Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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What happens if the Mets, Cardinals and Giants finish in a three-way tie?


The Cardinals, Mets and Giants are playing musical chairs for the two National League Wild Card slots. No one is playing particularly well. The Giants are in freefall, the Mets just got swept by the Braves and the Cardinals got pounded by the Rockies yesterday and have been running hot and cold. Their collective wheel-spinning has even gotten the Pirates (3.5 games out) and the Marlins (4) back into the conversation, at least nominally.

The best part of this is that the Mets, Giants and Cardinals, each of whom are 80-72 right now, could end up in a three-way tie. That’d be when the fun really starts.

Here’s what MLB’s official page on all tiebreakers says about that scenario:

Three-Club Tie for Two Wild Card Spots:
After Clubs have been assigned their A, B and C designations, Club A would host Club B. The winner of the game would be declared one Wild Card winner. Club C would then host the loser of the game between Club A and Club B to determine the second Wild Card Club.

The “A, B, C designations” thing is determined by head-to-head records first. None of the three teams plays each other any more this year. The Mets and Cards are 3-3 against each other. Each are 4-3 against the Giants. So either way, the Giants are third in that A-B-C thing. To break the tie of the tie between the Mets and Cards, you go to intradivision records, meaning the Mets against the NL East and the Cards against the NL Central. At the moment the Cardinals are better against their own division, 36-30, while the Mets are 33-33 against their East rivals. Yup, those games against the Braves this week mattered!

SO: with the caveat that both the Cards and Mets have a lot of intradivision games left and thus it could change, if the season ended today, the Cardinals would be Club A, the Mets would be Club B and the Giants would be Club C. Which means the tiebreaker would look like this, if all three teams finished with identical records:

  • Sunday October 2: Regular Season Ends;
  • Monday October 3: Mets vs. Cards in St. Louis, winner is one of the Wild Card teams
  • Tuesday October 4: Mets vs. Cards loser vs. the Giants in San Francisco, winner is the second Wild Card team

The very next day, Wednesday, October 5, the winner of the game in San Francisco would have to play in either St. Louis or New York in the actual Wild Card game, which would determine who then had to fly to Chicago to face the Cubs in the NLDS. Which begins on Friday, October 7.

Got that?

While Mets, Cards and Giants fans are likely hoping for a little win streak to avoid this mess, I hope the rest of you are joining me in rooting for the bedlam and chaos that would occasion a three-way tie.

Settling the Scores: Wednesday’s results


How ya doin’, Mets fans? Giants fans? Cardinals fans? Everyone doing OK? No? Well, that’s a shame. If it helps, all three of the teams y’all root for are less-than-inspiring at the moment.

The Giants got blasted by Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers and are back to six back in the NL West, which we can basically call for the Dodgers now. The Cardinals had won four in a row but got hammered by the Rockies yesterday. Expand that timeline a bit and they’re 4-4 in their last eight. The Mets? Hoo-boy. They let the Braves come into New York and sweep them. And the way that game Endered, er, I mean ended last night was something to behold:

The National League Wild Card is a mess. The Cards, Mets and Giants are all tied and, because of their recent struggles, have even let the Pirates sneak back into the conversation, three and a half games back. Clean it up, guys. There’s only a week and change left in the season.

Here are the box scores:

Rockies 11, Cardinals 1
Astros 6, Athletics 5
Mariners 2, Blue Jays 1
Red Sox 5, Orioles 1
Phillies 8, White Sox 3
Indians 4, Royals 3
Braves 4, Mets 3
Nationals 8, Marlins 3
Yankees 11, Rays 5
Angels 5, Rangers 4
Cubs 9, Reds 2
Pirates 4, Brewers 1
Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2
Dodgers 9, Giants 3
Tigers vs. Twins: POSTPONED

Which candidates get donations from ballplayers?

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The post about the Ricketts family donating to Trump’s SuperPac got me thinking about baseball people and political donations on this slow afternoon. We’ve gone over this stuff before — all federal level donation information is public record at the FEC website — but it’s still fun to sift through.

You can search by employer and occupation if you want, and that’s where our fun starts. If you list a major league team under “employer,” you’ll usually find that owners and high-ranking executives make a lot of donations. Most of them are to Major League Baseball’s own political action committee, entitled “Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Political Action Committee.” That’s what Rob Manfred, and Bud Selig before him, uses to influence government officials. Hey, an antitrust exemption isn’t going to maintain itself!

Of course there are a ton of individual campaign contributions as well. If you search “Atlanta Braves” under employer from 2010-2016 you see Hank Aaron gave to a congressional campaign, Bobby Cox gave to some PAC called “The 21st Century Majority Fund” and the Braves clubhouse manager gave $250 to Lindsay Graham’s campaign for some reason. Under the Yankees you see a lot of donations to Rudy Giuliani. Mark Teixeira maxed out to Marco Rubio last year. If you search for Alex Rodriguez you see he gave a bunch to George Bush in 2003 when he was with the Rangers and then to Giuliani after he was traded to the Yankees. He likes keeping it local.

You can search by occupation, too. This is more fun. For example, if you search “baseball player” you see that Lou Brock, employed by the Cardinals, doesn’t just say that he was a baseball player or that he’s a retired player. No, he says “Major League Baseball Player — HOF.” Hey, he earned it, he can identify himself however he wants to. That search also gives you Barry Zito, who have $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004. Back then Zito played for the A’s and had a reputation for being a free-spirit/zen master type who had not yet publicly identified himself as a Christian the way he did later in his career. If you had bet who he was voting for based on public personas in 2004, I figure most people would’ve figured that he was a lefty in more than just his pitching.

You can find broadcasters on the list too. You will not be surprised that Vin Scully, a man of a certain age who came to professional prominence and wealth in 1950s and 1960s California, supports Republican candidates. His counterpart on the Giants, Jon Miller, favors Democratic ones. The rivalry goes deep in so many ways.

There isn’t a lot up yet for the 2016 general election season. The reporting is quarterly and the information for the quarter that came after the conventions — third quarter 2016 — does not yet appear to be on the page. Indeed, only one search for “baseball player” gives you a result. And it’s not one you might expect. It’s a $2,700 donation to the Hillary Clinton campaign from . . . Jagger Rusconi. Don’t know who Jagger Rusconi is? I didn’t either so I had to look. Turns out he was the 5th round pick of the Red Sox last year who played in low-A ball this year. Minor leaguers don’t make a lot, but he got a signing bonus north of $300K — and his family all maxed out to the Clinton campaign too — so maybe there’s more going on there than some bus league kid reading the paper and getting inspired while playing for the Lowell Spinners. Maybe his whole family was radicalized and vowed to defeat the deplorable forces Clinton is telling everyone about.

On the other side of the aisle, however, is my favorite baseball-related entry in the entire FEC database. That’d be for Curt Schilling who, not surprisingly, is politically active. He has given a good deal over the years, most recently $250 to Trump. I’m a bigger fan of his donation last September to Ben Carson. It came just after Schilling was relieved of his Sunday Night Baseball duties for ESPN and appeared to be on thin ice with the bosses. He knew it too. Check out how he lists his employer and occupation:


Like him or hate him, at least he was honest on his donation form.