And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 11, Marlins 1: Andre Ethier went 5-for-5 with a homer and three RBI in this laugher. Although the Marlins had the highlight of the night. Hold on to you butts, my friends, and watch this drive:

 

Giants 8, Astros 1: Chris Heston tossed a two-hit complete game while striking out ten. Seeing a complete game from anyone who isn’t a thirtysomething frontline starter these days is sort of like seeing a double rainbow or the Shamrock Shake back at McDonalds or something.

White Sox 4, Brewers 2: Chris Sale had been suspended and thus had five days of rest instead of the usual four between starts. The extra day must’ve done him wonders as he struck out 11 brewers in eight innings of three-hit ball. In other news, “five-day” suspensions cause starting pitchers to, in reality, only be pushed back a day. May as well just do fines for starters instead of suspensions. The extra rest actually helped the guy here.

Royals 7, Rangers 6: The Royals took the lead in the ninth and handed it over to Greg Holland, who blew the save. Alex Gordon hit a homer in the 10th to give them the lead once again and it was once again handed over to Greg Holland and this time he locked it down. Well, got the win anyway, not the save. You can’t really blow the save then get the save. Statistics don’t work like that.

Cubs 6, Mets 1: Noah Syndergaard made his big league debut and it was not one he’s going to count among the best in his career, I don’t think. He started strong, matching zeroes with Jake Arrieta until the sixth inning when the Cubs hung four on him. Oh well, welcome to the big leagues, kid. Kris Bryant went 3-for-4 with a homer and a triple. The homer was a long one, but the triple was maybe more impressive, going the opposite way, farther than it should’ve given the swing he put on it. Guy just has crazy power:

 

Rays 4, Yankees 2: Chris Archer looked like he was going to get pummeled early, but managed to only give up two runs in a first inning when the first five men he faced reached base. Then the Rays rallied for two in the seventh and two in the eighth. Attendance was 10,417. Not even the Yankees can draw in Tampa Bay anymore.

Reds 4, Braves 3: Yesterday, when I tweeted about how I was heading down to Cincinnati to cover this game, someone on Twitter told me that I should ask Bryan Price why Devin Mesoraco  — who has been limited to pinch-hitting duties due to hip problems, thus leaving the Reds with, in effect, a 24-man roster — hasn’t been placed on the disabled list yet. It’s still a good question, but last night it was good for the Reds that he was around, given his pinch-hit walkoff double. The reason that was the winning run and not merely the tying run was because Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz threw away a ball while trying to get the lead runner on a sac bunt in the seventh rather than take the dang out the Reds were trying to give him. The lead runner scored the tying run. In other news, it’s harder than you think to not yell down at the field at the top of your lungs from the press box when the team you root for does something boneheaded.

Tigers 2, Twins 1: A walkoff bloop single for Ian Kinsler in the tenth, set up by an Anthony Gose double. Before that Alfredo Simon and Kyle Gibson dueled.

Pirates 7, Phillies 2: Four straight wins for the Pirates who you knew dang well weren’t going to scuffle along all year. And you knew Andrew McCutchen was going to right the ship too. Here he singled and hit a two-run homer to back A.J. Burnett, who allowed only one earned run in seven innings.

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 2: Edwin Encarnacion hit two homers. This is where I’d insert that “Nacho Libre” clip, but someone went and took it off of YouTube. Oh, there are a lot of them there still, but not the one that’s just ten seconds long with no pre-roll ad. Really, YouTube ads have killed the short video clip as insert comedy. This makes me way sadder than it should, because that was some comedy right there. Not as much comedy as the Orioles’ defense last night, but some good belly laughs.

Cardinals 8, Indians 3: A two-out three-run homer by Matt Holliday was just one of the many, many two-out RBI hits for the Cardinals. Indeed, all of their runs came on two-out hits. Indians pitchers: 66% is a failing grade no matter where you are. Lance Lynn shut the Tribe out for six innings, striking out 9.

Mariners 11, Padres 4: There was a time, not too long ago, when an M’s-Pads might not score 15 runs between them in a three game series. Here the ball flew out of Safeco, with Mike Zunino hitting two homers, Nelson Cruz hitting his league-leading 15th and the Mariners smacking six in all.

Athletics 9, Red Sox 2: Lots of blowouts out west last night, eh? The A’s snap their six-game losing streak thanks in part to Josh Reddick, who had four hits with a homer and three RBI. Eric Sogard drove in three himself, as Boston’s starting pitching continues to be a horror show.

Angels 5, Rockies 2: The Angels rallied for three in the eighth, thanks in part to Albert Pujols straight-up stealing second base and then coming around to score on a single. He reached base by snapping an 0-for-13 skid. But I’m sure no one was worried about that because, obviously, Pujols is all about his wheels and speed don’t slump. The Rockies have lost ten in a row. Which is some seriously special stuff.

Diamondbacks 14, Nationals 6: Two homers for Mark Trumbo, who drove in four. The Nationals had never given up 14 runs before. Not since they were the Expos, at least. Even if they and their fans like to pretend they were never the Expos.

The Braves are not just a baseball team. They’re a real estate company too.

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I’ve taken the Braves to task quite a bit in this space lately. This post and then, later, this post got a lot of attention, both from Braves fans who agree and nod their head and those who disagree and think I’m an overly cynical bad fan or whatever.

I don’t think I’m a bad fan or that I’m cynical. I just look at the facts on the ground and draw conclusions from them. The overarching fact that seems to matter here — separate and apart from any individual move or non-move the Braves front office makes — is that the Braves, as an organization, have interests other than winning baseball games and those interests, in turn, cannot help but impact the Braves’ approach to winning baseball games.

Interests like real estate. As the Cobb Business Journal reported yesterday, the Braves are involved in a complex bond transaction, the details of which bore me, but the upshot of which is that the Braves are building office towers:

The Development Authority of Cobb County signed off on a necessary step for the Braves to get the loan on Tuesday . . . Jonathan Smith, deputy general counsel for the Braves, said at Tuesday’s meeting that the project will span about four acres owned by the Braves. About half the land is being leased by Thyssenkrupp for the R&D tower, which the German conglomerate will own.

The other half will house the office building, which the Braves are building and will own, according to Smith. Half the office building is being leased to Thyssenkrupp, Smith said, and the other half is being leased to other companies, though no tenants have been announced yet.

This is all part of the Battery complex which surrounds SunTrust Park and in which the Braves — through a vehicle called Braves Development Company — have a substantial interest. When you appreciate the magnitude of that development and the sort of revenue the Braves are realizing from it now and will realize in the future, it’s hard not to conclude that the Braves did not get SunTrust Park built for them simply or even primarily to become a more competitive baseball team. They got it built for them so that they can become a real estate development company that happens to have a baseball team as one of its many components.

And don’t think that that the relationship between the development and the ball club is some weak and attenuated thing. Check out the Braves’ org chart, as set forth on MLB.com, with my highlight added:

Whatever the legal relationship is between Braves Development Company and the baseball team, both entities answer to Terry McGuirk, apparently on equal footing based on the titles of the people who run them. As such, when McGuirk says, as he did last week, that he “couldn’t be more optimistic” about the Atlanta Braves, it makes one wonder if he means the baseball team or the overall venture, only one part of which is concerned with baseball. Indeed, one of his answers to the question about why all the increased revenues aren’t being plowed into the team was “it costs a lot to build this edifice.” That answer was likely more literal than most people understood.

Sure, the Braves want to win — I truly believe them when they say they want to — but achieving that desire is far less critical to the Braves, financially speaking, than it would be if they did not have office towers to build, own and lease out with favorable tax treatment and other governmental assistance. The hit from missing the playoffs, for example, is a drop in the bucket compared to what it might’ve been back when they played in Turner Field or Fulton County Stadium. At the same time, money that is realized by the Braves, their real estate ventures, or both, can be used in any number of ways. Maybe the baseball team is the priority sometimes. Maybe it’s not.

Observing that does not make one cynical. The Braves are a baseball team with real estate interests. Or maybe they’re a real estate company with baseball interests. The proper way to characterize that depends on a lot of stuff about their financials and their priorities the Braves are likely unwilling to share with us, but it’s a simple fact that they have priorities that have little if anything to do with baseball. It’s fair game, then, to question the organization’s priorities when scrutinizing the baseball decisions they make.