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And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

Sep 13, 2010, 5:29 AM EDT

Why is there a picture of some football player here? Because opening weekend of the NFL is a fabulous time to bash football, especially on a baseball blog.

White Sox 12, Royals 6: K.C. had a 6-0 lead in the first and, thanks in part to Paul Konerko hitting a couple of two-run bombs . . . lost. I guess we have to just keep on trusting The Process.  Oh, and speaking of the process:  I make a religious point of not watching NFL football on Sundays when competitive baseball is being played (and a philosophical point of not watching NFL football on Sundays after baseball is over), but reader Levi Stahl alerted me to something that happened on the football field yesterday. Take it away Levi:

Fourth quarter, Lions-Bears: the Lions threw a heck of a touchdown pass from about midfield, the
receiver made a strong, leaping catch, was pulled down and rolled over,
in control of the ball the whole way, then, as he hit the ground, let
the ball go. It was obviously, in every way, from every angle, a
dramatic, game-winning TD 

But then it wasn’t. Apparently there’s new emphasis this
year on what the commentators (and a former head of officials back in
the studio) kept calling and calling and calling “the process.” The
receiver apparently has to maintain control of the ball throughout “the
process,” which, apparently now means not letting it go once you’re
down, successfully, in the end zone. It was bizarre: the announcers
weren’t horrified by this travesty of sports justice: they just kept
talking about “the process” and the fact that this was how the NFL was
going to be officiating this year, and that they’d warned everybody.
Very few bad calls in baseball that I’ve seen have
been anything like as bad as this was, and usually when we see a bad
call in baseball, it’s acknowledged as such, eventually. Here the
emphasis wasn’t on the way that fans had been robbed of what they’d seen
on the field, it was on the all-knowing, all-seeing NFL rulekeepers.

I don’t know enough about that rule or NFL officiating in general these days to say anything beyond what Levi said, but I totally buy the credulous announcers thing. Baseball can be messy sometimes, but I think of it as messy in the way democracy is messy. The NFL is like some authoritarian regime, in which fans and a healthy portion of the overly-compliant media just say “well, the NFL has decided it should be so, so it is.” Screw it. I’d rather argue all day over dumb baseball stuff than calmly accept dumb football stuff, and I don’t care how good the TV ratings are.

Oh, and if you think I mentioned all of that simply so I can take a potshot at the NFL on its opening weekend, let me be absolutely clear: you’re damn right. Being a baseball fan these past several days has been like belonging to some tiny religious sect that worships and exalts austerity at Christmas time. Everyone in America is celebrating the return of their gambling, beer drinking and fantasy sports pretext, and I couldn’t care less.

Giants 6, Padres 1: San Francisco takes three of four from the Padres in Petco and are now (kinda) tied for the NL West lead. They’re a game behind in the loss column. Lincecum allowed one run in seven with nine strikeouts. Sandoval had a great leaping catch. Buster Posey drove in a couple. Mat Latos had his worst start since April. The Padres and the Giants meet one more time: October 1st-3rd — closing weekend — at AT&T Park. Can we make it a round robin and throw the Rockies in too?

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2: Ten straight for the Rockies who, even if they don’t end up making the playoffs, have bought another two or three years of “well, we all know the Rockies are capable of going on amazing runs!” talk. Jason Giambi won it for Colorado on a two-run walkoff home run. Anyone who thought a couple of years ago that Jason Giambi would be hitting game-winning home runs in pennant races in 2010, raise your hand. You — with the hand up? I know you’re lyin’.

Blue Jays 5, Rays 4: I see my kiss-of-death endorsements continue to do their magic. Just the other day on HBT Daily I said that Rafael Soriano is the best closer pitching for a contender (non-Mariano Rivera division) and that I’d trust him with my life. I guess even the best ones blow a save once in a while. This one was blown in only five pitches: strike, single, strike, strike, Adam Lind home run, ballgame.

Tigers 6, Orioles 2: The Tigers scored five runs in the eighth, with the big blow being Miguel Cabrera’s bases loaded double. MVP! MVP! MVP! You can still chant that when your team is .500, can’t you?

Pirates 3, Reds 1: It’s been quite a sight to see Reds relievers not named Aroldis Chapman blowing games recently. Francisco Cordero allowed three runs in the ninth and it could have been more, actually, but for some dumb luck like comebackers with the bases loaded.

Twins 6, Indians 2: The Twins won their 4,000th game.  Not this season, though. That would be, like, a record or something. Since the franchise moved to Minnesota from Washington. The combined win total of the Twins and Senators is (I think) 4,080. The White Sox are all but put away at this point, but the Twins can put the stake in their heart this week, as they have a three-game series. Mmmmm . . . stake.

Angels 3, Mariners 0: Someone the other day — I think it was Keith Law — mentioned that the Mariners are on pace to have the worst AL offense since the advent of the DH. I haven’t looked at the numbers myself, but I’d buy it. Ray Oyler could probably DH for this team. And he’s been dead for nearly 30 years!

Phillies 3, Mets 0: Oswalt dominated the Mets, shutting them out on 113 pitches. Given that everyone on the Mets knows that they’re basically playing for nothing the rest of the way you can probably expect to see more of this sort of thing between now and October 3rd.

2, Cubs 0
: Yovani Gallardo shut the Cubbies out for seven and the pen
took it the rest of the way in another listless performance from the
losing team. Maybe the Mets and Cubs really just wanted to watch the late NFL games?

Rangers 4, Yankees 1: Cliff Lee just sent a message to the Yankees that (a) they don’t want any part of him in a short playoff series; and (b) they’re going to have to unload the Brinks truck to sign him this winter. 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER. The Rangers swept the Yankees, though New York somehow continues to hold on to their lead in the East. I reserve the right to change my mind between now and this afternoon, but I think for the first time this year we’re going to have our first non-AL East team leading the Power Rankings when they come out today.

Red Sox 5, Athletics 3: Beckett beats Braden, in a matchup of two guys who haven’t mattered a whole heck of a lot this season since, oh, mid-May.

Astros 7, Dodgers 4: Houston and L.A. split four. Oh, and John Lindsey got his first major league hit. A single to left, pinch hitting for Ronald Belisario. He’s the only reason to root for the Dodgers as the season winds down.

Marlins 6, Nationals 5: Mike Stanton bangs two out the yard as the Feesh sweep the Gnats. Their season series is over too, with Florida beating Washington 13-5.

Cardinals 7, Braves 3: This Pujols fella? Yeah, he can play a little bit (2 for 5, 2 HR). But hey, at least with dumb old football on opposite this one at least no one was watching it, right?

  1. Old Gator - Sep 13, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    Did football season begin this week? Huh. That explains why the Feesh were in Washington. I bet the Feens were playing up at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium yesterday. Oddly enough, they call the stadium exactly the same thing whether the Feesh or the Feens are playing, and it seems to me that the oligarchs in charge have been missing a great opportunity to gouge more luchre out of the credulous advertising population: sell separate naming rights to the stadium for each team! Then we could hyphenate the name of the stadium like some new-age housewife: Joeprodolsharklifepollotropical Stadium for the Feens and Joeprodolsharklifeburgerking Stadium for the Feesh.
    Meanwhile, the Iron Giant seems to have returned with a vengeance from his August swoon. He must have found some steel power line towers to munch on or something because he’s flatsided five bolts in the last couple of weeks or so and now sits at 20 for half a season or so. He’s also showed signs of McCovey-like streakiness this season and whereas that dormancy-to-eruption-to-dormancy pattern may be exciting for small Polynesian villages wherein dwell volcano virgins who look like Debra Paget or Delores del Rio, it wears hard on the average beisbol fan.
    Free Nyjer Morgan!

  2. Proudly Canadian - Sep 13, 2010 at 7:32 AM

    EH? I couldn’t have said it better myself. Bravo!

  3. heiniemanush - Sep 13, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    I gave up on the NFL a few years ago because of nonsense like that call. Instant reply helped ruin the sport. With all these silly, nitpicking rules in place the games are as excruciating to sit through as your typical Yankees-Red Sox fare or the last two minutes of any pro basketball game.

  4. pcrm - Sep 13, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Are we still allowed to use baseball as our ‘gambling, beer drinking and fantasy sports pretext’?

  5. Kevin S. - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    If we didn’t have to register to comment, you can bet your ass I would have responded to this as Pete Rose.

  6. Kevin S. - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    “Mike Stanton bangs too out the yard”
    Erm, what?

  7. SadPandaRevolt - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    Craig, if you don’t mention Francoeur’s walk off “hit” against Rivera, I will never forgive you.

  8. Craig Calcaterra - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:21 AM

    Mention of the Francoeur “hit” is coming.

  9. ThatGuy - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Im not sure why it has to be one or the other? The ease with which my remote switched from baseball to football yesterday was amazing. It was a beautfiul day in beer drinking, gambling and sports watching.

  10. Lans Downe - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    The control of the ball through “the process” is not new this year, though it does seem a little silly…kind of like the vitriol demonstrated here against football. Two great sports that are enjoyed for different reasons. This position of yours makes you seem stiff, Craig. Don’t we argue all the time about bad baseball calls only to eventually bitch about the umpires and/or Selig? I think there has been plenty of discussion regarding this NFL “catch” rule, what’s interesting is that the NFL is far more likely to examine the rule and affect a revision than MLB is with some of its positions, such as instant replay.

  11. Simon DelMonte - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    I am a big football fan, and was watching the Giants yesterday. But I also don’t have cable and couldn’t watch the Mets game. And for all that they are done, and that I knew RoyO would stop them cold, I would rather watch a meaningless Mets game than a football game in September. Wake me in November.
    If only everyone stopped watching basketball and hockey on April 1.

  12. lessick - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    I another member of that tiny religious sect, keep up the good fight. Give me the pennant races and even meaningless September baseball over early season NFL worship any day. My distractions from baseball of late have only come from the US Open.

  13. APBA Guy - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Interesting play in yesterday’s Sawx v. A’s game: Drew scorches what should have been a double to the right corner, but he stopped in mid turn and slowly backed towards first. Meanwhile, the A’s latest failed OF project, Jeremy Hermida, displayed a good arm and fired the ball back to Ellis who alertly relayed to Barton, who then tagged Drew out at first. As Tim Kurkjian says (voice cracks) “I’ve never seen that before”. Drew did have his vengeance, doubling in the 6th with the bases loaded to put the Sawx ahead. But I’m sure NESN guys must have been going nuts on the early play, and for good reason. Double lazy, unless he’s hurt again.
    This being the West Coast, but still America despite what you may have heard, most males were glued to their sets yesterday watching the moribund Raiders or the non-descript 49’ers. I do admit to watching a few minutes of the Redskins-Cowboys last night. Some old DC habits die hard. But it won’t happen again, I promise, until December and football playoffs roll around. Too much going on in the EPL. Talk about betting and arguing.
    And finally, I’m guessing the Phightin’s will be top of the power rankings this week. Until the Yankees injury situation is clarified, the Phillies have a strong case.

  14. Kelly - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Seconded, Lessick. Hurried to make it home (already irked that I had to miss the Twins game) before the start of the Open Final yesterday only to deal with the rainout and be stuck watching the mess of the Packers/Eagles for my sports fix until the Braves game. I only watch baseball because my dad and brother don’t like baseball with the same ferocity that I have. And I’m a girl – so I have to know things and they are unimpressed when I start talking about VORP and whatnot…

  15. Jonny5 - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    I am a multiple sport fan myself, Thank goodness that Dog mangler was sent into the Eagles game to remove the embarassment left by Kevin Kolb. But in important news the race in the NL east is going on as strong as ever. Hats off to Craig for calling it as such when the season began. Myself, i figured on the Mets being the most troublesome for the Phills, but that was before i found out that Manuel was actually despised by his players.

  16. BC - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    This time of year is why God invented picture-in-picture and the Red Zone channel.

  17. TimberLee - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Whoa ! Debra Paget ! Love Me Tender … .

  18. Will - Sep 13, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    “Being a baseball fan these past several days has been like belonging to some tiny religious sect that worships and exalts austerity at Christmas time.”
    It’s particularly bad when you live in a Football State. Everywhere I turned around this weekend it was “Buffs, Rams, Falcons, Broncos.” They all lost, except for the Falcons. Meanwhile, the Rockies are on another tear, with a big series against the Padres coming up tonight, and everybody’s like “Baseball? There’s baseball in Colorado?”

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