And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Had tickets to the Columbus Clippers-Indianapolis Indians game. Daisuke Matsuzaka was scheduled to start. Then it rained and they canceled the game. I have mixed feelings about it all because, on the one hand, baseball. On the other hand I dodged the Matsuzaka bullet. Oh well.

Dodgers 3, Padres 2: FISTICUFFSMANSHIP!  Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin who then charged mound and broke Greinke’s collarbone (video at the link). It was his non-pitching arm, but still, that’s going to have him out for months, I’ll bet. Oh, and then it spilled over into the parking lot, so that’s fun. Expect suspensions. But expect Greinke to miss way more time than Quentin ever will. Throwing balls at people is dumb. Charging the mound is dumb. This is all dumb. Simply play baseball and this never happens.

Athletics 8, Angels 1: “Tell us a story, grandpa Craig!” “Well, OK, kiddos. Have a seat. Have I ever told you about the time when the Oakland A’s went 160-2 and the Angels went 2-160? The damndest year! The best part of it was when the manager of the A’s, fella named Melvin, said after one of their games ‘They have a heck of a team, but sometimes you catch a team when they’re down and we were lucky to do that.’  As if he thought they’d ever lose! Hahaha!”  “Craig, stop messing with the grandkids like that, come here and eat your oatmeal.”

Nationals 7, White Sox 4: The Nats sweep the Sox. Fourth inning: a runner on base, Bryce Harper at the plate. Robin Ventura decides to walk Harper. Up comes Ryan Zimmerman who doubles in two. Whoops.

Giants 7, Cubs 6: Even when you spot the Cubs five runs they can’t win. The Giants’ four-run fourth was helped by Starlin Castro’s throwing error.

Tigers 11, Blue Jays 1: And here I thought the revamped Blue Jays’ rotation was gonna make things different this year. Josh Johnson got rocked, Doug Fister was great and Prince Fielder drove in four. All on a day not fit for man or beast.

Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: Chris Davis hit another homer, Adam Jones drove in two and the bullpen held a one-run lead. Welcome to 2012.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3:  Felix Hernandez will have to wait a few days for his 100th career victory as the Rangers touched him for ten hits in six and two thirds.

Yankees vs. Indians: POSTPONED: Along in the sun and the rain. Along in the sun and the rain. Long oh long oh long oh long. Along in the sun and the rain. Hey, boys, I’ve come a long ways. Well, boys, I’ve come a long ways. Oh boys, I’ve come a long lonesome ways. Along in the sun and the rain

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.