Roberto Alomar accused — again — of concealing HIV

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In February 2009, Roberto Alomar was sued by an ex-girlfriend, who accused him of (a) being HIV positive; and (b) infecting her having sex with her without telling her of his status. The most notable thing about it at the time, I think, was the girlfriend’s salacious narrative in the complaint itself, in which she described Alomar as being extremely sick and possibly near death from late-stage AIDS.  The suit settled quickly, and because Alomar made public appearances soon afterward looking like regular old Roberto, most people assumed the other parts of the suit were inaccurate too, and that it was settled simply to dispose of the nuisance.

Now another suit has been filed against Alomar alleging that he had sex with someone despite knowing that he was HIV positive and without telling her. This time it’s his soon-to-be ex-wife. Who, at the time of the last suit, was his girlfriend and vigorously defended Alomar against the old girlfriend’s accusations. Her name is Maria Del Pilar Rivera. She’s a former model and television personality in Puerto Rico. She also recently accused Alomar of domestic violence in Miami.

No one knows what goes down in a marriage except the people in it, so we have no idea if what Rivera is saying is true. It’s worth noting that this is the second sworn complaint filed against Alomar to this effect. It’s also worth noting that at the time of the last one, Rivera accused the plaintiff of being a liar.  Given these facts, her suit could just as easily be righteous as it could be an exercise in opportunism in advance of a big divorce settlement. If we’ve learned anything recently, we’ve learned that crazy stuff can come out of divorce cases. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s not.

Hopefully this works out well for everyone involved and we can spend the winter talking about how the BBWAA had better not screw Alomar out of his rightful place in the Hall of Fame again as opposed to this depressing nonsense.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

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Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.