Bradley has problems, but this ain't one

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The Milton Bradley-Lou Piniella brouhaha erupted and then more or less resolved itself over the weekend, with the name-calling apparently ending on Saturday and the rapprochement beginning (now they’re searching for the leaks). But before we let all of that go, I have to focus for a second on one part of this, and that’s one of the things cited in Saturday’s Sun-Times article detailing the meltdown:

From the front office to the clubhouse, Cubs personnel sympathize
with Bradley’s frustration, and nobody blames him for struggling. But
an apparent preoccupation with his individual issues over the team’s
efforts to shake a first-half malaise has worn on teammates, even down
to things as simple as working close pitches for walks with runners on
base when putting the ball in play with less than two outs might score
a rare and needed run.

Is this really a valid reason to be angry at Bradley? That he’s trying
to get on base? It’s be one thing if he were ignoring bunt signs or
something (not that I’d bunt with Bradley, but hey, directions are
directions) but trying to get on base is pretty much an unequivocal
positive, isn’t it?

I think the final takeaway from all of this is that, for all of his
craziness, there is a pretty rational and self-aware dude somewhere
inside of Milton Bradley. Here he is on Saturday, when asked whether Piniella’s yelling at him was unfair given that there are a lot of hotheads on that Cubs team:

“Like I’ve said, I don’t have the same set of rules as other people.
I’ve committed mistakes in my past to where you don’t get the leeway
other guys might get. To a certain extent, I guess that’s fair.”

(thanks to reader Arun Gupta for catching the on-base bit)

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.