Getty Images

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

16 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Nationals 6, Braves 3: The Braves normally enjoy hitting against Gio Gonzalez, but that wasn’t the case yesterday. Gonzalez allowed only one run and scattered six hits over seven innings of work. Meanwhile, Braves starter Anibal Sanchez left early after taking a comebacker to the leg. Once he left, the Nats bats teed off on relievers Wes Parsons and Adam McCreery. By the by, “Parsons and McCreery” sounds like the name of a West Virginia funeral home. If there was a “Lilly” in there it’d sound specifically like a Southern West Virginia funeral home. The, like, two of you out there besides me who are from West Virginia are nodding at that and the rest of you are wondering how I wasn’t fired from this job ages ago. Life is full of mysteries, but I am right about the funeral home thing.

Yankees 7, Rangers 3: Neil Walker hit two homers for the Yankees and Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar each went deep too, but the homer everyone was talking about was hit by Giancarlo Stanton.

You may or may not be a fan of Statcast, but according to the metrics it tracks, Stanton’s homer was the hardest hit since it began recoding such data:

I, personally, don’t think Statcast adds much to my enjoyment of baseball — even old man John Sterling knew that ball was hit about as hard as a ball could be hit as soon as he saw it, as would anyone who has watched a bit of baseball in their life — but it is something, I suppose, to be at the top of that particular leader board.

Indians 5, Twins 4: Another day, another walkoff loss for the Twins at the hands of the Indians. It was Michael Brantley doing the deed yesterday with an RBI single off of Addison Reed. This one has to hurt for the Twins, because they were down 4-0 to Corey Kluber of all people and rallied to tie it, with Jorge Polanco hitting a three-run jack off of him in the fifth. It’s, the 12th walkoff loss for the Twins this year. Yikes.

Padres 8, Brewers 4: The Brewers’ bullpen was a major strength for the club in the first half. It sure as hell wasn’t yesterday. Milwaukee took a 4-2 lead into the top of the ninth and entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 8-4. The damage in terms of runs allowed came mostly against Corey Knebel, who walked three batters and gave up a hit with all four baserunners eventually scoring. The damage in terms of the fireworks lit was attributable to Joakim Soria, who entered into the bases-loaded situation created by Knebel and served up a grand slam to Hunter Renfroe‘s. Soria was replaced by Jacob Barnes who immediately threw a gopher ball to Franmil Reyes to complete the meltdown. Milwaukee drops two games behind the first-place Cubs.

Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 5: Mookie Betts hit for the cycle but that only amounted to one RBI, on the homer, thanks to most of the rest of the order not doing a whole heck of a lot. Meanwhile, the Jays battered Rick Porcello for seven runs in four innings, with Teoscar Hernandez and Randall Grichuk each taking him deep. Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 and drove in a couple as well. It was Boston’s first loss in seven games.

Rays 5, Orioles 4Jake Bauers drove in three, with two of ’em coming on a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning. The Orioles are now one loss away from being eliminated from the AL East race. But hey: the Wild Card is still, mathematically anyway, in play!

Mariners 8, Astros 6: Homers from Mitch Haniger, Denard Span and Jean Segura gave the M’s a six-run lead after two innings, all off of Justin Verlander of all people. Seattle got a couple more RBIs from Haniger and Span in the sixth which provided enough insurance to withstand Houston’s late push.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 5: This was a 1-1 game, nicely pitched by Ross Stripling and Tyler Anderson, heading into the seventh. At that point it was turned over to the bullpens, each of which decided that they weren’t interested in doing their job too well. Joc Pederson and Max Muncy each hit homers in the top of the seventh and the Rockies scored four in their half of the frame with three coming off of a Chris Iannetta homer. Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the eighth to tie things up at five and L.A. added three more in the ninth via a solo shot from Chris Taylor and a two-run homer from Brian Dozier. The Dodgers have won six straight at Coors Field. They also pulled into a first-place tie with idle Arizona in the West.

Pirates 10, Giants 5: Ivan Nova allowed two runs in six innings and he was backed by three homers, including David Freese‘s 100th career bomb. Elias Diaz and Josh Bell were the other two Buccos to go yard. The Giants have dropped five of six and are now two games below .500. Pittsburgh has won three in a row.

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

1 Comment

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.