Let's put a third team in New York

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While we all grouse about how much money the Yankees have, Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman reminds us why, exactly, they have so much money:

According to the measure used by the Office of Management and Budget, the New York metropolitan
region numbers about 19 million people. In other words, New York has
one MLB team for every 9.5 million people. Chicago, by this measure,
has one for every five million people, just as Miami and Atlanta do.
Los Angeles has one for every 6.5 million people, as do Dallas and
Philadelphia.

So, with such an inherent advantage in eyes, which gives their cable outlet an inherent advantage in revenue, which gives the team so much more money, the obvious solution is to impose a salary cap, right? No, silly. That’s hard. This is much easier, at least theoretically-speaking:

The better solution would be to place a third team in New York. That
would bring the town’s population:team ratio down to the level of Los
Angeles or Philadelphia, and with the same number of people and dollars
chasing more baseball, would quite likely bring Yankee spending down a
hair without doing anything punitive or unfair.

Easier in that the territorial rights system which keeps a third team out of Gotham could be cast aside by the owners themselves, whereas a salary cap would require a labor battle that the owners could never win.

Not that getting the owners to roll over for that would be easy — both New York teams and their affiliated interests would go crazy, and the teams in Los Angeles and Chicago could fear that they’d be next.  Plus, you have the small problem of where specifically a third New York team would play and who would pay the billion dollars+ for the building.  New Jersey, in a ballpark paid for buy an eccentric billionaire?  OK, we’ll work on it.

The point is that a third team in New York is merely hard, not impossible.  It worked for nearly sixty years, so it could work again.  At any rate, it seems more realistic to agitate for that than it would to agitate for a salary cap.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.