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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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As I said the other day, on occasion I won’t be doing full ATH recaps. It won’t be often, but it’s going to happen. Sometimes it will be because my sleep schedule or my personal life gets messed up and frazzled and I simply don’t have the kind of mental or physical energy at 6am that I do most days. Sometimes it’s as simple as a time crunch in the morning. I have kids in school and sometimes things come up — like today’s conference with one of my kids’ teachers — that require me to treat my morning like most you treat yours, what with the getting dressed and taking a shower and all of that. Though obviously not in that order.

That said I DID DO full recaps today! I was lucky, there were only eight games played and a rainout, so I had time to put this together. I just say this now so, when that isn’t the case and I have to punt sometimes, you guys don’t get grumpy. Cool? Cool. Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 10, Phillies 6: There are a lot of people who were certain that the Phillies would be the worst team in baseball this year. My gut was to doubt that some because they’re farther along on their tear-down/rebuild than some think and they finally have some prospects. This by no means made me think they’d be GOOD. Oh God, not at all, but sometimes young hungry kids and organizations which have definitively closed the book on the past go on little frisky streaks. The truly decrepit teams are the ones with a bad mix of veterans and a front office which hasn’t definitively shown that it’s looking forward.

Then the Phillies went and got swept by one of those teams that fits the latter description and I dunno if I shouldn’t just go all-in with the people who are certain.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: A key to the White Sox being better than a lot of us so-called experts think they’ll be will be to get good pitching beyond Sale and Quintana. In the past two games Carlos Rodon gave them seven solid innings in a losing effort and Mat Latos gave them six shutout innings. This is a good sign. Maybe it’s a sign about pitching against the A’s in Oakland, but it’s at least a view of how things could go well. The Chisox take three of four to start the season.

Yankees 8, Astros 5: Mark Teixeira hit a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the seventh to power the Yankees to a series win over Houston. Starlin Castro hit another. After the game Teixeira said “The Yankees are the whole package. I mean once you play for the Yankees, you’ve kind of reached the pinnacle of Major League Baseball.” I know a lot of people roll their eyes at that sort of thing, but I kind of liked that he said that and have some deeper thoughts about how he can say that kind of thing plausibly, apart from the fact that the Yankees won a lot. I’ll have that up in a post later this morning.

Marlins 6, Nationals 4: David Phelps was like Dante in “Clerks” in that he wasn’t even supposed to be here today. Because of a rain delay early, the Marlins lost their starter, Adam Conley, after an inning and Phelps, a swingman, had to go four. He went four scoreless, got the win and even hit an RBI single. I wonder if he has any opinions about innocent contractors hired to work on the Death Star but who were killed; casualties of a war they had nothing to do with.

Giants 12, Dodgers 6: I guess the Dodgers weren’t going to shut everyone out forever. I guess playing an actually good team will complicate such plans. They did make it until the fifth inning here, giving them a 31-inning scoreless streak, but by the time Hunter Pence hit a grand slam and Joe Panik drove in three, that was pretty cold comfort.

Orioles 4, Twins 2: The Orioles get the sweep. Manny Machado and Joey Rickard homered and Ubaldo Jimenez was strong over seven. Fun thing: in the course of any offseason any number of players come up in the news, so one obviously thinks of them. Big names, free agents, etc. Other players, even if they aren’t in the news, you occasionally think of, at least if you have baseball on the mind. Like, you remember that a thing exists called the Tampa Bay Rays, and your mind might register, for a second, that a person named “Desmond Jennings” plays baseball and that you are familiar with his work. Some guys you just never think of until the season begins again. Ubaldo Jimenez, this offseason was one of them apparently. Because when I saw the box score here I went “oh yeah, he’s a baseball player I haven’t thought about since at least September.” Maybe that’s too much of a glimpse into how my mind works. Sorry, but I work alone and talk to my cats more than anyone. This is how it goes.

Cubs 14, Diamondbacks 6: The Cubs scoring 14 runs and winning is the coldest possible comfort to a really scary and potentially awful situation with Kyle Schwarber. He has no broken bones and he’ll have an MRI today, but he was in pain and on crutches last night, so that doesn’t bode super well. Here’s hoping it turns out better than it looks.

Angels 4, Rangers 3: Albert Pujols with the walkoff RBI single in the ninth. It came after the Rangers intentionally walked Mike Trout to get to Pujols. In a lot of similar situations, players who come through with that big hit imply that they took at as a sign of disrespect or something and that they went to bat following the intentional walk with added inspiration or whatever. Big kudos to Pujols for not playing that card. He said it exactly perfectly:

“I would do the same thing if I was the manager in that situation. Mike is the best player in the game, and as a manager, you don’t want the best player in the game to beat you.”

All that mattered was that RBI which won the game.

Red Sox vs. Indians: POSTPONED — Last time I was here it was raining, It ain’t raining anymore. The streets were drowning, waters waning, all the ruins washed ashore. Now I’m just looking through the rubble, trying to find out who we were. Last time I was here it was raining. It ain’t raining anymore.

Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph: meet Juan Marichal and John Roseboro

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Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns. No one is gonna be talking nearly as much about the outcome today, however, as they are the carnage.

Specifically, the carnage that led to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett getting ejected from the game after ripping Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off, swinging it at him and connecting with Rudolph’s skull as the game came to a close. Things were already chippy as all get-out, but that obviously led to a brawl which will lead to a ton of suspensions, including a possibly record-breaking one for Garrett. For all your analysis on that, check out PFT, obviously.

The incident will dominate the sports shows today because malicious attempts to injure another player with a piece of equipment are pretty rare in professional sports. There was at least one incident in baseball history, however, that was analogous to what went down in Cleveland last night.

It took place on August 22, 1965 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco during a Dodgers-Giants game. That’s when Giants ace Juan Marichal, playing the role of Garrett, took a baseball bat to the head of Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, standing in for Rudolph.

The Dodgers and Giants are rivals, of course, and in 1965 the two teams were in a pitched battle for the N.L. pennant, with the Dodgers leading San Francisco by a game and a half as the day began.

Pitchers in 1965 were a bit more aggressive about claiming the inside part of the plate than they are today, and on that day, everyone seemed cranky. Marichal knocked Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills down with some chin music in the top of the second for, it appears, committing the terrible transgression of bunting for a single in his first at bat of the game. In response Koufax fired a fastball over Willie Mays’ head, sending the ball to the backstop. So everyone was even, yeah?

Nah. Marichal responded in the top of third with an inside fastball that sent Dodgers first baseman Ron Fairly sprawling to the dirt. At that point home plate umpire Shag Crawford issued a warning, indicating that that the next close pitch from either team would result in an ejection. Walter Alston’s Dodgers, though, were a clever bunch. Sure, maybe a close pitch was going to get an ace ejected in a pennant race, but there are other ways to buzz someone’s tower, right?

Pitchers batted in every game back then, of course, and Marichal came to bat in the bottom of the third. Koufax didn’t throw at him, though. Instead, Roseboro, catching for L.A., threw the ball back to Koufax in such a way as to have it sail close to Marichal’s head as he stood in the batter’s box. He later admitted in his autobiography that it was no accident, he was trying to intimidate Marichal.

Marichal flipped out, clubbing Roseboro with his bat, after which all hell broke loose (all photos, and the original caption from 1965, are from Getty Images):

 

Juan Marichal holding bat, John Roseboro attacked, and Sandy Koufax closes in.

 

Roseboro throws a punch at Marichal while latter swings bat and Koufax comes in to try and break it up.

 

On deck batter Giant Tito Fuentes pulls Roseboro away while Marichal wields bat at Koufax while umpire Shag Crawford and Giant coach Charlie Fox try to break it up.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford wrestles with Marichal while Dodgers Jim Gilliam (19) and Koufax come in. Rear is Giants coach Charlie Fox. Marichal falls to the ground on top of Shag Crawford while Giants Orlando Cepeda joins the melee.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford is shown here wrestling with Marichal as Dodgers Jim Gilliam (#19) and Sandy Koufax join in. In the rear is Giants’ coach Charlie Fox.

 

Identifiable L-R: Dodger Jim Gilliam (19); John Roseboro (with chest protector); Giants Orlando Cepeda (30); Cap Peterson (17); Warren Spahn; and Mgr. Herman Franks (3).

Willie Mays was credited with keeping the brawl from getting worse. Roseboro had military and martial arts training and, as you can see in the second photo, he was not slowed by his head injury — an injury that would require 14 stitches — from trying to take Marichal apart. Mays was the one who ultimately pulled Roseboro away and out of the fracas. He even held a towel to Roseboro’s head which by then had begun to bleed profusely. The fight eventually ended, with several players sustaining injuries due to kicks and accidental spikings of hands and legs and stuff.

The incident delayed the game for 14 minutes but the fallout beyond that was pretty tame compared to today’s standards. Marichal got an eight day suspension which, because of scheduled doubleheaders, caused him to miss ten games. He was also fined $1,750, which is around $15,000 today. Roseboro only missed two games due to his injury. The Dodgers would lose this game thanks to a big homer from Mays off of Koufax, but the Dodgers would go on to win the pennant and defeat the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.

There was additional fallout: Roseboro sued Marichal for $110,000 in damages. They’d eventually settle, with Roseboro receiving $7,500 from Marichal.

But there was no lingering bad blood. In interviews after the incident both players admitted that there was much more on their minds in 1965 that might’ve contributed to their aggression on that day. There was the rivalry, of course, and the pennant race. But Marichal had been much more personally distracted by a civil war in his native Dominican Republic that raged in 1965 and would not end until September. Roseboro had been, understandably, affected by the Watts Riots in Los Angeles which had taken place just over a week before this game. When you feel helpless about situation A, you often channel your feelings into situation B and both men said that something like that was probably simmering.

Marichal would play for the Dodgers for two games in 1975, the final year of his career. Roseboro had already retired, but Marichal’s cup of coffee with L.A. allowed them to meet up at a Dodgers old-timers game in 1982. There they posed for this photo: 

Getty Images

“There were no hard feelings on my part,” Roseboro told the L.A. Times in 1990. Roseboro died in 2002. Marichal was an honorary pallbearer at his funeral.

Let’s check in with Garrett and Ruldolph in 37 years to see how they’re doing.