And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 5, Red Sox 1: David Price tossed a one-run, five hit complete game, with a solo homer by Mike Napoli the only real blemish. He needed a mere 97 pitches. That’s what happens when you throw 72 strikes. The Sox and Rays are once again tied in the loss column.

Dodgers 8, Blue Jays 3: For the second day in a row a team scores a boatload of runs in the tenth inning. We should probably come up with a name for that. I’m sure the Germans have a name for it with multiple syllables already because they’re so good at that. I’m thinking the word “shambles” has to be in it. Like “Exrasshambles” or something. Anyway, the Dodgers are apparently indestructible these days.

Pirates 4, Nationals 2: The “Kill the Win” alarm was buzzing loudly at Brian Kenny’s house last night as Stephen Strasburg tossed eight two-hit innings with 12 strikeouts and took the loss. That’s what happens, though, when one of those hits you allow is a solo homer and your opponent — Francisco Liranio — tosses shutout ball into the eighth. Drew Storen has been a hot mess for the Nats all year. The Nats haven’t won a game since the break and, my picking them as a team that could make a move in the second half notwithstanding, are now nine freakin’ games back.

Athletics 4, Astros 3: The A’s take their 11th of 12 games so far this year against Houston, this on a come from behind job powered by a Coco Crisp two-run homer. Someone asked Crisp after the game if the A’s offense relies too much on homers. The idea that a team hits too many homers always makes me chuckle. It’s like asking someone if they’re too rich or too thin.

Braves 8, Mets 2: A win, yes, but an awful loss in the form of Tim Hudson’s freak fractured ankle that will put him out for the season. Don’t seek out the video of this one, folks. It’s Tim Krumrie stuff.

Angels 1, Twins 0: Jered Weaver: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 9K. Pretty much says it all.

Brewers 3, Padres 1: Kyle Lohse with a strong outing. He’s quietly been pretty great for the Brewers lately, going 6-1 with a 2.51 ERA over his past 11 starts. The Brewers should probably try to flip him.

Indians 10, Mariners 1: Down goes the Mariners win streak. Scott Kazmir tossed one-hit ball for eight innings, allowing nothin’ but an unearned run. Michael Bourn hit a grand slam. Asdrubal Cabrera homered and drove in three. Eleven runs scored in this game and it lasted a mere six minutes more than the 1-0 Angels-Twins game.

Cardinals 11, Phillies 3: Another day Ruben Amaro is reported to still be a buyer at the deadline, another day the Phillies get thumped. Sixteen hits for the Cardinals.

Rockies 2, Marlins 1: Yet another nice pitching performance last night. This one from Jorge De La Rosa, who tossed six scoreless. Colorado can force a 2-2 tie in what I like to think of as the 1993 Expansion Series if they win today.

Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 6: Chicago had a 6-0 lead, blew it, but then Nate Schierholtz — who had five RBI overall — drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th. Basically any team could’ve had Schierholtz before the season began. No one wanted him but the Cubs. He’s hitting .277/.334/.521. How’s your team’s right fielder doin’?

Rangers 3, Yankees 1: Matt Garza makes his Texas debut and allowed only one unearned run in seven and a third. Homers from A.J. Pierzynski and David Murphy.

Reds 8, Giants 3: Mike Leake somehow survived six innings of one-run ball despite allowing 12 hits. He also went 3 for 4 and scored a run. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Devin Mesoraco each drove in two. The Reds finish their season series with the Giants having taken six of seven. I suppose that doesn’t totally make up for last year’s playoffs, but it’s something.

Tigers 6, White Sox 2: Anibal Sanchez joins the parade of great starting pitching performances last night, tossing six scoreless. Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter homered.

Royals 4, Orioles 3: Two homers for Eric Hosmer. More like Eric Homer, amirite?  God, I don’t know why I keep doing that. More coffee please.  Good morning everyone.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts continues to cry poor

Tom Ricketts
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
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MLB owners and the MLB Players Association continue to hash out details, some in public, about a 2020 baseball season. The owners have been suggesting a shorter season, claiming that they lose money on every game played without fans in attendance. The union wants a longer season, since players are — as per the March agreement — being paid a prorated salary. Players thus make more money over the 114 games the MLBPA suggested than the 50 or so the owners want.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has been among the more vocal owners in recent weeks, claiming that the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing shutdown of MLB has greatly hurt MLB owners’ business. Speaking to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Ricketts claimed, “The scale of losses across the league is biblical.”

Ricketts said, “Here’s something I hope baseball fans understand. Most baseball owners don’t take money out of their team. They raise all the revenue they can from tickets and media rights, and they take out their expenses, and they give all the money left to their GM to spend.” Ricketts continued, “The league itself does not make a lot of cash. I think there is a perception that we hoard cash and we take money out and it’s all sitting in a pile we’ve collected over the years. Well, it isn’t. Because no one anticipated a pandemic. No one expects to have to draw down on the reserves from the past. Every team has to figure out a way to plug the hole.”

Pertaining to Ricketts’ claim that “the league itself does not make a lot of cash,” Forbes reported in December that, for the 17th consecutive season, MLB set a new revenue record, this time at $10.7 billion. In accounting, revenues are calculated before factoring in expenses, but unless the league has $10 billion in expenses, I cannot think of a way in which Ricketts’ statement can be true.

MLB owners notably don’t open their accounting books to the public. Because the owners were crying poor during negotiations, the MLBPA asked them to provide proof of financial distress. The owners haven’t provided those documents. Thus, unless Ricketts opens his books, his claim can be proven neither true nor false, and should be taken with the largest of salt grains. If owners really are hurting as badly as they say they are, they should be more than willing to prove it. That they don’t readily provide that proof suggests they are being misleading.

It’s worth noting that the Ricketts family has a history of not being forthcoming about their money. Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts got into hot water last year after it was found he had used inaccurate information when paying property taxes. In 2007, he bought two properties and demolished both, building a new, state-of-the-art house. For years, Ricketts used information pertaining to the older, demolished property rather than the current property, which drastically lowered his property taxes. Based on the adjustment, Ricketts’ property taxes increased from $828,000 to $1.96 million for 2019, according to The Chicago Tribune. Ricketts also had to pay back taxes for the previous three years.

At any rate, the owners want to pass off the financial risk of doing business onto their labor force. As we have noted here countless times, there is inherent risk in doing business. Owning a Major League Baseball team has, for decades, been nearly risk-free, which has benefited both the owners and, to a lesser extent, its workforce. The pandemic has thrown a wrench into everybody’s plans, but the financial losses these last three months are part of the risk. Furthermore, when teams have done much better business than expected, the owners haven’t benevolently spread that wealth out to their players, so why should the players forfeit even more of their pay than they already are when times are tough?