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Let us talk more about baseball in London


Since we talked about British stuff in the last post, let’s keep that ball rolling and link to the Boston Globe’s story about how Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts is distantly related to Meghan Markle, who is going to marry Prince Harry a week from Saturday. It’s an interesting article if you’re into genealogy, the history of slavery and everything tied up in that.

Oh, and I learned by reading it that Mookie Betts‘ dad and my dad are the same age even though I’m 19 years older than Betts. I’m trying now to picture my dad raising kids in the late 1990s and early-to-mid-2000s and the picture is an exhausting one. My dad was bragging about getting AARP discounts when Betts was still in diapers. If he had to raise me then he’d have keeled over and died, I’m sure of it.

Obviously, though, the story has little to do with actual baseball, apart from Betts wondering if Markle is a baseball fan, so let me use this post as a platform to muse a bit more about that London Series next year. Randomly:

  • MLB should definitely, immediately, print up posters with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge on them with the words “Bangers and Mash.” They’d sell a million of them;
  • As I’ve written about before, baseball was not invented. Rather, it evolved from a number of different bat-and-ball games from England, including rounders, cricket and bat-and-trap. Worth noting that they play bat-and-trap at pubs and the players drink beer while they’re doing it. Just throwing that out there, Rob Manfred.
  • A commenter on the London Series post said that we shouldn’t send the Yankees and Red Sox to the UK because they’re good and their games matter. He said we should send the Reds and Marlins instead. Can you imagine that? I know the NFL sends the Jaguars to London all the time, but I’d like to think Rob Manfred is too smart to send two of our absolutely crappiest teams on a mission to create interest in baseball across the pond. Making Brits watch Homer Bailey pitch probably violates all manner of international humanitarian treaties. It’d risk the biggest rift in US-UK relations since The Trent Affair;
  • In the London Series, Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts play left field, Brett Gardner and Andrew Benintendi play right and everyone runs the bases clockwise. The bullpen carts don’t have right-hand drive, though, because bullpen carts are dumb and no one uses them;
  • If we ever have a team over there permanently, the new hit milestone will be 2222.25, due to the exchange rate;
  • John Sterling has a little over a year to come up with a home run call that involves “Brexit.” yes, I know that may alienate half of the British population, but Sterling alienates a lot of Americans too, so it’ll put everyone in the proper mood for a Yankees game;
  • If Aaron Boone and Alex Cora come out to argue with an umpire, they are required to start off with “Wot’s all this, then?”

Finally, let us circle back to this whole “Mookie Betts is related to future royalty” thing. From what I understand this Meghan Markle is a nice woman and I wish her the best of things in life. That said, while I’ve got some English blood in my veins and while I’ll cop to being something of an Anglophile, I can’t abide monarchy, and especially can’t abide it infiltrating our National Pastime.

The only royalty I want in baseball is King Felix, Prince Fielder, Duke Snider, the team from Kansas City and an occasional reference to a curveball as “Sir Charles.” The only ancient, anachronistic relic I will tolerate in the game is pitchers batting. The only people I’ll abide being elevated to positions of prominence due to nothing other than accident of birth are play-by-play announcers. In fact, the only connection to the British monarchy in baseball that I approve of is the Reggie Jackson “I. Must. Kill. The. Queen” scene in “The Naked Gun.” My God, does that still hold up.

Ok, that’s all I got right now. I am — for real — leaving for the UK a week from today for my delayed honeymoon and will be there for like nine days. While I’m gone I’ll make a point to soak up more British culture so I can properly traffic in British stereotypes and find more fuel for sone anti-monarchy rants, as I know that’s why you come to this website.






And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 7, Blue Jays 6: Kevin Pillar made his first return to Toronto after being traded away a couple of weeks ago, got a warm welcome from his former hometown crowd ad then knocked in a run in the second inning. I feel like that’s the baseball equivalent of coming back home during Thanksgiving break during your freshman year in college, seeing “old friends” that you were JUST hanging out with in early August and having them buy you shots. I mean, it’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but let’s not pretend this is some long-in-coming reunion or whatever. To extend this tortured analogy, Pillar’s Giants teammates were like the guys from his dorm who nonetheless came back with him and who were kinda rude to all his old high school buddies. Pablo Sandoval, Joe Panik, Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt all homered, which is the equivalent of them drinking too much, hitting on the old high school friends’ sisters and just not knowing how things are done back home, man. “You’ve changed, Kevin” they said. “Why don’t you go back to college. You seem to like those guys more anyway.”

Padres 6, Mariners 3: For the second time in three days someone ally-ooped a would-be fly out into a homer. Here it was Mallex Smith, who did the honors for Austin Hedges:

It didn’t matter that much — the Padres had already established what would be their winning margin — but guys should really stop doing that. Franmil Reyes homered twice for the Friars. He required no assists in doing so.

Astros 10, Twins 4: Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then was outscored 10-1 the rest of the way. José Altuve hit a three-run homer. Alex Bregman drove in three. Michael Brantley had an RBI single.

In related news, ten years ago today Michael Brantley went 0-for-4 with a strikeout for the Columbus Clippers in a 9-7 win over the Indianapolis Indians. I know this because, as Facebook reminds me this morning, that was the first baseball game I ever took my kids to. That game also featured Andrew McCutchen leading off, Neil Walker at third base, Luis Cruz at second, Garrett Jones in right and Erik Kratz catching for Indy. For Columbus, in addition to Brantley, David Delucci was in left, Luis Valbuena (RIP) at short, and Chris Gimenez at DH. Matt LaPorta played in that game too. He’s the guy the Brewers sent to Cleveland the year before in the CC Sabathia trade. I thought he’d be a good one, but alas. Torey Lovullo was the manager for the Clippers. My son, not yet four, got kinda sick to his stomach on cotton candy that evening. My daughter, then five, wore all pink, which would mortify her today (she can blame her mom for that). They’re gonna kill me for posting photos too, but I don’t care. Ah, memories.

Tigers 7, Red Sox 4; Tigers 4, Red Sox 2: Chris Sale was a lot more Chris Sale-like in game one of yesterday’s doubleheader, striking out ten guys in five innings and looking much sharper than he’s been. The Red Sox bullpen has continued to be a tire fire, though, coughing up five runs in four innings of work. Josh Harrison hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth. Ronny Rodriguez had three hits, including a homer. Xander Bogaerts homered twice in a losing cause. Detroit took the nightcap too, with Brandon Dixon hitting a three-run double and Ron Gardenhire using eight pitchers in a nine inning game. This when his starter went five. Dear God, his feet must be tired from walking out the mound so much. But hey, results are results. The Tigers have won four of five.

Marlins 3, Indians 1: Carlos Carrasco was cruising until he injured his knee and had to leave. That sucked for this game but sucks worse long term if he has to miss a lot of time. As soon as he left, Jorge Alfaro homered on the first pitch from reliever Neil Ramírez, giving the Fish a 1-0 lead. They’d never trail in the game thanks to solid starting work from Pablo López, who allowed only one run, unearned, while pitching into the seventh.

Mets 9, Phillies 0: Zack Wheeler struck out 11 dudes in seven shutout innings doubled in two and hit a homer and scored a run on another play. What a night. Todd Frazier hit a grand slam. Late in the game Mets reliever Jacob Rhame sent a couple of fastballs over Rhys Hoskins‘ head, apparently in retaliation for a plunking in Monday’s game. The benches halfheartedly cleared but nothing came of it. Anyway, the Phillies look terrible lately. They’ve lost five of six.

Diamondbacks 2, Pirates 1: Luke Weaver outdueled Trevor Williams, allowing one run to Williams’ two while scattering six hits over six and a third. The winning run came on a diving slide by Jarrod Dyson, who was on third but dashed home on a hot shot to second base with the corners drawn in. He was originally called out but was ruled safe on replay:

Wheels, man.

Reds 7, Braves 6: Yasiel Puig is heating up. He was 2-for-3 with a homer and three driven in. The Reds blew an early 3-0 lead, though, and found themselves trailing by the sixth before battling back and then holding on to thwart a second Braves rally. Reds batters drew nine walks off of Atlanta pitching. Woof. In related news, I’ll be at tonight’s Braves-Reds game, sitting behind home plate. I’ll be the guy in the Braves cap wondering how he’s gonna drive home two hours after the game and get enough sleep to wake up to do tomorrow’s recaps. If the game is anything less than crisp I may just put up a list of scores tomorrow. We’re all allowed to mail one in, right?

Orioles 9, White Sox 1: Dwight Smith Jr. hit a three-run homer and teammates Renato Núñez, Chris Davis and Joey Rickard all went deep as well, all off of Ivan Nova. Andrew Cashner gave up one run over seven innings to win his fourth straight start. It’d own if the O’s lost 100+ games but Cashner somehow won 20. He’s currently in a five-way tie for the AL lead in that department and is on pace for 26 right now.

Rays 5, Royals 2: Jalen Beeks — who came in in the second inning following an opener — struck out seven in four and two-thirds shutout innings and Mike Zunino homered for the second straight game to break the Rays’ losing streak. The Royals, however, have dropped five in a row.

Cardinals 4, Brewers 3Paul DeJong hit a tie-breaking, leadoff homer in the eighth and Yadier Molina had three hits and two RBI. All three of the Brewers’ runs came on solo homers. All Milwaukee’s runs came on home runs in Monday’s big loss too. If they were the Yankees three columnists would be writing “do they hit too many homers” columns today. Thank god they’re not the Yankees. The Cardinals have won four in a row. The Brewers have lost five of six.

Cubs 7, Dodgers 2: Chicago built up a 6-0 lead after the second inning and skated from there. Willson Contreras‘ bases-loaded double in the first was the biggest hit, Anthony Rizzo‘s two-run homer in the second the next biggest. Javier Báez homered for the Cubbies as well. Báez also did this:

Which was somehow not called as running out of the baseline but since he got stranded at first base and since it didn’t matter in the game’s outcome who cares? It was fun.

Nationals 6, Rockies 3: Patrick Corbin pitched six pretty strong innings and singled and scored a run when Víctor Robles hit a three-run double. Not a bad night for a pitcher at Coors Field.

Yankees 7, Angels 5: Luke Voit hit two solo homers as the walking wounded Yankees won again. Mike Ford, who is a person I’ve totally heard of before today, yes sir, also homered. The Yankees have won five straight and seven of their last eight despite having 13 players on the injured list. A dead cat bounce? Maybe. Playing a bunch of games against the Royals and Angels helps too.

Athletics 11, Rangers 5: Seems like every Rangers game features someone scoring 10-12 runs every night, be it them or the opposition. Last night it was the opposition as Matt Chapman homered and walked three times, Marcus Semien had a two-run double and Stephen Piscotty banged out four hits and scored three times. The A’s put up a six-run fourth inning. Game over.