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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 3, Dodgers 2: The Cubs raise the World Series banner and get their rings (UPDATE: oops, they get their rings later this week) and all of that. Anthony Rizzo led the ceremonies, being the first player to begin hoisting the flag and being the one selected to carry the World Series trophy onto the field. He then carried the Cubs off the field in victory by hitting a game-winning single to break a 2-2 tie in the ninth and walk the champs off in victory. This game featured a rain delay at the outset, opening ceremonies and then the clubs cycled through 12 pitchers. Long night at Wrigley, but a happy one for the hometown nine and hometown crowd.

Nationals 14, Cardinals 6: Bryce Harper hit four singles and reached base six times thanks to two walks. Drove in three. Adam Eaton had three RBI himself, singling in two and hitting a sac fly. Adam Wainwright was tattooed for six runs, five earned, on eleven hits in four innings. He wasn’t the only Cards pitcher to be hating life yesterday, however, as the Nats formed a conga line on the basepaths in the eight too, plating seven runners against two relievers. In all, Washington rapped out 19 hits and walked six times to get those 14 runs. It was almost enough to get Cards fans to switch over to the Cubs ring ceremony.

Yankees 8, Rays 1: Michael Pineda was perfect through six and two-thirds — thanks, Martha! — but given how many runs the Yankees scored off of Alex Cobb and Austin Pruitt he didn’t have to be. Pineda ended up pitching seven and two-thirds, striking out 11 and allowing one run on two hits.

Reds 7, Pirates 1: While it’s certainly impressive that Pineda was perfect through six and two-thirds, it’s worth noting that the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen was perfect for seven. Michael Lorenzen (3IP), who got out of a jam Reds starter Brandon Finnegan got into in the third, settled things down and then he, Cody Reed (3IP) and Wandy Peralta (1IP) shut down the Pirates for the rest of the night. Given how terrible the Reds’ pen was in 2016, I feel like they should be allowed to hoist some sort of banner like the Cubs did last night.

Tigers 2, Red Sox 1: A matchup of Cy Young contenders did not disappoint, with Justin Verlander and Chris Sale each putting forth strong performances. Verlander was a bit stronger on the day, however, allowing one run, unearned, over seven innings while Sale allowed two runs, striking out ten, while pitching seven and two-thirds. Sale took the loss, having given up an Ian Kinsler homer in the sixth and than a Nick Castellanos RBI single in the eighth. The Tigers took three of four from the flu-depleted Red Sox.

Athletics 2, Royals 0: A two-run homer from Khris Davis in the fourth was all the scoring in this one, as Jharel Cotton rebounded from his poor first start of the season to toss seven shutout innings and beat Ian Kennedy.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1: Matt Moore impressed over eight innings, allowing one run on three hits. He also figured in a weird scoring play, hitting into a fielder’s choice on a swinging bunt in the fourth that resulted in three runs being scored thanks to the Dbacks throwing the ball away twice:

Mariners 6, Astros 0: James Paxton added another strong outing on a day filled with them, shutting Houston out for seven innings in the M’s home opener. This is the second straight time Paxton has shut Houston down, in fact, as his first start of the year, five days prior, featured him blanking the Astros for six innings. What if they made the whole schedule out of Astros games?

Mets 4, Phillies 3: Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos have a history as Cabrera hit a walkoff three-run homer off of Ramos late last season and celebrated it by tossing his bat and throwing his arms in the air. Which, to be fair, was justified as the Mets were in a desperate fight for the Wild Card, making that win a huge one. Ramos had apparently been seething about it, because last night when he faced Cabrera with one out in the top of the eighth, he sent one in high and tight. Cabrera took a couple of steps in but nothing happened other than warnings being issued and Phillies manager Pete Mackanin getting tossed. Ramos ended up walking Cabrera and Jay Bruce ended up launching a two-run homer — his second homer of the game — to give the Mets their winning margin.

Padres 5, Rockies 3: Wil Myers singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, hit a solo home run in the sixth, and hit a triple in the eighth. That’s a cycle, folks. Myers is now the second player in Padres history to hit for the cycle. The other was Matt Kemp on August 14, 2015 against the Rockies, also at Coors Field.

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

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Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.