Belisario reports to spring training a tad late

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belisario delivery.JPGUPDATE:  Belisario spoke with ESPN Los Angeles on Sunday and explained his absence from camp:

“I never missed an appointment,” he said. “They gave me appointments to
go to after they said they were denying my visa. They told me to take
exams and things, and I kept going twice a week. They just said they
were denying my visa because of the DUI.”

12:03pm:  Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles passes along word that right-hander reliever Donald Belisario finally showed up to Dodgers camp Saturday after a three-week battle with visa issues in Venezuela.  

He secured the visa this week and is expected to begin participating in full-squad drills on Sunday.  Dodgers manager Joe Torre said last week that Belisario won’t be a member of the club’s Opening Day bullpen mix, no matter how ready he is.  Why?  Because the right-hander missed three scheduled appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas this month that would have expedited the process of getting him to Camelback Ranch.  Managers tend to shy away players who display a lack of motivation.

Nonetheless, it’s good to hear that Belisario is finally in camp and will be helping the Dodgers at some point this season.  He had a 2.04 ERA in 70 2/3 innings last year.

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.