More players are speaking out against the Arizona immigration law

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Arizona outline.jpgOver the weekend Drew noted that Adrian Gonzalez said that he would not attend next year’s All-Star Game if selected due to the Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law.  Gonzalez is not the only player speaking out.

The Padres’ Yorvit
Torrealba told the San Diego Union-Tribune
“Why do I want to go play in a place where
every time I go to a restaurant and they don’t understand what I’m
trying to order, they’re going to ask me for ID first? That’s bull. I
come from a crazy country. Now Arizona seems a little bit more crazy.”

Mets catcher Rod Barajas told The New York Times, “If
they happen to pull someone over who looks like they are of Latin
descent, even if they are a U.S. citizen, that is the first question
that is going to be asked. But if a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian
gets pulled over, do you think they are going to ask for their papers?
No.”

You can expect more players to weigh in on this.  If nothing changes (i.e. if the Major League Baseball remains silent) the logical conclusion of all of this is (a) a wildcat strike of the All-Star Game by Latino players and those who sympathize with their position; and (b) a presumed backlash by other players who either support the law or who don’t feel it appropriate for baseball to wade into the political arena like this. In other words: ugliness.

As I said the other day, the only way to head this off is for Bud Selig to show some leadership on the matter.  He need not come out in sharp opposition to S.B. 1070, and he need not make any decisions regarding the fate of the 2011 All-Star Game at this time, but it seems essential to me that he publicly acknowledge the feelings of the ballplayers, acknowledge the controversy and offer something approaching an official position for baseball.

If he does that — even with one of his patented “we’ll wait and see how it all plays out” statements which, in this case, may be the best bet — at least the players and the public will know that baseball is paying attention and may dial down the rhetoric for a bit.  If he doesn’t, a good many of those same people are going to think that Bud doesn’t care, and it’s going to draw baseball further into the firestorm than it already is.

Yeah, that’s a political calculation, not a business one, but in this case the business of baseball and politics are on a collision course, so that stuff matters.

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

att park getty
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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.