Four teams boycott breakfast over 'Cubs tax'

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Yesterday the Cactus League held its annual kickoff breakfast, but Jim Walsh of the Arizona Republic reports that the White Sox, Reds, Angels, and Dodgers boycotted the event to protest a proposed “Cubs tax” on league-wide ticket sales that would help build the Cubs a new spring training facility.
Angels spokesperson Tim Mead explained that “we just fundamentally disagree” and “feel it’s fundamentally wrong to implement a tax on loyal baseball fans.”
Dodgers vice president of communication issued a similar statement, explaining that “the Dodgers and White Sox simply feel it’s wrong to ask fans coming to Camelback Ranch to pay for another team’s new stadium with a surcharge on their tickets.”
State representative John McComish sponsored the legislation, which calls for a $1 surcharge to car-rental fees and an eight-percent surcharge to Cactus League tickets. Naturally he wasn’t happy with four teams boycotting the event, calling their behavior “what petulant children do.”
My feelings on this issue are mixed. On one hand I can see why other teams may not want to help finance $58 million worth of help for the Cubs. On the other hand, the notion of boycotting breakfast sounds anti-American and downright barbaric, and I can’t in good conscience support any cause that positions itself against bacon.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.