Craig Calcaterra

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols starts to celebrate after a single to left with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to give the Angels a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Associated Press

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

34 Comments

As I said the other day, on occasion I won’t be doing full ATH recaps. It won’t be often, but it’s going to happen. Sometimes it will be because my sleep schedule or my personal life gets messed up and frazzled and I simply don’t have the kind of mental or physical energy at 6am that I do most days. Sometimes it’s as simple as a time crunch in the morning. I have kids in school and sometimes things come up — like today’s conference with one of my kids’ teachers — that require me to treat my morning like most you treat yours, what with the getting dressed and taking a shower and all of that. Though obviously not in that order.

That said I DID DO full recaps today! I was lucky, there were only eight games played and a rainout, so I had time to put this together. I just say this now so, when that isn’t the case and I have to punt sometimes, you guys don’t get grumpy. Cool? Cool. Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 10, Phillies 6: There are a lot of people who were certain that the Phillies would be the worst team in baseball this year. My gut was to doubt that some because they’re farther along on their tear-down/rebuild than some think and they finally have some prospects. This by no means made me think they’d be GOOD. Oh God, not at all, but sometimes young hungry kids and organizations which have definitively closed the book on the past go on little frisky streaks. The truly decrepit teams are the ones with a bad mix of veterans and a front office which hasn’t definitively shown that it’s looking forward.

Then the Phillies went and got swept by one of those teams that fits the latter description and I dunno if I shouldn’t just go all-in with the people who are certain.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: A key to the White Sox being better than a lot of us so-called experts think they’ll be will be to get good pitching beyond Sale and Quintana. In the past two games Carlos Rodon gave them seven solid innings in a losing effort and Mat Latos gave them six shutout innings. This is a good sign. Maybe it’s a sign about pitching against the A’s in Oakland, but it’s at least a view of how things could go well. The Chisox take three of four to start the season.

Yankees 8, Astros 5: Mark Teixeira hit a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the seventh to power the Yankees to a series win over Houston. Starlin Castro hit another. After the game Teixeira said “The Yankees are the whole package. I mean once you play for the Yankees, you’ve kind of reached the pinnacle of Major League Baseball.” I know a lot of people roll their eyes at that sort of thing, but I kind of liked that he said that and have some deeper thoughts about how he can say that kind of thing plausibly, apart from the fact that the Yankees won a lot. I’ll have that up in a post later this morning.

Marlins 6, Nationals 4: David Phelps was like Dante in “Clerks” in that he wasn’t even supposed to be here today. Because of a rain delay early, the Marlins lost their starter, Adam Conley, after an inning and Phelps, a swingman, had to go four. He went four scoreless, got the win and even hit an RBI single. I wonder if he has any opinions about innocent contractors hired to work on the Death Star but who were killed; casualties of a war they had nothing to do with.

Giants 12, Dodgers 6: I guess the Dodgers weren’t going to shut everyone out forever. I guess playing an actually good team will complicate such plans. They did make it until the fifth inning here, giving them a 31-inning scoreless streak, but by the time Hunter Pence hit a grand slam and Joe Panik drove in three, that was pretty cold comfort.

Orioles 4, Twins 2: The Orioles get the sweep. Manny Machado and Joey Rickard homered and Ubaldo Jimenez was strong over seven. Fun thing: in the course of any offseason any number of players come up in the news, so one obviously thinks of them. Big names, free agents, etc. Other players, even if they aren’t in the news, you occasionally think of, at least if you have baseball on the mind. Like, you remember that a thing exists called the Tampa Bay Rays, and your mind might register, for a second, that a person named “Desmond Jennings” plays baseball and that you are familiar with his work. Some guys you just never think of until the season begins again. Ubaldo Jimenez, this offseason was one of them apparently. Because when I saw the box score here I went “oh yeah, he’s a baseball player I haven’t thought about since at least September.” Maybe that’s too much of a glimpse into how my mind works. Sorry, but I work alone and talk to my cats more than anyone. This is how it goes.

Cubs 14, Diamondbacks 6: The Cubs scoring 14 runs and winning is the coldest possible comfort to a really scary and potentially awful situation with Kyle Schwarber. He has no broken bones and he’ll have an MRI today, but he was in pain and on crutches last night, so that doesn’t bode super well. Here’s hoping it turns out better than it looks.

Angels 4, Rangers 3: Albert Pujols with the walkoff RBI single in the ninth. It came after the Rangers intentionally walked Mike Trout to get to Pujols. In a lot of similar situations, players who come through with that big hit imply that they took at as a sign of disrespect or something and that they went to bat following the intentional walk with added inspiration or whatever. Big kudos to Pujols for not playing that card. He said it exactly perfectly:

“I would do the same thing if I was the manager in that situation. Mike is the best player in the game, and as a manager, you don’t want the best player in the game to beat you.”

All that mattered was that RBI which won the game.

Red Sox vs. Indians: POSTPONED — Last time I was here it was raining, It ain’t raining anymore. The streets were drowning, waters waning, all the ruins washed ashore. Now I’m just looking through the rubble, trying to find out who we were. Last time I was here it was raining. It ain’t raining anymore.

Looking back at Al Campanis’ Racist Waterloo

Al Campanis
52 Comments

Los Angeles Dodgers executive Al Campanis was really, really good at what he did. Not just as a GM between 1969 and 1987, but as a Dodgers scout and scouting director for the 20 years before that. In those roles he was, perhaps, more responsible for the Dodgers’ excellence from the 1950s through the 1980s than anyone.

Last year Mark Armour and Dan Levitt wrote a book called In Pursuit of Pennants, which talked about how clubs were built and in which they ranked baseball general managers. Campanis came in at number 13, all-time. Heck, his 1968 draft alone probably would’ve put him high on the list. That year he got Ron Cey, Dave Lopes, Steve Garvey, Doyle Alexander, Joe Ferguson, Geoff Zahn, and Bill Buckner, all in the same draft. I mean, mercy.

But he was fired in 1987, just as the Dodgers were building another World Series winner. He was fired not because he ceased to be good at his job, but because of something he said that was unforgettable and unforgivable. It happened on April 6, 1987 when he went on Nightline with Ted Koppel to talk about the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.

Robinson and Campanis, by the way, had been friends, teammates and coworkers. Campanis was not thought of as a racist man by his contemporaries or, if he was, the public didn’t know about it. But when asked why there were no black managers or general managers in the game, Campanis said, “I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager or perhaps a general manager.” He went on to say “I don’t say that all of them, but they certainly are short. How many quarterbacks do you have? How many pitchers do you have that are black? . . . Why are black men or black people not good swimmers? Because they don’t have the buoyancy.”

His goose was cooked. This was 19th century-style faux intellectualism cum eugenics nonsense used to defend racism in 1987 and the Dodgers would not stand for it, as they should not have.

Today Steven Goldman of Vice has a great article about this whole affair. His primary purpose is to get inside the mind of someone like Al Campanis. A man who did not wave confederate flags or drop N-bombs that anyone knew of, yet who showed himself to be clearly racist in the most open and obvious sorts of ways, simply by being asked a question. He was literally a person in a position of power keeping people from positions of authority by virtue of the color of their skin. How could such a man rise to the top of his industry and stay there 40 years after the game integrated despite believing the things he believed?

Goldman’s answer is an interesting one which goes a long way toward explaining how racism manages to persist despite almost everyone knowing that there are certain things one can’t say and certain things one should not think about people of color. It persists because people who would not say such things nonetheless still harbor such attitudes, often without even knowing that they do.

How can this be? Go read Goldman’s article and find out.

Eric Hosmer was the most popular person at the Justin Bieber concert last night

eric hosmer getty
9 Comments

I’m not entirely sure where Justin Bieber stands these days on the popularity matrix. I figure he was past his sell date but I learned a long time ago not to make such assumptions about elements of popular culture with which I am not really super familiar. I thought Timberlake was done after *NSYNC, so what the heck do I know? I know Bieber has been on a lot of TV shows and stuff. Comeback? Never left? I dunno, but he’s selling concert tickets so good for him.

And good for Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who went to the Bieber show. Hosmer is 26, so that at least suggests Bieber is growing up with his audience or his audience is growing up with him. Then again, age isn’t a perfect barometer either. A friend of mine who is my age went to see Johnny Mathis in concert last night. Which raises two questions: (1) how does a Gen-Xer get into Johnny Mathis?; and (2) Huh, Johnny Mathis is still alive?

Anyway, via USA Today’s FTW and via the Kansas City Star, we learned that Hosmer was mobbed like Bieber last night. Or at least mobbed like Bieber would’ve been a couple of years ago. Or again now? God, I need to go talk to some kids and ask them what all the hep cats are listening to now. In any event, winning a World Series makes you a super popular dude: