Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Donald Trump: jerky sixth-grade power hitter


Donald Trump isn’t having a great day.

On the morning when the United Kingdom and the world is reeling from the shocking and implication-heavy Brexit vote, Trump is in Scotland (a) fundamentally misunderstanding how people in Scotland feel about it all; (b) acting as if the event has no bearing on the world or foreign relations; and (c) talking about how, whatever this amounts to, all of this financial and political turmoil will be great for his golf resort.

Take that for what you will, but I’ll look at it optimistically. I mean, that Trump is manifestly unqualified and unsuitable for the office of the Presidency is something most people already agree on. Kudos to him, however, for continuing to make that case in an effort win over the remaining holdouts with respect to that point.

In other news, we do have some baseball-related Trump stuff. Yesterday the Washington Post produced a huge feature on Trump the man and Trump the boy. Part of that involved his youth baseball prowess, which has been said by many to have been pretty considerable. So considerable that the sixth graders in 1950s New York were giving him the David Ortiz treatment:

By sixth grade, Donald’s power as a right-handed hitter was enough that fielders shifted to left field when he batted. “If he had hit the ball to right, he could’ve had a home run because no one was there,” said Nicholas Kass, a schoolmate. “But he always wanted to hit the ball through people. He wanted to overpower them.”

My feelings about Trump notwithstanding, I’m with The Young Donald here. Shifts take away singles, not dingers and doubles to the gap. Maybe you try to push one past the pitcher and over toward second base to keep them honest on occasion, but play your game, not theirs. Hit the ball over the head of the shifted defense and tell them where to stick that noise.

Not that everything he did in baseball was laudable:

A catcher, Trump’s uniform was often the dirtiest on the field, and he shrugged off foul balls clanging off his mask. After once making an out, Donald smashed neighbor Jeff Bier’s Adirondack bat on the pavement. The bat cracked, Bier said, but Trump did not apologize.

I can imagine a 12 year-old Trump promising that he’d break Jeff Bier’s bat and make HIM pay for it, all to the whooping of an adoring crowd. When asked why he’d do that, he’d point to his batting average, say that he was very successful and that should be enough of a justification for anything he says and does.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 5, Pirates 3: The Giants are hotter than all get out, having won 12 of 14. Who saw this coming? Oh wait: me. Me saw this coming when I predicted them to win the World Series this year. Yeah, you bet your butt I’m not gonna shut up about that as long as they’re still a viable contender this year. If and when they are eliminated from contention or knocked out of the playoffs, I’ll totally shut up about it, pretend I never said anything and possibly delete old posts which reference my prediction. I am, after all, a professional sports writer and there is a long and rich history of my ilk being utterly unaccountable. I shall not stand in the way of that.

Tigers 5, Mariners 4: Detroit wins on a walkoff wild pitch by Steve Cishek. That’s one that stays with you on the long flight back to Seattle. The bases were loaded and it was the bottom of the tenth so I guess there were several other ways for that one to end poorly — a walkoff walk is always fun — but a wild pitch it was. The Tigers sweep the Mariners. It was the first Detroit sweep of Seattle in a four-game series since August 1980. The first game in that four-game series was a walkoff win for the Tigers too. In a 1-0 game won by Al Cowens hitting a bases loaded single off of Shane Rawley to score Rick Peters. Jack Morris went nine shutout innings, allowing six hits. Floyd Bannister almost matched him but ran out of gas in the ninth. Peters was his responsibility so he got the tough luck loss. Just figured you’d want to know that. I probably listened to it on WJR as a seven year-old kid, though I have no memory of it.

Phillies 7, Twins 3: The Phillies end a nine-game losing streak. Freddy Galvis drove in five runs. Cesar Hernandez had four hits and Ryan Howard homered. Afterward Major League Baseball’s scheduling computer was arrested by international authorities for putting this series together. It will be tried for crimes against humanity in The Hague.

Red Sox 8, White Sox 7: Sox win! Red, that is, avoiding the sweep. Xander Bogaerts hit a walkoff single in the 10th. Craig Kimbrel came into a tie game and pitched two innings for the win. I presume that John Farrell will be fined by the Old Managers Society for bucking conventional wisdom like that. He’ll avoid expulsion because it wasn’t on the road — that would shock the conscience — but the two-inning/tie game combo is definitely gonna leave his wallet lighter.

Braves 4, Mets 3: Adonis Garcia hit a two-run homer in the eighth to put the Braves over. The Mets are 5-5 against the Braves this year. 0-3 against the Rockies. 3-3 against the Phillies. It’s not hard to put together an alternate season history that does not have them back of the Nats by four games.

Padres 7, Reds 4: Derek Norris his a three-run homer in the sixth inning to bring the Friars back from behind. The Reds bullpen has given up 54 home runs this year. The next highest on the list: the Twins and Phillies, tied with 40. The major league average is 27.

Marlins 4, Cubs 2: Giancarlo Stanton homered in the fourth inning and singled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth. He’s been lost for so much of the year, but he’s had a pretty nice week or so. Four losses in a row for the Cubs.

Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 6Nick Ahmed had a two-out RBI single in the ninth, salvaging what would’ve been a dispiriting loss given that Arizona had a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. From the “Stuff you don’t think about” department: in the ninth, Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez struck out Paul Goldschmidt before he ran into the trouble that led to Ahmed’s hit. It took him 12 pitches to do it, though, which both tired Estevez out a bit, probably physically and mentally, and gave Ahmed a chance to watch Estevez for a good while, a fact which he noted in the postgame interview. Most of us are pretty bad about just looking at the results and the numbers — the ATH feature relies on that heavily — but little stuff like that matters more than we acknowledge.

Athletics 5, Angels 4Kendall Graveman allowed only two runs and eight hits in six and two-thirds innings. It was the first win for an A’s starter since June 1. In that time their rotation combined to go 0-9 in 17 winless games.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Hey, y’all. I’m going on vacation next week. Bill will be putting up a Settling the Scores post in the morning and will be handling normal blogging duties on a somewhat altered schedule. You’ll see a couple of old friendly faces pitching in with some posts here and there too. I’ll be at the Giants-A’s game on Tuesday night. If anything cool happens there, I’ll not tell you because, remember, I’m on vacation, so why in the heck would I be working? Anyway: have a nice week. See you back here with ATH on July 5. It’ll stink, though, because my head will still be on vacation. You know how it is.

Mariners starter Adrian Sampson leaves with elbow discomfort before throwing a pitch

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Seattle Mariners starter Adrian Sampson was scheduled to pitch against the Tigers this afternoon but he left the game while warming up for the first inning. Vidal Nuno took over.

The Mariners said that Sampson, who was to be making his second start, left the game with right elbow discomfort and will undergo further evaluation.

In Sampson’s first start he gave up four earned runs in four and two-thirds innings. Not the best outing, but better than today, unfortunately.