News Flash: Zack Greinke to be the Royals' Opening Day starter

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I know it’s quite an honor for a guy to be given the Opening Day start — hell, if you listen to Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame supporters, Opening Day starts are more important than wins, strikeouts and ERA — but really, it’s just one game. And it’s one that you’re probably going to sell out anyway, because it’s, you know, Opening Day.

So if you have a box office draw as your ace like the Royals do in Zack Greinke, wouldn’t it make better economic sense to start him in the second Game of the season, thereby guaranteeing two sell outs instead of just one? As it is, Trey Hillman has decided to go with Greinke on Opening Day. What a terrible business decision.

OK, I can’t keep a straight face. If the Royals had implemented such a cynical line of reasoning, hadn’t made Greinke their Opening Day starter and deprived us of Greinke vs. Justin Verlander, I would have led the mob to the gates.  I’ve heard some people talk about such a thing jokingly, however, and wanted to try it on for size. It doesn’t fit very well. I don’t think there will be an Opening Day matchup as good anywhere else, and I can’t wait for it.

In other news, I’m starting to get really excited about the season.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.