Silicon Valley execs want the A's in San Jose

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The Silicon Valley Leadership group has sent a letter to Bud Selig in support of the Athletics moving to San Jose.  You can read a press release about it and — if you click an extra link — a copy of the letter here.  It’s signed by the CEOs of Cisco, Yahoo!, eBay, Adobe and seventy others. The upshot: they think a ballpark in downtown San Jose would be swell and that it would “create jobs” and “strengthen the economy.”

Maybe most interestingly, they argue that a team in San Jose would in no way diminish support for the Giants. It’s support from Silicon Valley companies, you’ll recall, that the Giants are most worried about losing if the A’s move south.  Wonder if the CEOs are willing to make actual commitments to the Giants in exchange for them dropping their opposition to the team moving . . .

Intrigue aside, I think the A’s need to move to San Jose for their own sake, but I’m somewhat surprised to see a letter like this from tech business leaders. Sure, we all love baseball, but the whole “a ballpark will create jobs and stimulate the economy” argument has more or less been debunked by every smart person who has
studied the issue.  The people who benefit from ballparks are basically
the owners of baseball teams and people who own parking lots.  The real benefit the signatories to this letter would get would be quality of life and employee/client entertainment opportunities. Which they do note in the letter, I’ll grant, even if they do make the “public good argument” a bit more strongly.

Of course, the move wouldn’t hurt too terribly if this was primarily a private project, which the A’s and San Jose leaders claim it will be.  I just find it weird that putatively forward-thinking tech companies would get into this kind of boosterism. Maybe I’m just idealizing Silicon Valley in this regard, however, and they’re no different than the insurance companies and car dealers and stuff that get on these kinds of bandwagons back east.  

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.