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Game 90: Twins @ Cleveland

Holding onto that 5.5-game lead, for now.

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Former Yankee Jim Bouton Authors New Book, “Ball Four”
The dog’s name is Cocoa, if you wondered.
Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Time: 6:10 Central. Vegas Line: -142 CLE / +132 MIN

Weather: Clear & calm, start temp 76°

Opponent’s SB site: Click here

TV: FSN, Free Game (out of market). Radio: Probably not panicking yet

You’re probably familiar with Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger by now. He throws the usual four pitches, and is generally pretty good. He missed the first few months of this season with a muscle sprain and then a twisted ankle. He has long hair.

Here’s a Deadspin article on how Cleveland actually had one of the first modern ballparks (concrete & steel instead of wood). The problem with wooden ballparks was that they couldn’t bear the weight of larger crowds and would sometimes catch on fire. St. Paul’s Lexington Park caught on fire in 1915.

Also from Deadspin, this Charles Pierce tribute to ex-player and legendary baseball iconoclast Jim Bouton, who died Wednesday at the age of 80. Bouton was a hard-throwing Yankee pitcher who turned to knuckleballing after arm injuries. In 1970, he published Ball Four, a behind-the-scenes memoir that revealed how some baseball boys behave badly.

“Up until Ball Four,” Pierce writes, “baseball books were generally as reverential as prayerbooks, as truthful as a Jack Chick tract, and as dull as week-old porridge. Most of them read like the Iliad would have read if the gods on Olympus all had worked in advertising.”

The book seems almost tame by modern standards (Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels describes much worse behavior), but it appalled baseball insiders immediately, and became a runaway best-seller. Bouton’s wife would co-write her own book, Home Games, about how ballplayers’ wives knew their husbands were sleeping around; that marriage didn’t last. (Bouton’s second wife remained with him until his death).

Bouton lasted a few more years in the majors, and always hung around the game in some manner or another. as a broadcaster or the co-inventor of Big League Chew bubble gum. He even pitched a few seasons for the famous Portland Mavericks independent league team (there’s a wonderful documentary about them on Netflix, The Battered Bastards Of Baseball).

In 2004, Bouton became involved with efforts to save a historic ballpark in Massachusetts, which city leaders and the local paper wanted replaced for largely corrupt reasons (the paper owned the new stadium’s development site, for one thing). Bouton’s efforts did, in fact, help save the park, as Neil deMause recalls here. Bouton subsequently wrote a book about the experience, Foul Ball, and it features one of my favorite-ever baseball lines: “Baseball’s like religion. A great game with s****y owners.”

R.I.P. Jim Bouton.

Today's Lineups

Max Kepler - RF Francisco Lindor - SS
Jorge Polanco - SS Oscar Mercado - CF
Nelson Cruz - DH Carlos Santana - 1B
Marwin Gonzalez - LF Jason Kipnis - 2B
Mitch Garver - C Jose Ramirez - 3B
Luis Arraez - 2B Bobby Bradley - DH
Miguel Sano - 3B Jake Bauers - LF
Ehire Adrianza - 1B Roberto Perez - C
Byron Buxton - CF Greg Allen - RF

Blake Parker has returned from the paternity list and is available out of the bullpen.