And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 10, Mariners 2: This game was a Father’s Day treat for me. Why? Because I used it to teach my daughter how to keep score. I printed out scoresheets. I did a little sketch on the top of hers to illustrate the numbers which correspond with each defensive position. I paused the TV after complicated plays to explain to her why each play was scored the way it was. Around the sixth inning it was getting near the time I was going to have to make dinner but my girlfriend saw what was going down and went in and made it so I didn’t have to take time away. Even if it wasn’t the most competitive game on the planet, it was one of my favorites ever and one which, I think anyway, my daughter and I will remember forever.

My son? well, he’s not quite possessed of the attention span for keeping score yet. However, if he had known that the clubhouses filled up with poop after the game he too would have considered it his favorite game and one which, I think anyway, he would remember forever.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: CC Sabathia cruised until he got into the trouble in the ninth inning but, hey, that’s what Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera are for, right? Yes, but just barely. The Angels rallied for five but Mo finally closed the game out by fanning Albert Pujols. Yankees snap a five-game losing streak.

Blue Jays 7, Rangers 2: The sweep. Chien-Ming Wang won for the first time in over a year. Colby Rasmus homered for the third straight game. The Rangers are reeling, having scored only eight runs in their past six games, losing all of them.

Rockies 5, Phillies 2: Jhoulys Chacin and a lack of run support makes Cole Hamels a ten-time loser. Carlos Gonzalez hits his 20th dinger of the year. Over his last six starts Hamels has worked 37 and a third innings, striking out 42, not walking guys and not allowing homers. He’s 1-4 in those starts.

Astros 5, White Sox 4: The Astros win their fourth in a row, sweeping the Sox in the process. Oops — wraparound series. They can sweep today. Matt Dominguez had a three-run double. Jason Castro homered. The Sox have lost 12 of 13 on the road.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1: I thought of the Padres as a frisky team before the season began. Too bad you can’t take away most of April because they have, indeed, been pretty frisky since, going 15-13 in May and 9-5 in June. They’re only three games out in the no-one-wants-it NL West after sweeping Arizona. Kyle Blanks with a big three-run homer in the eighth to snap a 1-1 tie.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 3: He wasn’t as sharp as he was in his debut last week but Gerrit Cole wins his second start. The rookie allowed three runs on seven hits and not walking anyone in five and two-thirds.

Tigers 5, Twins 2: Doug Fister works fast and throws strikes and I still have no idea why the Mariners ever wanted to get rid of him. Torri Hunter hit his 300th career homer and had an RBI on a ground rule double.

Royals 5, Rays 3: The Royals great pitching continues. Wade Davis allowed two runs in six innings. Overall Royals pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of their past 15 games and the team has won 10 of 12

Marlins 7, Cardinals 2: Why baseball is baseball: the best team can face the worst team and lose two of three. And then the next day dawns, no one freaks out about it too much and the games begin again. Ricky Nolasco allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. The Cardinals dropped their first series since late April.

Mets 4, Cubs 3: Oh, Carlos Marmol. The Cubs’ “closer” allowed four runs in the ninth, including a walkoff three-run homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, spoiling Matt Garza’s seven shutout inning performance. I know the Cubs are trying to shop Marmol to a contender, but it’s not working.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: Chris Davis continues to feast on Red Sox pitching. He hit his MLB-best 23rd homer and Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to 14 games as Baltimore moves into a game and a half of Boston. Baltimore has taken six straight series from the Sox.

Reds 5, Brewers 1: Johnny Cueto returns from the DL, pitches six strong and even drives in a run on a suicide squeeze.

Indians 2, Nationals 0: Stephen Strasburg returned and pitched well — one run in five innings of work — but not as well as Corey Kluber. Kluber tossed eight shutout innings, striking out eight and not walking a soul.

Braves 3, Giants 0: Julio Teheran was fantastic, striking out eight in six shutout innings. More impressive: the millions who sat through a game with Curt Schilling in the booth without killing themselves.

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.