And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 6, Rangers 2: A homer and three RBI for Wil Myers as the Rays send the Rangers spiraling ever further into despair. Because the Indians lost too the Rangers didn’t fall out of the wild card slot, but they did fall out of the top spot, meaning that they’re now closer to falling out of the playoff picture than Tampa Bay is for now. The Orioles are two games back while the Yankees and Royals are both 2 1/2 games back.

Phillies 12, Marlins 2: Cliff Lee has correctly determined that the best way to win with the Phillies is to go all Baseball Bugs on the opposition. Fourteen strikeouts and four RBI by virtue of a  bases-loaded two-run single, an RBI triple, and another RBI single. That has to be some sort of combined awesomeness high water mark for a pitcher this season and maybe in several years. Oh, and Lee passed the 200 inning and 200 strikeout mark for the year too.

Padres 2, Pirates 0: Andrew Cashner with a one-hitter. It was a Maddux too, completed in fewer than 100 pitches. No walks. seven strikeouts. Simply dominant.

Rockies 6, Cardinals 2: But thankfully for the one-hit Pirates, the Cardinals lost too, keeping them tied with the Cardinals. Or maybe it was “thankfully for the Cardinals, the Pirates were one-hit.” I suppose you can take your pick. Anyway, Charlie Blackmon had three hits and drove in three runs for the Rockies.

White Sox 12, Twins 1: A seven run first inning for Chicago killed every incentive for folks back in Minnesota to watch. Assuming they had that incentive in the first place. Erik Johnson pitched six scoreless innings and got his first major league win.

Brewers 6, Cubs 1: Three hits including a two-run homer for Caleb Gindl.  Wily Peralta allowed only an unearned run in six innings while allowing five hits and striking out seven.

Tigers 4, Mariners 2: Rick Porcello struck out ten and won his 13th. At one point during this game the camera focused on Raul Ibanez. The girlfriend: “he looks like an old man.” Me: “Well, he is.” A few minutes later I got up off the couch, making all kinds of pained noises and walking funny and hunched because I painted a room on Sunday and by last night I was stiff all over. Meanwhile, Ibanez was running his butt off around third base and scoring a run. Old is relative.

Royals 7, Indians 1: The Indians lost a chance to slide into wild card position. Of course, given what Texas is doing lately — and given that the Royals are the Indians’ toughest opponents for the remainder of the year — they have time.

Reds 6, Astros 1: Jonny Cueto is back and he pitched five scoreless innings. Next outing will be a bigger test, though, as he will presumably face major leaguer hitters. Zack Cozart homered and drove in four.

Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1:  The Dodgers continue their late season slide. They’re lucky to have all kinds of sliding room — win the next two against these Dbacks and they clinch — but they don’t look like the juggernaut of summer. Hey, at least they’re giving maximum effort, though. Paul Goldschmidt with another homer.

Angels 12, Athletics 1: Jarrod Parker’s unbeaten streak ends as he takes his first loss since May 22. C.J. Wilson won his 17th and he himself is now unbeaten in his last 13 starts. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each hit homers in the eighth.

Braves vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.

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?