non-talk his way out criticism again. It all happened at a football game:

To sum up:

  • Jeter is now bad for not talking to the press;
  • Jeter is not lauded for his composure anymore; and
  • Jeter is being called out as a poor leader who does not face the music.

What a difference a few years and a change of role makes.

All of which, one would think, would make me at least a little happy. I mean, I’ll totally own up to rolling my eyes at the kid glove treatment Jeter got back when he played. About how his attributes, however great, were elevated even above their actual greatness and how his faults were, perversely, spun into attributes. You’d expect that, in light of that, I’d be sorta pleased that the tables have turned.

I’m not happy, though. Indeed, I have something approaching sympathy for Captian Jeets.

Why? Because, while I’d like to see him face the press, defend his moves as owner and explain his vision to Marlins fans everywhere, I know that he cannot. I know that he has no good answers to any of the questions he might be asked because the real answer to all of them is “hey, we need to make money for the ownership group and everything flows from that” and that’s not an answer he’s prepared to give.

Have some sympathy for Derek Jeter. He’s really in a tough, tough spot. Even if he put himself into it.