The merry-go-round goes round (and round, and round) for the Indians

It's getting to be a daily habit---Indians celebrating wins, that is . . .

It’s getting to be a daily habit—Indians celebrating wins, that is . . .

Don’t look now, but the Dodgers have turned from everybody’s runaway train to a trainwreck losing nine straight and fourteen of fifteen. And the Indians—as in, the guys who got thatclose to winning the World Series last year—have picked up where the Dodgers left off and won seventeen straight.

Right now the Indians look like the team to beat who may be next to impossible to beat. May. And that’s without Miller Time.

Applegate

Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, visits Red Sox manager John Farrell before a game in June. Little did Cook (or Farrell?) know . . .

Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, visits Red Sox manager John Farrell before a game in June. Little did Cook (or Farrell?) know . . .

There are two unwritten baseball rules that may never be rescinded. Rule 1: Boys will be boys and grown men will often be boys. Rule 2: Never mind the church ladies of or around the game, cheating is baseball’s oldest profession.

It didn’t begin with Reds coach Tommy Corcoran getting his spikes caught in dirt on the Philadelphia first base coaching line one fine day in 1898, and discovering his spikes caught onto a telegraph wire running to the Phillies clubhouse, giving the Phillies the nineteenth century version of high-tech chicanery to abet sign stealing.

St. Elsewhere, New York Mets

Flores, fouling one off his face Saturday.

Flores, fouling one off his face Saturday.

The Astros’ return to Houston was as great a spiritual lift for that Harvey-battered city as their weekend set with the hapless Mets was a spiritual drop for the Mets’ battered fans. Sweeping the Mets sure didn’t hurt the Astros, as healers and as likely postseason entrants, but some would suggest that sweeping what’s left of these Mets was doing it the cruelly easy way.

St. Louis blues

Befuddled by the Mike Leake trade, Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitched a Saturday gem for . . . nothing, as it turned out.

Befuddled by the Mike Leake trade, Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitched a Saturday gem for . . . nothing, as it turned out.

No, we’re not going to blame Yadier Molina’s glove turning into a jack-in-the-box near the plate as Jackie Bradley, Jr. scrambled back to touch it after sliding past it. But the Cardinals have gone 6-8 since Molina’s Muff, and in that span they’ve played only one serious or semi-serious contender while losing enough close ones to teams who weren’t supposed to be equal to them.

And the natives are getting restless.

Basebrawl Comerica: The umps got some splainin’ to do

Gary Sanchez---second from left, who'd taken one on the hip an inning after he homered yet again against the Tigers---is restrained by teammate Clint Frazier after Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine's skirmish opens the first of three bench-clearing brawls Thursday afternoon.

Gary Sanchez—second from left, who’d taken one on the hip an inning after he homered yet again against the Tigers—is restrained by teammate Clint Frazier after Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine’s skirmish opens the first of three bench-clearing brawls Thursday afternoon.

If baseball government intends to investigate the Thursday afternoon riots on the Comerica Park field in Detroit, they should begin by calling home plate umpire Carlos Torres to account and asking him one question. The question is, “What on earth were you not thinking when Michael Fulmer drilled Gary Sanchez in the top of the fifth?”

Heartbreak Hill

Rich Hill, pitching what proves the hardest-luck loss of his major league life.Pour up a couple of ice cold Cokes, Jim Maloney and Pedro Martinez, and lift a toast to the memory of Harvey Haddix and Hippo Vaughn. Because nothing in Rich Hill’s roller-coaster pitching career prepared him to join that group of pitchers who took no-hitters or better into extra innings and lost them.

For 98 pitches Wednesday night in Pittsburgh Hill was almost perfect. Heeven shook it off when third baseman Logan Forsythe stumbled on Jordy Mercer’s leadoff grounder in the ninth and erased the next three in order, prompting Dodger manager Dave Roberts—trying to make up to his man for pulling him after 89 perfect pitches last September—to send him out for the tenth.

Methinks thou didst protest not enough

So much for that protest. Major league umpires took to white wristbands last Saturday, protesting Tigers infielder Ian Kinsler’s public rip of umpire Angel Hernandez, proclaiming they’d wear the white bands until baseball government addressed if not cracked down on verbal abuse from players. The protest lasted all of one day. The core issues won’t go away that fast.

Umpire James Hoye wearing the white wristband his colleagues used to protest "escalating verbal attacks" going unpunished---unaware or unconcerned that Ian Kinsler was fined five figures for criticising Angel Hernandez in the press.

Umpire James Hoye wearing the white wristband his colleagues used to protest “escalating verbal attacks” going unpunished—unaware or unconcerned that Ian Kinsler was fined five figures for criticising Angel Hernandez in the press.

Baltimurder remembered: Rangers 30, Orioles 3, 22 August 2007

30-3. 22 August, 2007. Camden Yards. Who'd have thought?Ten years ago today, the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles played a game in Camden Yards. It was more like police brutality—the final score was the Rangers 30, the Orioles 3. Even the Rangers couldn’t believe what they’d just accomplished no matter how badly either team’s seasons were going at the time.

I wrote this essay the following day for a journal that no longer exists; I republish it here on the sad anniversary of the game about which Rangers reliever Wes Littleton—who got credited for a save despite protecting a 24-run lead, because he pitched the final three innings of the massacre—now remembers, “I got a lot of crap the next day. ‘Nice save, Wes.’ ‘Easiest save in the world’.”

Molina’s heartbreak of a glove story

This used to happen to the Red Sox, didn't it?

This used to happen to the Red Sox, didn’t it?

One of the rarest things in baseball, for a decade and a half, almost, is sucking to be Yadier Molina. You can count on half a hand how often that’s happened. At least until this week in Boston.

Tuesday night—Molina kills a fourth-inning no-out rally by grounding into a 5-4-3 triple play, an inning before the Red Sox drop an eight-spot on the Cardinals. Molina probably wanted to find the nearest mouse hole to hide in after the 10-4 shellacking.

Ken Kaiser, RIP: Only fools rush out

"He said he wanted to punch me. I said, 'Go ahead, you midget, you'll hit my knee'."---Ken Kaiser (right), on a debate, shall we say, with Earl Weaver (left).

“He said he wanted to punch me. I said, ‘Go ahead, you midget, you’ll hit my knee’.”—Ken Kaiser (right), on a debate, shall we say, with Earl Weaver (left).

The late umpire/raconteur Ron Luciano considered Ken Kaiser, who died today after a long battle with diabetes, a friend and protege who came up and did things the hard way. Unfortunately, Kaiser’s career ended the same way, when he tied his dinghy to the leaky ship of the old Major League Umpires Association, and its executive director Richie Phillips sank it.