And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 12, Rangers 5:  We read a lot of “Derek Jeter is done” commentary last week. Well, whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that Jeter was only mostly dead. And there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Two homers for The Captain.  As for the game overall, I’ll quote Jay Jaffe, who said it best on Twitter late yesterday afternoon: “This Yankees-Rangers game is so ugly they should shave its ass and teach it to walk backwards.”

Braves 5, Phillies 2: Jair Jurrjens continues to impress, allowing one run on eight hits in six and a third. The long ball did Philly in, with Cole Hamels giving up dingers to Alex Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman and Michael Stutes allowing a two-run job to Eric Hinske.  The Braves take two of three from the Philly in Citizens Bank Park. This has apparently frightened and confused these two gentlemen, respectively.

Marlins 8, Nationals 0: Anibal Sanchez lost a no-hitter in the seventh, but it was probably for the best given that he took 117 pitches to finish those seven innings. No savvy manager would have let him go the distance at those rates and then we’d either end up talking about how Edwin Rodriguez abused Sanchez or how heartless Edwin Rodriguez was to deprive everyone of a possible no-hitter had he yanked Sanchez. Personally, everyone should be happy with a two-hit, 11K, no runs performance. Well, everyone except Nats fans, but they’re used to disappointment by now.

Angels 6, Indians 5: Mike Scioscia’s 1000th career win.  In the game story afterward, this quote appeared: “‘I’m glad to be a part of such a special occasion for Sosh,’ Hunter said.”  I would have bet my life that you spelled that “Scioc.” Or, in a tip o’ the cap to “The Outsiders,” “Soc.”

Dodgers 4, Mets 2: Andre Ethier has a one-game hitting streak (2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI).

Rays 5, Orioles 3: B.J. Upton made a wise choice to appeal his two-game suspension, because he absolutely destroyed Orioles pitching in this series, going 7 for 14 with eight RBI.

Pirates 5, Astros 4: Both bullpens blew late leads, but Houston’s did it last. Ryan Doumit with the three-run homer in the eighth. Pittsburgh is at .500, y’all.

Red Sox 9, Twins 5: It looked like it was going to be a classic Daisuke Matsuzaka outing after the first inning, in which he gave up three runs on approximately 2,430 pitches. But he settled down and went six serviceable innings. Which was more than enough with Carl Pavano dropping the stank on the other side (5 IP, 10 H, 7 ER).

Giants 3, Rockies 0: The Giants have just owned the Rockies lately, winning nine of eleven and sweeping this series. All three of San Francisco’s runs were driven in by Cody Ross.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 3: Four first inning runs for the Padres had to make Aaron Harang and the rest of the staff feel like they were staked to 100.

White Sox 5, Mariners 2: The White Sox manage their first series win in a month, taking two of three from the M’s. Paul Konerko had five hits. Not bad for a guy who left Saturday’s game with a sore hand.

Reds 2, Cubs 0: The return of Homer Bailey last week and Johnny Cueto’s sharp season debut yesterday (6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER)  have to be a big shot in the arm for a struggling Reds’ rotation.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 1: Beer Bowl. Kyle McClellan took a shutout into the ninth, watched as Eduardo Sanchez allowed an inherited runner to score and put a couple more of his own on base, but snagged his fifth win anyway.

Athletics 5, Royals 2: You can watch baseball games for 30+ years and yet you can still see stuff you’ve never seen before. Like this play by Tyson Ross.

Tigers 5, Blues Jays 2: Austin Jackson hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh to continue what has been a pretty nice hot streak for him, hitting .368 over his last ten games.

Nick Markakis: ‘I play a kids’ game and get paid a lot of money. How can I be disappointed with that?’

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Earlier today, the Braves inked veteran outfielder Nick Markakis to a one-year deal worth $4 million with a club option for the 2020 season worth $6 million with a $2 million buyout. Though Markakis is 35 years old, he’s coming off of a terrific season in which he played in all 162 games and hit .297/.366/.440 with 14 home runs and 93 RBI in 705 trips to the plate. Markakis had just completed a four-year, $44 million contract, so he took a substantial pay cut.

Per David O’Brien of The Athletic, Markakis asked his kids where they wanted him to play and they said Atlanta. O’Brien also asked Markakis about the pay cut. The outfielder said, “I’m not mad at all. I play a kids’ game and get paid a lot of money. How can I be disappointed with that?”

This seemingly innocuous comment by Markakis is actually damaging for his peers and for the union. Baseball as a game is indeed a “kids’ game,” but Major League Baseball is a billion-dollar business that has been setting revenue records year over year. The players have seen a smaller and smaller percentage of the money MLB makes since the beginning of the 2000’s. Furthermore, Markakis only gets paid “a lot of money” relative to, say, a first-year teacher or a clerk at a convenience store. Relative to the value of Liberty Media, which owns the Braves, and relative to the value of Major League Baseball itself, Markakis’s salary is a drop in the ocean.

That Markakis is happy to take a pay cut is totally fine, but it’s harmful for him to publicly justify that because it creates the expectation that his peers should feel the same way and creates leverage for ownership. His comments mirror those who sympathize first and foremost with billionaire team owners. They are common arguments used to justify paying players less, giving them a smaller and smaller cut of the pie. Because Markakis not only took a pay cut but defended it, front office members of the Braves as well as the 29 other teams can point to him and guilt or shame other players for asking for more money.

“Look at Nick, he’s a team player,” I envision a GM saying to younger Braves player who is seeking a contract extension, or a free agent looking to finally find a home before spring training. “Nick’s stats are as good as yours, so why should you make more money than him?”

Contrast Markakis’s approach with Yasmani Grandal‘s. Grandal reportedly turned down a four-year, $60 million contract offer from the Mets early in the offseason and settled for a one-year, $18.25 million contract with the Brewers. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Grandal said on MLB Network, “I felt like part of my responsibility as a player was to respect the guys that went through this process before I did. Guys like Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina, These are guys who established markets and pay levels for upper-tier catchers like me. I felt like I was doing a disservice if I were to take some of the deals that were being thrown around. I wanted to keep the line moving especially for some of the younger guys that are coming up … to let them know, if you’re worthy, then you should get paid what you’re worth. That’s where I was coming from.”

Grandal’s comments are exactly what a member of a union should be saying, unapologetically. The MLBPA needs to get all of its members on the same page when it comes to discussing contracts or labor situations in general publicly. What Markakis said seems selfless and innocent — and I have no doubt he is being genuine without malice — but it could reduce the bargaining power players have across the table from ownership, which means less money. They are already being bamboozled, at least until the next collective bargaining agreement. They don’t need to be bamboozled any more.