And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

57 Comments

Angels 5, Rangers 4: Howie Kendrick with two homers, including the walkoff in the 11th. Kendrick after the game:

“It’s a great feeling to know that you can leave the other team on the field”

I hope someone brings the Rangers some food overnight. Maybe go back to their hotel, get guys a change of clothes or something.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 0: Adam Wainwright threw eight and a third scoreless innings striking out nine, and improved to 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA on the season. The Nats have lost eight of 11.

Pirates 2, Phillies 0: Jeff Locke and four relievers combine to shut out the Phillies. Michael Young kept his hitting streak alive — it’s now at four games — but an otherwise forgettable offensive night.

Twins 4, Marlins 3; Marlins 8, Twins 5: Oswaldo Arcia hit a massive homer in the first game. Right before he did it. Bert Blyleven speculated on-air as to whether Ron Gardenhire would have him bunt. Methinks that with that guy’s power that, no, Gardenhire is not gonna have him bunt. The Marlins take the nightcap with 16 hits. Which is probably their month’s supply of hits. Royals lead the division by a game with the Twins right on their tail. This is kinda fun while it’s lasting.

Athletics 13, Red Sox 0: Rain-shortened game or mercy rule invoked? NO MAN CAN SAY. Everyone will talk about how putrid Alfredo Aceves was — and after the game he had the nerve to ask why his teammates didn’t hit — but how about seven, three-hit shutout innings from Bartolo Colon?

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 3: It’s kinda early in the morning so my critical thinking skills aren’t totally sharp yet today, but when I see this in the game story:

It was the 100th consecutive game the Orioles have won when leading after seven innings

My b.s. detector starts to go off. Not because it’s not true — it is, in fact, a fact — but because it sounds too superficially impressive a feat for a team that, while good last year, hasn’t been dominant or anything. Someone can check it and tell me I’m wrong, but this smells like “a triple short of the cycle!” Meaning: a fact which sounds kind of impressive but which actually describes something which happens quite a lot.

Yankees 4, Rays 3: Ichiro had a two-run, RBI single in the ninth and, though he did not get the win, I think it’s fair to say that Phil Hughes out-dueled David Price. Has a lower ERA on the season than Price does too, if you care about such things (5.14 vs. 5.52).

Braves 4, Rockies 3; Braves 10, Rockies 2 : Atlanta takes the first chilly one thanks to homers from Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Dan Uggla. They take the second one thanks to homers from Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Juan Francisco. It’s almost like this team hits a lot of homers or something.

Cubs 4, Reds 2: Carlos Marmol blew the save but got the win. He now leads the Cubs in wins. That’s fun. I’m sure no one else on the team thinks that’s fun but him, but it is fun.

Dodgers 7, Mets 2: Two homers for Mark Ellis. Clayton Kershaw was no great shakes, but after Jon Niese left in the third with a leg contusion, it was too much to ask for five Mets relievers to hold on.

Brewers 6, Padres 3: Nine in a row. Clayton Richard was a disaster in the first two innings and after that it was academic.

Astros 3, Mariners 2: Astros and Marlins win on the same day. Bet that doesn’t happen a lot this summer. Sadly, what proved to be the winning run came at the expense of Justin Maxwell’s broken hand on a HBP in the third.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 4: J.J. Putz blew a two-run lead in the ninth — and a four-run lead overall — but the Dbacks gritted this one out and won in 11, thanks to some heads-up base running by Didi Gregorius. He took second base on what should have only been a single after Andres Torres lollygaged his way to the ball, then scored the tying run on a wild pitch.  And if you think I’m beating this grit thing into the ground, well, I’ll stop when Diamondbacks players stop saying stuff like this after the game:

“That’s the spirit of this team,” [Brad] Ziegler said. “We’d prefer to jump out to a big lead early and kind of coast to the victory, but when that doesn’t happen, we know we have a lot of guys on this team that are going to fight to the last out.”

Indians vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing  Memory and desire, stirring  Dull roots with spring rain.

Royals vs. Tigers: POSTPONED: For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses. Rain; empty river; a voyage. Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight. Under the cabin roof was one lantern. The reeds are heavy; bent; and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

Rob Manfred responds to our report about recent labor negotiations

Getty Images
4 Comments

Two days ago NBC Sports reported comments Rob Manfred made to players union officials during midterm Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions this past summer. Specifically, sources told NBC Sports that Manfred took an aggressive posture, telling the union that there is “not going to be a deal where we pay you in economics to get labor peace” and “maybe Marvin Miller’s financial system doesn’t work anymore.” Those comments and our report led many to believe that Manfred and baseball’s owners intend to take a hard line with the union between now and when the current CBA expires in December 2021.

Yesterday, at the conclusion of the Owners Meetings, Manfred was asked about our report. Part of his comments were reported in the New York Post last night, but NBC Sports has obtained a full transcript of his entire response:

“One of the things that I never do is talk about what is said in a bargaining room because my experience has been that it usually results in unproductive mischaracterization of the comment. There were four people in that room the day of that conversation: me, [Deputy Commissioner] Dan Halem, Tony Clark and [MLBPA chief negotiator] Bruce Meyer. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that it was not Dan Halem and not me that was the source of that story.

“The comments, the way the conversation actually went, as opposed to the way that it was spun: we invited the MLBPA to come forward with suggestions about midterm modifications that might address some of their concerns. In the meeting, Mr. Meyer suggested a series of changes that would turn the Basic Agreement back 50 years. I mean, essentially give back to the union everything we’ve achieved over the last few decades. I asked, in response to his suggestion, what was in that deal for the clubs? He said, ‘Labor peace.’ The way the conversation actually went is I said to him, ‘Labor peace is a mutual benefit. It’s not something that you trade economics against. It is a mutual benefit it keeps the players working and getting paid and it keeps our business forward.’ That’s how the conversation actually went.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. So let’s unpack.

First off, NBC Sports has no comment of our own about Manfred’s speculation about the sources of our story, as we do not talk about or reveal our confidential sources. As for his comment about “the way it was spun,” we stand by our report, thanks.

As for the substance, Manfred’s comment that the union “suggested a series of changes” that “would turn the Basic Agreement back 50 years” is not consistent with what we were told by our sources. Our sources told us that the union, rather than make any specific proposals, simply laid out its version of where things stand at present between owners and the players financially speaking. Revenue, salaries, free agent signings and things of that nature, while noting their dissatisfaction about that state of affairs. Of course, given that Manfred was actually at the meeting and, given that the MLBPA has declined comment on all of this we’ll leave that go.

But even if Manfred is right and the union made a bunch of proposals, is it really plausible that they were, essentially, retrograde proposals via which the union would seek to “turn back the Basic Agreement 50 years?”

In 1969 the players had no free agency. No arbitration. They were subject to the reserve clause which rendered them utterly powerless in every conceivable way. Going back 50 years — or even 30 years, which was when owners openly colluded against free agents and the minimum salary was still five figures — is surely not a thing the union wants to do. Yes, I presume the union would probably like to see a system more akin to that which existed in the relatively recent past, when free agency worked better for them and they received a higher percentage of league revenues, but Manfred’s characterization of the union’s stance, assuming it was not uncharacteristic hyperbole on his part, is not super plausible.

In contrast, I’ll note that Manfred did not comment on the part of our story where we reported that he said “maybe Marvin Miller’s financial system doesn’t work anymore.” We stand by our report that he did, in fact, say that. And we note that if someone was desirous of wanting a baseball economic system that did not have Marvin Miller’s fingerprints all over it, that system would, by definition, look very much like that which existed 50 years ago. Which leads me to wonder if Manfred is merely projecting when it comes to his characterization of the union’s position.

More important than all of that, though, is the final bit he had to say last night. A bit that, actually, is pretty consistent with our reporting on Wednesday.

Again, from Manfred, offering his own account of what he said to Clark and Meyer in negotiations this past summer:

I asked, in response to his suggestion, what was in that deal for the clubs? He said, ‘Labor peace.’ The way the conversation actually went is I said to him, ‘Labor peace is a mutual benefit. It’s not something that you trade economics against. It is a mutual benefit it keeps the players working and getting paid and it keeps our business forward.’

Even if you assume that, and not the way we reported it on Wednesday, was the exact verbiage, I’m not sure how it makes any difference. At bottom, it’s the exact same position: MLB is communicating that it is unwilling to make economic concessions in the face of a threat of a work stoppage. It’s one party to a negotiation telling the other party to the negotiation that even if it exercises the most drastic power it has at its disposal, it will not back down. Or, alternatively, it’s a demand that the one side disarm itself of its most potent weapon before the other side agrees to anything of substance.

That’s certainly something management can do, but it’s not something that it can do and still portray itself as seeking an amicable resolution to what appears will be a contentious negotiation. That’s, by definition, a hardline position.

Given that the general upshot of our report on Wednesday was that MLB was taking a hardline position in early negotiations, I don’t think anything Manfred had to say last night stands as a rebuttal.