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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 4, Rays 3: Morning baseball on Patriots’ Day featured Andrew Benintendi hitting a go-ahead, two-run single in the second inning which put the Sox ahead for good. All three runs in that inning were unearned thanks to a Brad Miller error. In his defense, ballplayers usually either play night games on Monday or have the day off, so he’s probably usually still asleep at the time the error occurred. You try fielding something at 4 AM. Ain’t easy.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1: The Cards snap a three-game losing streak thanks to seven shutout innings from Lance Lynn. St. Louis still has the worst record in the NL, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Yankees 7, White Sox 4: Eight straight for the Bombers, powered by a three-run homer from Matt Holliday and a homer and three RBI from Aaron Judge. Rookie Jordan Montgomery took a shutout into the seventh. There’s somethin’ special happening in the Bronx right now. Special April things are never guaranteed to last even into May, let alone October, but this hot start has got to have Yankees fans pretty stoked.

Braves 5, Padres 4: Two homers and a double from the red hot Freedie Freeman and a walkoff RBI single from Dansby Swanson, breaking a 4-4 tie with two outs. The Braves finished their first series in their new ballpark with a four-game sweep. It was only the Padres, but Ws are Ws. Overall the Braves have won five in a row. Which comes after losing five in a row. Which means, like, the last 11-12 days never happened, right? Baseball with zero velocity?

Brewers 6, Cubs 3Eric Thames brought his big bat from Korea. The newest Brewer homered again, making that five games in row with a dinger. Ryan Braun and Jett Bandy also homered, giving the Brewers their sixth win in seven games. If Jett Bandy was named after James Dean’s character in “Giant,” I am going to track down his parents and buy them a steak dinner because that’s all kinds of cool. The Cubs fall to 6-7 overall.

Indians 3, Twins 1: Michael Brantley homered and drove in two. Having him back this year is so big for Cleveland. Danny Salazar allowed one run over six innings and struck out seven. Having him back to full strength after he was barely available for the playoffs last year is big too.

Astros 3, Angels 0: Charlie Morton tossed five shutout innings and three relievers took the five-hitter rest of the way home. Jose Altuve drove in two of the Astros’ three runs.

Rangers 7, Athletics 0: A.J. Griffin stymies his former club, allowing only one hit in six shutout innings. Nomar Mazara knocked in three. Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli each drove in two themselves.

Mariners 6, Marlins 1Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back homers in the first, and the rest was just paperwork. Ariel Miranda threw seven shutout innings. Feels like every pitcher threw six or seven shutout innings last night. All 20 starters across major league baseball. All relievers did too, even if the box score says otherwise. The government is keeping that information from you. But it’s true, every pitcher tossed six or seven shutout innings last night.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 2: It was 2-2 heading into the eighth but then Jake Lamb hit the go-ahead solo homer. That was followed up by an RBI triple from David Peralta in the ninth. On-pace stats are stupid this time of the year, but with three bombs and 12 RBI so far, Lamb is proving that last year’s 29-homer, 91-RBI season was no fluke.

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.