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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 5, Twins 2: Cleveland had a 2-1 lead for several innings when the Twins tied it in the top of the ninth thanks to a Migel Sano homer (remember Miguel Sano?). Trevor Hildenberger was then called in by Paul Molitor because he knows the old baseball maxim of “make sure you use the reliever with the highest ERA in your bullpen in a tight game against a good team.” He also knows that, after he allows two base runners on, you leave that guy in to face one of the most dangerous batters in the game in Francisco Lindor. This is why, when Lindor hit a walkoff three-run homer to send the Twins to defeat, Molitor could sleep easy, knowing that he played this one by the book.

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 5: Boston wins their 10th of 11 games and, as I said, oh, a dozen Red Sox wins ago, it’s almost getting boring. They’re even getting manna from heaven now, with Rafael Devers coming off the DL to hit a two-run homer. Tomorrow the Ghost of Ted Williams will probably fly in with his dog on a chrono-synclastic infundibulum and go 4-for-5 with three dingers. It’s just rolling that for the Red Sox these days. J.D. Martinez had three hits and Xander Bogaerts had three RBI, because Boston’s offense is powered by the Universal Will to Become.

Diamondbacks 6, Phillies 0: Patrick Corbin pitched shutout ball into the eighth, Eduardo Escobar knocked in three and David Peralta had four hits and plated a couple. The Dbacks own a half-game lead in the NL West right now and head out on a nine-game road trip in which they face three weak teams in the Reds, Rangers and Padres. Things are looking pretty decent. The Phillies, meanwhile, lost a game of ground to Atlanta, which . . .

Braves 8, Nationals 3: . . . beat the Nats pretty soundly, thanks to Charlie Culberson‘s three-run homer and two-run blasts from Ronald Acuña and Tyler Flowers. Acuña also did this:

Atlanta has won eight of 10 to move within a half-game of the Phillies. Washington is now six games back.

Yankees 7, White Sox 3: It was tied early but Giancarlo Stanton‘s second inning grand slam ended that nonsense and, effectively, ended the game. Aaron Hicks would also go deep as Luis Severino allowed three runs in seven to pick up his 15th win on the year. It was Severino’s first win in a month. It was, somehow, Stanton’s first grand slam in four years. I guess it’s maybe not that surprising given that three of those years were spent in Miami and it wasn’t like he had a conga line of base runners in front of him down there, but still.

Mets 8, Reds 0: I wrote about this one yesterday afternoon. Short version: Jacob deGrom can’t do it by himself and, yesterday, for the first time in ages, he didn’t have to.

Orioles 5, Rays 4: Trey Mancini hit a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth to give Baltimore the win. The Orioles committed five errors. It was the first time they’ve done that since 1983. Of course, they also won the World Series in 1983, so maybe this is important. This means somethings. *sculpts potatoes.*

Rangers 11, Mariners 7: Joey Gallo homered twice and knocked in four. Our dude even raised his average to a cool .200. Way to go, Joey! Yovani Gallardo allowed two runs on three hits, in six innings of work, winning his seventh game in nine starts this season. deGrom would love to talk to him about how to get run support, I imagine. Mike Zunino hit two homers for the Mariners in a losing cause.

Pirates 4, Rockies 3: Chris Archer‘s second start as a Pirate went better than his first, allowing two runs over five innings. He did give up a homer. After the game he said, “The homer I gave up was one of the only times I shook Cervelli off. That was my bad. I should have listened to him.” I’d like to think that Cervelli told the batter what was coming. The Pirates took two of three from Colorado, which scored only six runs in the series.

Angels 6, Tigers 0Kole Calhoun hit a leadoff homer and Justin Upton and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning as the Angels cruised. Detroit has lost six in a row, three of which have been shutouts. We all knew there would come a time when the Tigers, which overachieved a decent bit early in the season would crater, and here we are.

Cardinals 7, Marlins 1: Water wet, sky blue, dog bites man, Matt Carpenter homers again. It was a tiebreaking number for the second straight game, this one coming to lead off the sixth inning. John Gant allowed only one run in six innings and, at one point, he and his relief combined to retire 21 Marlins batters in a row so, no, this one was not particularly competitive after a certain point.

Brewers 8, Padres 4: Jesus AguilarTravis Shaw and Eric Thames hit back-to-back-to-back first-inning homers against Padres starter Brett Kennedy, who was making his major league debut. In addition to the homers, he allowed seven straight batters to reach in the first inning. At least he’ll always remember it. Orlando Arcia and Christian Yelich also homered for the Brewers. Someone check the bus stations for Kennedy. He may be back there trying to buy himself a ticket to El Paso.

Royals 9, Cubs 0: Heath Fillmyer — a real pitcher, I just checked — got hit hard early too, though it was only in the literal sense. He was hit by an Anthony Rizzo comebacker early in the game but he shook that off and shut the Cubs out for seven innings and got the win. Adalberto Mondesi and Drew Butera each drove in three runs, Mondesi via a three-run blast.

Athletics 3, Dodgers 2: Newest Athletic Mike Fiers didn’t win this one — he was facing Clayton Kershaw and they both dealt pretty well — but he allowed only one run on four hits while pitching into the sixth and at least stood to be the winner when he left. Chris Taylor tied the game up with an RBI single in the seventh but Khris Davis hit into a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the eighth to put Oakland up to stay. Oakland won for the seventh time in eight games and pulled to within five of the idle Astros. The Dodgers fell a half game back of the Dbacks.

Minor League Baseball teams sold over $70 million in merchandise in 2017

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Every so often here, we discuss the criminally low pay of Minor League Baseball players. Most of them make less than $7,500 a year, which includes the regular season as well as spring training, playoffs, and offseason training. The abysmal pay forces minor leaguers to eat unhealthy food, live in cramped quarters, and forego consistent, quality sleep, among other things.

What makes this situation worse is that Minor League Baseball is a huge money-maker for their parent teams in Major League Baseball. Josh Norris of Baseball America reported yesterday that Minor League Baseball teams sold $70.8 million in merchandise in 2017. That represented a 3.6 percent increase over the previous record set in 2016. This is just merchandise. Now think about concession and ticket sales.

Minor League Baseball COO Brian Earle said, “Minor League Baseball team names and logos continue to be among the most popular in all of professional sports, and our teams have made promoting their brand a priority for their respective organizations. The teams have done a tremendous job of using their team marks and logos to build an identity that is appealing to fans not just locally, but in some cases, globally as well.”

You may recall that Major League Baseball had been lobbying Congress to pass legislation exempting minor league players from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Doing so classified baseball players as seasonal workers, which means they are not entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. That legislation passed earlier this year. Minor League Baseball generates profits hand over fist and it is now legally protected from having to share that with the labor that produced it.

Many points of divergence led us to this point, but the question is how do we change it? Minor leaguers are routinely taken advantage of because they don’t have a union. Compare the minors in baseball to the minors in hockey, where minor leaguers have a union. As SB Nation’s Marc Normandin pointed out last month, the minimum salary for American Hockey League players is $45,000 and the average salary is $118,000. They receive a playoff share of around $20,000, and receive health insurance that covers themselves as well as their families. Furthermore, the minor league hockey players’ per diem is $74, about three times as much as minor league baseball players’ per diem of $25.

Major League Baseball and its 30 teams have shown no inclination towards treating minor league players simply out of moral obligation or good will, so the minor leaguers need union coverage to force their conditions to improve. This could be as simple as the MLBPA expanding its coverage to the minor leagues because, after all, some minor leaguers do become major leaguers, right? Or the minor leaguers could themselves create a union. It’s easy to say, but tougher to do, which is why they still don’t have a union.

At any rate, every fan of baseball should be enraged when they read that Minor League Baseball keeps setting records year after year when it comes to selling hats and t-shirts, then refuses to share any of that wealth with the labor responsible for it. It’s morally reprehensible.