Selig to "examine" umpires, replay; declines to overturn Joyce call

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Selig statement.jpgBud Selig just released a statement on last night’s events. Short version:

  • No word on overturning the call, which I think is a clear signal that he will not do so (UPDATE: Multiple reporters are now hearing that no, Selig will not overturn the decision);
  • A decision to “review” umpiring systems and replay which, as I suspected this morning, is the first step of a long delay job on both of these issues; and
  • A congratulations to Galarraga and Leyland for how they handled themselves after last night’s debacle and an appreciation of Jim Joyce for his “courage,” all three of which I think are well-deserved.

The statement in full:

“First, on behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate
Armando Galarraga on a remarkable pitching performance. All of us who
love the game appreciate the historic nature of his effort last night.

“The dignity and class of the entire Detroit Tigers
organization under such circumstances were truly admirable and embodied
good sportsmanship of the highest order. Armando and Detroit manager
Jim Leyland are to be commended for their handling of a very difficult
situation. I also applaud the courage of umpire Jim Joyce to address
this unfortunate situation honestly and directly. Jim’s candor
illustrates why he has earned the respect of on-field personnel
throughout his accomplished career in the Major Leagues since 1989.

“As Jim Joyce said in his postgame comments, there is no
dispute that last night’s game should have ended differently. While the
human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital
that mistakes on the field be addressed. Given last night’s call and
other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded
use of instant replay and all other related features. Before I announce
any decisions, I will consult with all appropriate parties, including
our two unions and the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which
consists of field managers, general managers, club owners and
presidents.”

Indians sign Brandon Guyer to a two-year extension

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Brandon Guyer #6 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates Rajai Davis #20 two-run home run during the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract with a club option for 2019.

The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.

Nice signing.

Sarasota County to build the Braves a new spring training facility

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The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.

Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:

The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.

It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.

But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.

One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.