HBT Weekend Wrapup

8 Comments

1950s lawn.jpgAll kinds of stuff happened over the weekend. Such as:

  • For those keeping score: when Derek Jeter tries to play hurt, he’s a “gamer.” When Alex Rodriguez tries to play hurt, he’s betraying the glorious New York Yankees and pooping on Babe Ruth’s grave;
  • Rich Harden is on the DL with a strained butt. Really;
  • Dice-K goes on the DL. Because of some forearm thing, though, not because of intestinal trauma or whatever caused that barfing thing the other day;
  • Because Daniel Nava hit a grand slam in his first at bat as a Red Sox, he’ll become one of those Darnell McDonald/Shelley Duncan figures who the press always speak warmly of and to whom they always feel that the team isn’t a giving  a fair shake, now matter how bad they’re otherwise performing. Look for years of tweets from Red Sox beat writers like this: “Nava just signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. Good for him. Hope he latches on.”
  • Wait, Nava gets a shoutout from Erin Andrews simply because he’s left tickets at the will call for her a few times?  I’ve been stalking her for years and I’ve never gotten so much as a sideways glance.  OK, I may have said too much;

What a weekend!  Hang around later today for my gripping, in-person account of the Strasburg game (note: may not be gripping), the Power Rankings, and the usual brand of Monday tomfoolery, monkeyshines and shenanigans. But no funny business: we don’t tolerate that rebop around here.

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)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

screen-shot-2017-01-18-at-10-30-29-am
3 Comments

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.