Author: Craig Calcaterra

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Cole Hamels is the latest Phillies player who is irked at Ryne Sandberg


It was one thing when underperformers like Domonic Brown were complaining about Ryne Sandberg’s decisions. But now Cole Hamels is. At least in a passive-aggressive fashion. From Jim Salisbury of

Cole Hamels appeared none too happy with Sandberg’s decision to remove him from Tuesday night’s game after giving up a game-tying home run (on his 84th pitch) to lead off the eighth inning . . . After the game, Hamels employed some textbook passive aggressiveness in confirming what his body language told everybody in the ballpark as he left the mound: He was perturbed that Sandberg did not let him stay in the game.

“Um, I just think it was a good game and we were able to win,” said Hamels as he pointedly dodged a question about why he was so visibly upset upon leaving the game.

He had only thrown 84 pitches. But at the same time, he had escaped a jam of his own devising in the seventh and had just given up the lead. And his team won. His team has won a lot lately, actually, against some good teams. One would think that would buy Sandberg a little slack, but I guess not.

Ned Yost calls out Royals fans for some reason

Ned Yost

Your team is in first place, apparently playoff-bound for the first time in many fans’ lifetimes and you just won with a dramatic walkoff homer. What do you do? Well, if you’re Ned Yost you complain about attendance:

“I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game? . . . We’re in a pennant race, yeah. We’ve been working on trying to build this team for the last three or four years to put ourselves in a position where we can contend for a championship. And not only the division, but we want to contend for a world championship. It’s really, really important we have our fans behind us at the stadium . . . I know there’s different things you can do. You can watch it on the Internet. You can watch it on TV. But there’s a real need for our fans to be a part of this. We had a great crowd last night, and I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t.”

Sam Mellinger of the KC Star eviscerates Yost over his comments, showing that Yost’s claim that the team performs better with more fans in the seats is simply false. And noting that, hey, you just had a pretty electric win with a small crowd. Showing that, contrary to some of Yost’s other comments (which you can read at the Star) those Braves teams for whom he coached in the early 90s did NOT have tons of people in the stands every night. Mellinger also not-at-all-subtly reminds everyone that the Royals have sucked for ages, that maybe, just maybe, it takes a bit more than a nice run in August to convince the fans to all come back and that shaming fans despite decades of disappointment by the team they love is not exactly cool.

It’s a justified evisceration. Mellinger is not the kind of guy who just spouts off for no reason. He’s not a sportswriter who looks for stuff to be mad about. He’s legitimately irked here, and it’s very hard to blame him.

There’s cool stuff going on in Kansas City right now. Maybe Yost should focus on the cool stuff.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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source: Getty Images

Royals 2, Twins 1: Alex Gordon with the walkoff two-run homer. This one, apparently, was called by the bat boy. Here’s Yost’s telling of it:

“The bat boy who never says anything turns around and says, `Esky is going to get a hit and Gordo’s taking him in the fountain,” Yost said. “I said, `OK. Sounds like a pretty good plan.”

“Esky” for Escobar? It’s sad that the convention of lazy baseball nicknames is reaching yet another generation.

Giants 3, Rockies 0: MadBum — which is another lazy nicknaming convention but not as lazy as simply adding a “y” to the first syllable — was perfect into the eighth and finished with a one-hit shutout in which he struck out 13 dudes. He needed only 103 pitches to do it which, given the strikeout total, is really damn impressive. One hanging breaking ball that Justin Morneau hit for a double was all that stood between Bumgarner and perfection.

Angels 8, Marlins 2: The Angels are back alone atop the AL West and all of baseball thanks to yet another nice start from Matt Shoemaker, who allowed only two hits over seven shutout innings. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols both went 3 for 4.

Astros 4, Athletics 2: Chris Carter helped put the Angels in first too, and knocked the A’s out of this one, with a three-run homer in the eighth. Carter has homered in four of his past five games against his old team. He has 32 on the year.

Orioles 4, Rays 2: I’ve been complaining a lot about the pace of play lately, but here the guys in the game were too, following a 4-2, nine-inning game which lasted three hours and thirty-seven minutes. Here’s Buck Showalter:

“It was a mentally challenging game because it’s such a grind. A lot of time, a lot of deep counts, a lot of catcher visits.”

Here’s catcher Caleb Joseph:

“Coming off last night, we had such a great game and you want to kind of repeat it, but the pace of the game kind of slows your excitement down a little bit. You’ve got to stay into it, and our guys did a great job.”

If the manager of the winning team and the guy who drove in two for the winning team are talking about the pace of the game being a barrier to enjoying it, how are fans supposed to feel?

Padres 4, Brewers 1: Tyson Ross pitched well, but he also doubled and scored in the third and walked in the fifth. He’s now 4 for 10 with two walks in the month of August. Viva La National League.

Mariners 5, Rangers 0: Endy Chavez hit a two-run double, Robinson Cano socked a homer and James Paxton tossed six and two-thirds shutout innings. The Rangers didn’t get a runner past first base until the ninth inning.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5: The Dodgers hung six on the Dbacks in the fourth inning, thanks in part to two calls — a play at the plate and a bunt single to first base — which were overturned on replay, allowing the rally to continue. Not that there was anything particularly controversial about it. It was really more about Trevor Cahill getting knocked around like crazy which was the problem.

Mets 3, Braves 2: Juan Lagares hit a two-run homer and had seven putouts in center field, one of which was a diving catch in the gap, robbing Alex Wood of a hit. Lagares is incredible out there.

Indians 8, White Sox 6: In the tenth, with a runner on second, Zach Walters was asked to bunt. He couldn’t get the bunt down, so he ended up swinging away. Which was pretty darn lucky considering he hit a two-run homer that ended up winning the game. Cleveland continues to hang around, 4.5 back in the wild card.

Cubs 3, Reds 0: Travis Wood had been in a horrible funk, but he snapped out of it against his former team, allowing two hits over six shutout innings. Big day for “against his former team” yesterday.

Tigers 5, Yankees 2: The Yankees winning streak ends at five. Rick Porcello picked up his fifteenth win of the season after eight solid frames. Jacoby Ellsbury had two homers in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 2: Ike Davis hit a a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth. Josh Harrison added a homer. Bad news, though: Andrew McCutchen left early after aggravating that rib injury that sent him to the DL earlier this month. It’s unclear if he’ll be out today.

Red Sox 11, Blue Jays 7: Just your standard seven-run 11th inning. Part of it was a Mike Napoli three-run homer which went approximately fifty gabillion miles. Allen Craig hit a two-run shot in the same inning. Dustin Pedroia drove in four on the night. Fifteen pitchers appeared in this four hour, thirty-three minute affair.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: The Phillies have won five of six. And yet another Phillies player was mad at Ryne Sandberg for how he was used in the game. Cole Hamels this time, who ended up with the no-decision after being yanked in the eighth. Sandberg’s hook was a bit quick — Hamels had only thrown 84 pitches — but it’s notable that this stuff is happening even with the Phillies winning a lot lately.

Mark Cuban has Bud Selig derangement syndrome

Mark Cuban horizontal

Mark Cuban has tried to buy a major league team three times. He was probably squeezed out a couple of times. At least once — with the Rangers — he simply wasn’t willing to keep up with the bidding. Whatever the details are behind those efforts — and it’ll likely always be he-said, he-said — I don’t think it’s wrong to say that, to some degree, Mark Cuban got the shaft. A shaft that MLB could legally give him because of its ridiculous antitrust exemption, but the shaft all the same.

But at some point Cuban had to realize that if they don’t want him, he probably doesn’t want them either. You’d think he’d just wash his hands of baseball and its silliness when it comes to ownership matters. But that seems to not be the case. He’s still kind of mad! He went on the Dan Patrick show and the topic of Bud Selig came up:

“Was Bud Selig a bad commissioner?” Patrick asked.

“Horrible,” Cuban said. “Has the sport grown at all?”

Patrick said: “Regionally it has.”

Cuban continued: “The only growth it had was at the end of the ’90s and we know what happened there. He’s tried to act like a — I’ll tell you what really turned me off, other than the fact that he didn’t want me in. I had another owner who owned an NBA team walk up to me in an NBA meeting and say, ‘You have no chance. Don’t waste your time.’ What happened in the courtroom when I was looking at the Rangers and bankruptcy, it was ridiculous what they were trying to do. What’s worked for baseball, you know, other than steroids? And home run derbies because of it? You just can’t look at it and say this is a growth sport. You can’t say people enjoy it more.

Baseball revenue is up from $1.5 billion in 1995 to nearly $9 billion in 2013. Attendance has been at or near all-time highs for the past decade. Maybe one can measure baseball’s “growth” in ways other than revenue and attendance, but if you’re going to claim that Selig has been a horrible commissioner or that the sport has not grown at all, you had better come with some data, and not some generalized disdain for a guy who you don’t much like for personal reasons.

And they are personal reasons. Read the rest of Cuban’s comments about Selig. It’s all based on Cuban being mad about his experience with Selig and the idea that, according to Cuban, Selig reads everything written about him and thus Cuban wants to wind him up.

I don’t much care for the way MLB picks and chooses its owners. And I think baseball might’ve been a lot more fun with Mark Cuban as an owner than it has been without him. But you read this stuff and you can’t say that baseball’s keeping Cuban out is a very surprising.

Anibal Sanchez suffers a setback, may not pitch again in the regular season

Anibal Sanchez AP

Anibal Sanchez has been on the disabled list since August 10, and had a throwing session yesterday. It did not go well:

Sanchez was initially expected to miss 3-4 weeks, and now that’s out the window. Get used to more Robbie Ray and his plus-seven ERA as you chase the Royals, Tigers fans.