Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Benches clear in Chicago as the Braves and Cubs throw inside


Benches cleared in the eighth inning of the Braves-Cubs game in Chicago last night. In the runup to it, Kris Bryant was hit twice by the Braves’ Lucas Harrell and Anthony Rizzo was hit once, by Braves pitcher Hunter Cervenka. Then, in the eighth, Cubs pitcher Hector Rondon threw inside to Jeff Francoeur. He didn’t hit Francoeur, but it prompted Frenchy to have words with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. The words got heated and the benches cleared. No one was ejected and no punches were thrown.

You can watch the eighth inning incident here. The best part is the commentary from the Braves announcers, particularly Paul Byrd, the color man. He plays the homer to the hilt, blaming the Cubs for not getting out of the way of the three pitches that hit their batters and making a comment about Contreras being a rookie, implying that a veteran like Francoeur can say anything he wants to him and he just has to shut up and take it. As if Francoeur doesn’t swing at pitches farther outside the strike zone than the one that Rondon delivered to him on the regular. I sort of hope Contreras mentioned that, actually. That would be wild.

I didn’t watch the game and don’t know what happened with the Rizzo and Bryant plunkings — I’m going to assume they weren’t malicious incidents and that it was just the regular stuff of pitchers and batters competing for the inside of the plate — but Byrd’s homer/pro-veteran stuff is making me roll my eyes so hard into the back of my head that I think I pinched my optic nerve.

Settling the scores: Thursday’s results

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Sorry. Just not in the mood for snarky sports jokes first thing this morning. We’ll all go on with our days today because that’s what people do, but waking up to the news out of Dallas, fresh on the heels of what happened in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, is simply despairing.

Our culture is permeated with the notion that violence — particularly shooting people — is the best means of solving problems. It’s not limited in scope. It’s seemingly the first solution reached for by everyone. It’s the default reaction of our foreign policy, our policing, our public anger, our fear and our entertainment. Violent assertion of our dominance, preferably with firearms, that’s the answer. That’s the first reaction. That’ll make it all better.

I don’t know how we got this way. Maybe it’s part of our national DNA. Maybe our impulse to point at this or that easy answer to counteract it is naive. Maybe all humans are really like this and there are just conditions or qualities present in our country that allow us to more easily carry through with our most base and violent impulses.

And yes, I know it’s not everyone. Not all police. Not all people angry with police. Not all anyone. But that it’s as many anyones — that these stories are on a constant loop in recent years — makes that distinction sort of pointless. It just means more of us are watching this horror and are either powerless to do anything about it or unwilling to try. That doesn’t exactly make me feel better for the world in which I’m trying to raise my children.

Like I said, we’ll all step to our routine as the day goes on. There will be jokey baseball posts this morning, of that I am sure. But for now it’s hard to wake up to this world without stopping for a bit and wondering what in the hell is so wrong with it.

Here are the box scores.

Angels 5, Rays 1
Cardinals 5, Pirates 1
Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4
Yankees 5, Indians 4
Mets 9, Nationals 7
Twins 10, Rangers 1
Braves 4, Cubs 3
Athletics 3, Astros 1
Royals 4, Mariners 3
Rockies 11, Phillies 2
Padres 6, Dodgers 0

Matt Harvey diagnosed with “symptoms consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome”

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Mets general manager Sandy Alderson just addressed the media and said that starter Matt Harvey has been diagnosed with “symptoms consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome.” He and the club are considering surgery, which would require a recovery period of at least four months, thereby ending Harvey’s season. Alderson said there are non-surgical options available as well.

Thoracic outlet syndrome results in pressure on blood vessels and nerves in the shoulder, leading to pain and weakness in the area. Which, obviously, will affect a pitcher’s effectiveness and an alteration in mechanics as we’ve seen with Harvey, who has struggled to maintain his arm angle and, frankly, has pitched terribly.

Surgery or not, it’s a scary diagnosis for Harvey, as many pitchers who have had it in the past have had their careers ended or severely altered by the syndrome. Included in this group are Cardinals pitchers Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, Shaun Marcum of the Indians and Matt Harrison of the Rangers. Chris Young had the surgery and came back to post a couple of effective seasons. Others have never regained past form.

If Harvey’s season were to end, he’d finish with a record of 4-10, an ERA of 4.86 and 76 strikeouts and 25 walks in 92.2 innings.