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Settling the Score: Sunday’s results — and a reminder of what Labor Day is all about

Sep 1, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT


I decided to allow myself to sleep in a bit rather than do a full-blown ATH. It’s Labor Day, after all.

While we’re on the subject of Labor Day, allow me to remind everyone — as I have several times in the past, so forgive me if I repeat myself — that while Major League Baseball can see fit to honor Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Earth Day and cancer awareness with special hats or some other on-the-field shoutout,it has never seen fit to give Labor Day similar due. No special caps. No moments of silence. Nothing particularly special to honor the folks who did nothing short of build this country from the ground up and continue to do the hard work that keeps us functioning as a society.

Sadly, this is a reflection of where we are now as a society. Organized labor makes up a smaller portion of the workforce than it ever has. Even a great many of the people who do the working in this country have bought in to the notion — propogated by those who profit from labor — that unions are tools of the communists. Most people believe that giving any lip service to the rights of workers is a suspect and even un-American pursuit.

But viewing labor — and, by extension, Labor Day — in such narrow terms is a mistake. Sure, there is an obvious political overtone to any conversation about labor. But people have died in the name of worker’s rights.  People continue to die on the job to bring you goods and services and to make our society function, and they always will.  Against that backdrop, to reduce Labor Day to an extra day off and to divorce it from its original purposes is just as much a mistake as doing so with Memorial Day or any other holiday which has at its heart a noble and reverent inspiration.

Red white and blue caps aren’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things. But I wish that Major League Baseball — a sport that, as we currently know and experience and understand it, is largely a product of organized labor itself — would mark the occasion. Maybe they will someday.

Enjoy your Labor Day, everyone.  But remember why we have a Labor Day to begin with.

And now, your scores:

Mariners 5, Nationals 3
Braves 1, Marlins 0
Angels 8, Athletics 1
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 2
Astros 3, Rangers 2
Dodgers 7, Padres 1
White Sox 6, Tigers 2
Giants 15, Brewers 5
Red Sox 3, Rays 0
Cardinals 9, Cubs 6
Orioles 12, Twins 8
Reds 3, Pirates 2
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 3
Mets 6, Phillies 5
Indians vs. Royals — SUSPENDED DUE TO RAIN, with the Indians leading 4-2 heading into the bottom of 10th. Which has at least delayed yet another loss for Kansas City.

  1. Ren Ignatiago - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:09 AM

    Hell of pitchin duel by the Braves and the Marlins today, Alex Wood goin the distance strikin out 12 in 8 innings of work, Kimbrel’s 41st save of the season and not to mention Heyward’s grab there at right was just awesome.

    Happy Labor Day to you guys there in the States.

  2. proudlycanadian - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:41 AM

    Some teams do not play today and get to enjoy the Holiday. I hope that Jeter gets to enjoy his upcoming holiday in Banff. I am not sure why Jeter failed to drive in the tying run in the 9th inning yesterday; however, I thank him.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      Great standing O by the fans at the Roger’s Center yesterday. I had a good laugh at the announcers conundrum of wanting to cheer for Gardner’s single for the cycle, but it would have driven in the tying run…

  3. Eutaw's Finest - Sep 1, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    JohnnySoda you’re up!!

  4. teejayss - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Thanks for a great column, Craig, from a proud Union member..even though my Nats>your Braves

  5. Old Gator - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    The Feesh come leemping home after losing 1-0 to the Barves at the tail end of a 3-6 road trip, probably to be remembered (though those of us who ever bother to remember it will be few enough to qualify as an endangered species) as the Bataan march of their 2014 campaign. Well, let’s hope so. There has been quite a bit of blather recently about how the Feesh were “still in the wild card race,” much of it promulgated by the team P/R machine but much of it also by so-called pundits who seemed to have no clue about the team they were supposed to be watching. It should have come to a grinding halt when the Rainbow Warriors shot themselves repeatedly in the fins in Colorado last week and crawled back towards sea level having gone 1-2 against the worst team in baseball. I haven’t looked it up yet but I have to believe that they set some kind of team record for blown scoring opportunities on a nine game road trip.Yesterday wasn’t indicative of this because they only managed six hits, left five stranded and erased one in a DP, including leaving the sacks stuffed with one out on a pair of strikeouts by the Iron Giant and the once invincible Casey McGehee. I kinda lost count of how many times the Feesh set futility standards by failing to score in such situations on this trip but there were several. When the moment came to show what they were made of, the Feesh imploded into a bucket of emulsion. Can we get realistic, finally, about what kind of team this is and what their prospects are…for next season?

    The team has improved, markedly, from their 2013 debacle season. No argument. But they were so bad last year that “improved” doesn’t say much in and of itself. You have to know that they lost 100 games last year and will probably lose around 85-87 games this year. A fifteen game swing is still a major accomplishment, especially considering that El Keed went down so early. He probably won’t be back until midseason next year at the earliest, given the usual TJ recovery time. But here are some of the rubs: (1) Casey McGehee, who was looking like the team’s fixture at third for the next few seasons after putting up wowzerstats in the first half, has come crashing back to earth in August, batting closer to the Mendoza line that most Feesh fans want to admit. (2) Joining him in his plummeting plunge has been Garrett Jones, who has been putrid at the plate and just about as poor defensively after a creditable first half as well. His non-contact strikeout with the bases loaded against Los Angeles last week was a great example – it got him benched until the ninth yesterday when he pinch hit – and whiffed again. (3) Second base is a disaster area. Solano, Valdespin, Lucas and Deitrick are a collection of bargain basement .230-hitting benchasses with slash lines inscribed with a dull knife and we won’t even mention the Rafael Furcal fiasco.

    (4) The most critical problem, of course, is what to do with the Iron Giant. It’s almost too painful to think in terms of how another year of experience has matured this still-only-23-year-old monster when he’s made it pretty clear that he’s not going to sign anything that ties him up beyond his free agent season and we know he’s going to beat the living crap out of Scrooge McLoria’s pencil pushers in arbitration this weenter. The Feesh front orifice has been flatulating assurances all season that he’s not going anywhere, but only a fool – one, in particular, who would know who he is if he realized that he was a fool in the first place – would believe anything Scrooge McLoria said at this point. He’s an effortless liar – which might be compared unfavorably to a practiced liar – and we all know what his, um, budgetary policy is like. In other words, projecting where the Feesh could be next season by constructing them around a hypothetical Iron Giant in their midst is, well, utopian to the point of idiocy.

    Okay, time to start thinking about the grill instead. So much for early retrospectives.

    • Ren Ignatiago - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      “Bataan March”

      Ah… The history… Still, moments lingerin, yet, the importance it bring in this modern era is truly memorable.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      Reality. The Fish are the third-best team in the NL East. Somewhere in the great mediocrity that is the middle of MLB teams, but with an “up” arrow. They have potential, over the next couple of seasons, to challenge the Nats and Braves. If management doesn’t screw things up. I recognize that’s an “if ” the size of the Everglades.

    • APBA Guy - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Just watching the highlights every day you can graph the decline of Jones and McGehee along the lines you articulate. I’m interested in your opinion of the supporting pitching, the guys in the rotation after El Keed. To me they seem inconsistent, appropriate with their age and experience, but improving. If they take a step forward your team may flirt with the Strange Attractor next year.

      • Old Gator - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        Well yeah, they’re young. Eovaldi reminds me a lot of Ricky Nolasco in that he can be unhittable one day, and can’t throw a bean past a naked mole rat the next. But he has great stuff, has pitched in some hard luck this season, and will be a good number three starter for the long haul. Henderson Alvarez is going to be terrific. You can see that already. Jared Cosart looks like a great pickup for a prospect (Marisnick) who, unfortunately, looks like he just can’t get a feel for major league pitching. Brad Hand might make a good number four. He has great stuff but always seems to crap out in the fifth inning – which could mean either that he needs a better conditioning program, needs to practice yoga and meditation to learn how to keep focused when he gets a little fatigued, or that he needs to stop chasing tail into the wee hours and get more sleep. I think Tom Koehler will be a quality back of the rotation starter – a solid, say, 12-14 win pitcher with a good six inning clock. Like Hand, he needs to figure out how to keep focused or keep strong from the fifth or sixth inning forward.

        As far as El Keed, I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that he comes back from TJ close to as good as he was. His injury was definitely the bummer of the year for this frustrated Feesh fan.

    • groupofsevenrules - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Hey Gator – we’re back from a late summer’s week off. Went to Ottawa to visit the in-laws and do some fishing for some of those lame east coast trout and catfish they have out there. Nothing I caught would merit bringing home in Alberta, let me tell you – at best, it would have been a candidate for breaded fried and frozen quik-microwave meals. No sir.

      I watched the Jays muddle through about five games, winning some, losing some, and getting nowhere in the standings. This is pedal-to-the-metal month (or the way they’re playing, maybe petal-to-the-metal would be better). We shall see. I expect your musical buddy who shall remain nameless in Toronto is dying alive these days.

      I’m on the noon to eight shift this month so I get to poke my nose in here more often. I see your idiot thumb harpies – including the especially clueless one you baited – are hard at work today. Leave it to cretins to squander their liesure time on a holiday weekend.

      Anyway, I am going to search back to the beginning of the season to find your posts that predicted how the Marlins would make out this year. I’m sure that, as usual, you were absolutely right – I recall your saying that they were probably a .500 team or thereabouts, but could possibly make a wild card if everything went right, which included Stanton disciplining himself (he did, at least much more than last year), Ozuna matured (he did, though probably not as much as you hoped) and at least one of the reclamation projects had a better than expected season (McGehee, in this case), and most of all if the pitching held up. Then Fernandez went down and the other scrapheap pickups eventually played down to your expectations, I only started paying attention to your analyses in 2012 when everyone was calling for the Marlins to take the division but you waved that cautionary finger, pointed out their weaknesses and asked rhetorically who could be counted on to drive in runs. Of course the answer was nobody, and nobody did. Last season folks were saying here that the team would be better than expected but you said no, the kids aren’t nearly ready yet, and again, you were right. I am sincerely impressed. You’re goofy as hell but you really do know your baseball, which I think sometimes gets lost amid all your wierdness.

      I was going to save these comments for the end of the season but, as long as the thumb harpies decided to squat, grunt and fart this morning in the only visible medium left to them, I thought I’d point all of this out now just to shove it down their dumb throats before heading off for work.

      • Old Gator - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:53 PM

        I think you get more worked up about those idiot Forbidden Zone revenants than I do. Anyway, just about everyone here knows what’s going on so even as much as I appreciate the moral support, why even bother to acknowledge them?

        As far as predicting the course of the team, well yeah, it wasn’t rocket science. Spawrtsriters and especially your usual run of spawrts tork raydeeo hosts get swept up in the hype, not only because they aren’t very bright for the most part but also because, the way the game is played – the media game, I mean – you need the hype like a sort of hydraulic assist to carry your readers and listeners along with you. Inoculate them with a little extenuated optimism and seem to share it, then commiserate together when things don’t work out as hyped. The front orifice, you esspect ’em to crank out hyperbolic blarney because that’s how they think they butter their corn. I just look at the ballplayers, their ages, their records, their spring performances (I watch every spring game I can) and the patterns of their play and try to project that against the likelihood that they’ll improve or flame out. It’s inexact. McGehee had me convinced that he was the real deal – half a season is a long time to keep up a torrid pace; you can’t usually fake it that long. Jones, well, I never really thought he’d last even this long. He killed another rally today with a double play ball with the sacks full. I don’t know why Redmond keeps batting him ahead of Ozuna.

      • Old Gator - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        PS – I keep forgetting to mention Saltalamacchia. I expected better from him on both ends of his game. He’s got another year to go on his deal and I don’t know where or how the Feesh could unload him (though they did manage to get rid of Black Hole Buck, who performed worse on a worse and longer contract, so you never know). But Salty has been good enough in the past so that I wouldn’t be devastated if the Feesh kept him for another tour of the league. What else are they gonna do for a catcher anyway?

    • teejayss - Sep 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      Please shut up.

  6. bajamex - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    “Even a great many of the people who do the working in this country have bought in to the notion — propogated by those who profit from labor — that unions are tools of the communists.”

    Well, even the celebration was changed from the original proposed date of May 1 to go on par with the worlwide celebration of Labour Day, but in the US there was fear that it would be viewed as a communist holiday because the russians observed a huge holiday in that date. Ultimately in the US ended up being celebrated in september. Curiously nowadays in the us there is repression in the form of censure and a behaviour that goes more in line with what Aldous H. and Orwell wrote.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      There is no fixed date for Labor Day as it lands on the first Monday in September. But more importantly, Labor Day bookmarks Memorial Day when it comes to acknowledging summer. Nothing necessarily communist about that.

      Labor Day gets overlooked because the people in power don’t really work.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:46 AM


      • simon94022 - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        The unpleasant truth is that ANY holiday that gets moved to form a three day weekend becomes just another three day weekend. Ninety percent of the population sees Memorial Day as the kick off of summer, though there is still some guilty rememberance of the soldiers killed in battle.

        No one I know spends “Presidents Day” reading Washington’s Farewell Address or Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. And if you are lucky enough to work someplace where Columbus Day, MLK Day, and Veterans Day are holidays those are just 3 day weekends for most people. Labor Day isn’t any different.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      The earliest Labor Day celebrations pre-date the selection of May 1st as an international holiday (which began as a remembrance of the Haymarket incident in Chicago which occurred after the first local labor celebrations in the US). It was made a nation holiday before the Russian revolution, btw.

      For a more explicit pairing of labor and baseball: the day before strikers and thugs met at the Ludlow massacre, they played a game of baseball.

  7. simon94022 - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Kind of weird that there’s no post here about the Angels sweeping the A’s, and all the controversy about whether Billy Beane’s trades backfired. Isn’t this the biggest story in baseball right now?

    • clydeserra - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      why is it weird? because you want it? You think craig wrote this labor day piece because he is so upset that the angels swept the A’s?

    • jarathen - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      I certainly put the importance of labor over the results of even this series, but by and large I feel like the Angels domination over the weekend has been overlooked. The brilliant bullpen shutdown on Saturday barely rated because COLLEGES FOOTBALLS!, and pennant races are once more relegated to Page 3 behind the footballing sports.

  8. sdelmonte - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Well said, Craig.

  9. jwbiii - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Welcome to September baseball! It’s all about Making the Playoffs and here are the latest odds from Baseball Prospectus and Fan Graphs.

    Playoff Odds

    Team     BPro      FG    Last
    LAA     100.0   100.0    2009
    Oak      99.6    98.8    2013
    Bal      98.7    98.8    2012
    Det      69.1    75.3    2013
    KCR      56.5    58.3    1985
    Sea      42.6    45.9    2001
    Cle      25.7    13.2    2013
    NYY       6.1     6.9    2012
    Tor       1.4     2.7    1993
    TBR       0.2     0.1    2013
    WsN      99.2    99.6    2012
    LAD      98.9    98.6    2013
    SFG      89.7    82.1    2012
    StL      66.3    77.1    2013
    Mil      62.2    57.3    2011
    Atl      49.6    43.1    2013
    Pit      32.9    41.0    2013
    Mia       0.7     0.7    2003
    Cin       0.5     0.3    2013
    SDP       0.1     0.1    2006
    • indaburg - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      0.1%? So you’re saying there’s a chance?

      • spudchukar - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:59 AM

        Mitt would be proud.

      • jwbiii - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Stranger things have happened. Two headed snakes, for example.

      • jwbiii - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        Oh, and this week on the schedule: The Dodgers host the Nats. Both look secure at this point but it could be good for the Giants (@Col) or Braves (Phi). Pirates at Cardinals, getting close to must win time for the Buccos since it doesn’t look like the NL Central will be sending three teams to the playoffs this year. The Indians are hosting the Tigers and the Mariners are visiting Oakland in similarly dicey positions.

  10. JuniorGriffey'sRecliner - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    No story about the leaked Justin Verlander nude pictures?

    • historiophiliac - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Leave it alone.

    • indaburg - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Awful violation of a person’s privacy. Don’t look. End of story.

    • bigmeechy74 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      I saw them on deadspin. I’m straight and I would rather stare at his ass than kate upton’s. She looked like a frumpy truck stop waitress. I can’t believe she makes millions of dollars for her “good looks.”

      • pbastille - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:04 PM


      • jarathen - Sep 1, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        Her “good looks” are more in the front.

        That being said, people who go on and on about “no curves!” and “so ugly!” are just ludicrous. Yes, to some she is overrated. That’s fine. But she’s not a frumpy truck stop waitress.

  11. natstowngreg - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Confirms my suspicion that Craig is a commie socialist pinko lefty tree-hugging bleeding-heart liberal peacenik America-hating weirdo. Or something like that.

    The Nats hit 3 homers off Hiashi Iwakuma, all solos. The Mariners hit one homer off Tanner Roark, good for 3 runs. That’s about it.

    Both of Bryce Harper’s homers were the kind we expect, but have rarely seen this season. He hit .279/.339/.490 in August (after starting the month 2-for-16)…10 homers on the weekend, vs. Mariners pitchers, at Safeco. Four off King Felix, 3 off Iwakuma…Odd happening during the 3rd inning. Pitching coach Rick Waits came out to talk to an Iwakuma, with a guy dressed like the trainer. Was Iwakuma hurt? No, it was his interpreter. This is something normal to M’s fans, but to one who hasn’t seen them play much, is was a bit different.

    The Nats are back to their default position, 6 games up on the Braves. Their lead for #1 playoff seed is one, based on the Dodgers having played (and lost) 2 more games. #1 and #2 meet at Dodger Stadium for 3. The battle of the team that plays basketball with a batting helmet after a homer vs. the team that blows bubbles after a homer.

  12. gg206 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Well said Craig, the apathy and lack of understanding of what this day means is disappointing. Along with the disdain and demagoguery that a political subset has done to cast all unions as money and power hungry leeches makes me sick.

    • bigmeechy74 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      wow you used some big words. I’ll just chime in with F YEAH LABOR DAY BABY! LETS CHUG SOME BREWS!

  13. clydeserra - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    well, this weekend went just about as poorly as any could for the A’s .

    good thing I slept through all of august.

  14. philliesblow - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    We all know the true meaning of Labor Day…..30% off appliances & HDTV’s at Best Buy. OK, maybe not. As someone who worked in a retail store years ago, I always thought it was insulting that all the salaried office workers got Labor Day off as a paid holiday but all us minimum wage “associates” had to work it. Woopty doo, we did get paid time & a half for working a holiday, but I still thought that closing the retail stores would be better.

  15. APBA Guy - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Clyde gets up earlier than I do, so lately I’ve been following his one-liners about the A’s. We laugh to keep from crying.

    On Brian Kenny’s scale of “Concern>Panic>Doom” the A’s are at Panic. This whole series was, in Melvin’s words “Not who we are.” Or so we fans hope. 29 innings without scoring. 4 runs total. Lousy defense. Meltdown by the veteran starter in Game 4..

    Not good. Time to panic.

    Watching the game yesterday, it was apparent that Gerry Davis had a tight zone. The Angels went to the plate recognizing this and forced Kaz to throw strikes, which he did not, at least not often enough. In contract, the “patient” A’s went to the plate swinging at everything, whiffing at balls out of the zone, and well out of the tight zone Davis was calling. As a consequence the game was over at the end of the second inning.

    Now the A’s have to regroup against a Seattle team that has been on it’s own losing streak. As I wrote in yesterday’s comment, the national press narrative has been that the A’s trade of Cespedes has been the cause of the offensive slump, but this narrative is incorrect. There are 3 reasons more important than the loss of Cespedes for the A’s slump:

    – Crisp has been injured- he’s the offensive sparkplug
    – Lowrie has been injured
    – Moss’ slump

    Will Adam Dunn turn things around? It can’t get any worse, and with 40 man rosters, maybe there’s an answer waiting for the A’s somewhere.

    • APBA Guy - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      “contrast” not “contract”. Coffee not yet operational.

  16. historiophiliac - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Thanks to the MLBPA members who work today to entertain those of us who are fortunate to spend time with our families.

    • philliesblow - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      The MLBPA members make a king’s ransom to entertain us. My shout out goes to the grounds crew, concessionaires, ticket takers and janitorial employees at the stadiums (or stadia for you fellow Latin students). Heck, I’ll even include the umpires. Except you, Angel Hernandez.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:09 PM

        How about both? Just because they make lots of money doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to be with their families.

  17. moogro - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Wow. Check out Kemp scoring on the wild pitch. Out by a mile, then lifts his hand over the tag and re-slaps it on the plate.

  18. schlom - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Labor Day, the day Americans can identify with organized labor by drinking beer and not working!

    • Old Gator - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      Whenever we think you’ve said about the most dimwitted and ignorant things you can say, you surprise us all. Keep it up, moron.

      • schlom - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:14 AM

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