The Astrodome is falling apart

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Astrodome.jpgThis doesn’t get me as misty as seeing Tiger Stadium turning into ruins, but it stinks pretty bad all the same:

Hailed as the
“Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened in 1965, the
Astrodome now sits vacant and in disrepair out on Interstate 610.

The world’s
first domed sports stadium lost its last major tenant eight years
ago. It hosted occasional functions afterward – a family rented
the floor for a bar mitzvah party for $15,000 – but has been virtually
shut down for two years. Its exterior metal work is rusting. Water
stains surround the base. It’s no longer
up to code.

There’s a lot of talk of what to do with it — indoor ski slope! planetarium! — but that talk always starts when people try to figure out what to do with old buildings. Those things are almost always pipe dreams, but I suppose entertaining such options, however ridiculous, are part of the grieving process.

But denial will soon give way to acceptance. And numbers: it would cost about $88 million to demolish the Eighth Wonder of the World, while it would cost about $900 million to renovate and turn into something useful.  As such, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Astrodome doesn’t have long left.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.