And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Marlins 7, Mets 0: Marlins starter Jose Urena allowed one hit in six innings of work and the bullpen allowed none, leading to the first of two one-hitters on the day. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton hit two homers against Mets starter Adam Wilk, who was filling in for the suspended Matt Harvey. Wilk, by the way, was called up from Las Vegas on short notice, taking a multi-stop overnight flight on the way to New York, arriving at the ballpark straight from the airport around 8:45 a.m for the 1PM start. When the Mets implode, they do not mess around. They give 110% effort toward that implosion. Gotta tip your cap.

Blue Jays 2, Rays 1: Joe Biagini, usually a reliever, made his first start as a major leaguer. While he didn’t get the win, he allowed only an unearned run while he and four relievers combined on a three-hitter. Darwin Barney hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth.

Orioles 4, White Sox 0: The sweep. Chris Tillman made his 2017 debut, tossing five shutout innings. All the scoring here was over by the end of the second inning, with the O’s getting three RBI singles from three different dudes and a sac fly from a fourth dude.

Cardinals 6, Braves 4: Tommy Pham hit two homers, with his two-run drive in the 14th inning putting St. Louis over. A pretty good day for the Cards, even if it was overlong. Which also doubles as my review of the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie I saw yesterday. There was also way less totally unnecessary and distracting CGI in this game than in the movie.

Brewers 6, Pirates 2: Eric Thames had three hits, including a homer. It was his first homer in ten games after hitting 11 in his first 20. Still, 12 out of 30 ain’t bad. Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar also homered as Milwaukee avoids the sweep.

Red Sox 17, Twins 6: Early on this season Chris Sale didn’t get a lot of run support. This game thrown into the mix will obscure that as far as the average goes. Sandy Leon hit two two-run homers. Sale struck out ten, which is his sixth straight outing with double digit strikeouts. He does that a lot, actually. The Twins missed the extra point which forced them to score two touchdowns to take the lead, making any potential comeback all the more daunting.

Indians 1, Royals 0: Mike Clevinger tossed one-hit, shutout ball into the sixth and the bullpen finished the job, not allowing another hit the rest of the day. In other news, the Indians wore throwback jerseys. Cleveland Buckeye jerseys as a tribute to the old Negro Leagues club. Check ’em out:

They look good, eh? No Wahoo or the word “Indians” was anywhere to be found. About that . . .

Can’t argue with that. That’s just science right there.

Phillies 6, Nationals 5: Freddy Galvis hit a walkoff sac fly. Earlier Aaron Altherr hit a pitch-hit three-run homer in the eighth to tie things up and force extras. Jayson Werth hit two homers in a winning effort in a losing cause. I imagine Phillies fans still booed him because . . . well, they probably don’t even remember why they do it at this point.

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 2: Chatwood pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning, allowing only one run. Mark Reynolds and Pat Valaika homered. Dbacks vs. Rockies, by the way, is the most expansion matchup possible. It’s close between that and, say, a Rays-Marlins game and I will acknowledge that a Blue Jays-Mariners game is an underrated expansion contest, but Rockies-Dbacks is the most expansion of them all.

Astros 5, Angels 3: Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer in the Astros’ four-run third inning to give them their fifth win in six games. Houston leads the AL West by five and a half games. Yunel Escobar hit two home runs for the Angels. I didn’t see any postgame quotes, but I imagine that he like every other guy who has a good game for a team that loses said something about how not winning prevents a guy from enjoying a day like that. I wonder how many guys have days like that and say things like that and then get in their car to go home, pump up the music and feel pretty, pretty good about stuff all things considered.

Athletics 8, Tigers 6: Detroit had a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and called on Francisco Rodriguez to lock it down. He walked Rajai Davis, allowed a game-tying double, then served up the walk-off two-run home run to Ryon Healy. Which is to say that he served up a K-Rod special. Rodriguez has an 8.49 ERA and four blown saves on the year. I’d say that should cost him his job as Detroit’s closer, but any other reliever they choose will have to wear a Tigers jersey which, by definition, will make him be terrible.

Mariners 4, Rangers 3: Texas was up 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, having done nothing against Andrew Cashner. Cashner started the seventh by walking the leadoff batter, however, and got yanked. His replacement, Jose Leclerc walked three more dudes, forcing in the M’s first run. His replacement, Alex Claudio, allowed a two-run single to Danny Valencia to tie it up and the next inning Sam Dyson gave up a go-ahead homer to Kyle Seager. So, no, bullpen issues are not limited to the Tigers.

Reds 4, Giants 0: Scott Feldman tossed a four-hit complete game shutout. It was the fourth time the Giants were shut out on the year. They were outscored 31-5 while getting swept by the Reds in three games.

Yankees 5, Cubs 4: Just your standard six-hour, five-minute baseball game. Eighteen innings worth, thanks to Aroldis Chapman giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth via some singles and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. That allowed the Cubs to tie it, sending us on to our second game of the night, practically speaking. In that one the Yankees bullpen tossed nine and a third shutout innings and New York won it when Starlin Castro grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Aaron Hicks, who had reached on a bunt single and made second base when Willson Contreras threw the ball away trying to get him at first.

I’m so glad I went to bed early. I can’t imagine how the ESPN crew filled up twice as much air time as they had originally planned.

Dodgers vs. Padres — POSTPONED:

Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

I’m out of work, I’m out of my head
Out of self respect, I’m out of bread
I’m underloved, I’m underfed, I want to go home
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

Alan Trammell’s Hall of Fame election validates a child’s baseball memories

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla — My great uncle Harry was a boat salesman in Detroit. He had some Tigers front office types as clients so he got a lot of free tickets to Tigers games. and he’d use them to take my brother and me to Tiger Stadium several times a year. We were always right behind home plate.

My parents tell me that I went to my first game in Tiger Stadium on the Fourth of July, 1978. I was too young to remember a thing about that one. The first one I do remember was June 17, 1979. A few years ago I tracked down the box score for that game on Baseball-Reference.com to get all of the details, but before I knew all of the specifics I remembered the important details: it was a day game against the California Angels and Alan Trammell hit a home run. He instantly became my favorite player. I was not quite six years old.

Like any other kid who has a favorite player, I obsessed over him. I collected every one of his baseball cards. I looked for his name in every box score. When I played Little League I begged the coach to let me play shortstop even though I had no business playing shortstop (the coach did let me wear number 3 at least). I made sure that, when a Tigers game was on TV, no one turned it off until Trammell had come to bat at least once.

On one occasion I even sort of stalked him.

My grandparents lived in Detroit and rumor had it that Trammell rented a house just down the street from them during the season. Once, when we were visiting my grandmother, my brother and I walked to the house and knocked on the door. A woman in her 20s answered it. We presumed it to be his wife or girlfriend. We asked if Alan Trammell was there. She said no and shut the door on us. At the time we assumed that, darn our luck, he had already left to go to the ballpark that day. In hindsight I realized that it probably wasn’t his house, and that the woman, while taciturn to the point of being misleading, was technically telling the truth. The point here is that back then I just liked to assume that Alan Trammell lived two doors down from my grandparents. A kid will believe a lot about his hero ballplayer in order to be closer to him.

My thing for Trammell continued for a good decade or so. By the end of that decade it seemed plain to me that was the greatest shortstop in the history of baseball and anyone else who didn’t recognize that was simply irrational. With nearly 40 years of hindsight, I now know that Trammell wasn’t the greatest shortstop in baseball history. Probably. He was damn good, though.

After I moved away from Michigan and Trammell’s career began to wind down, Greg Maddux became my favorite player. It was a different thing with him — I was too old for a baseball player to be my hero, exactly — but it’s the case that I thought less about Trammell than I had in the 80s. That probably would’ve happened naturally, but there were other factors which worked to make me think of Trammell less than I did when I was younger.

It’s easy to get jaded if you spend enough time writing about baseball. I’ve never stopped loving or enjoying the game, but if you focus most of your life on it, you end up seeing so many amazing things that you forget some of the other amazing stuff you’ve seen. In my case, I’ve pushed out a lot of the stuff I enjoyed when I was a kid. I didn’t do it on purpose. It just happened. There is only so much baseball you can hold in your head at once and I have a lot of baseball in my head.

Part of me pushing Trammell out of my head was defensive, though. He first made the Hall of Fame ballot in 2002. He didn’t get even 20% of the vote until his ninth year. He never got as much as 37% of the vote. It pained me to see the Hall of Fame voters — many of whom would eventually become my friends and colleagues — fail to recognize him year after year. I get why that happened. Trammell was a bit of an odd duck for his era. After decades of being used to heavy leather, light bat shortstops, Hall of Fame voters weren’t ready for a guy at that position who could play gold glove defense, hit for both average and power and take an occasional walk. At the very least they weren’t ready to process several of them at once. Cal Ripken and Robin Yount, understandably, filled up that space in their heads while Ozzie Smith impressed upon them that the traditional shortstop archetype remained strong. There just wasn’t room for Tram their minds.

But even if his being overlooked was somewhat understandable, it was still painful. It seemed like a rebuke of my childhood memories. I’m not a sentimental guy. I don’t believe in that whole fathers-and-sons-passing-baseball-down-from-generation-to-generation thing. But I did wonder why I’d bother taking my kids to the Hall of Fame if I could not go into the plaque room and see my Hall of Fame-worthy boyhood idol. Why should I care about the Hall of Fame if, as far as it was concerned, Alan Trammell was an invisible man? Alan Trammell happened. I saw it. I saw him do all of those great things and, because of the manner in which baseball history is chronicled and remembered, he was forgotten in some important way. It pissed me off.

I never thought Trammell would make the Hall of Fame. Not for a moment. I knew a couple of years in that the BBWAA wouldn’t vote him in and I had no confidence, until the moment I heard the news of his election last night, that the Veteran’s Committee would ever give him his due. But they did.

It was a shock and a surprise. When I heard he made it I stopped what I was doing and just sat back dumbfounded. Happy. Flooded with memories of watching Trammell play when I was a kid and he was my favorite player. Happy that, after years and years of almost wondering if I was the only person alive who watched him play, my childhood memories were validated. Validated in a way that I never thought was really necessary but, now that it has happened, makes me feel better than I did before. Better about baseball. Better about baseball history. Better about the memories I had that, for a while, I began to even question since no one else seemed to remember Trammell like I did.

This old man’s memories of Alan Trammell aren’t all that important. Baseball memories of old men have had more than their fair share of validation over the years to the point where baseball history is almost distorted as a result. But what of the baseball memories of younger generations?

The Baseball Hall of Fame and its voters have seen fit to shun the baseball greats of the 1990s and 2000s. A host of them — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez and others — are now and likely forever will be kept out of the Hall of Fame. We certainly have not forgotten those players, but we’re not honoring them.

The Hall and its voters will eagerly explain to you why that is. It’s about ethics and morality and authenticity and all of that, they say. I’m not sure, however, why that would matter to a person who, when they were six-year-old, was amazed by their feats and exploits. I’m not sure how an entire generation of people who became baseball fans as a result of those players should be made to feel that their memories are somehow not worth memorializing. Why they should be expected to go to the Hall of Fame with their children if they can’t walk into the plaque room and say “there’s the greatest player I ever saw.”

Until last night I discounted that feeling. I don’t think I’ll discount it anymore.