Senators to baseball: ban smokeless tobacco

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I’m torn: on the one hand I would love Major League Baseball to ban the use of smokeless tobacco by players.  On the other hand, there aren’t many things I hate more than when Congress decides to stick its nose in baseball’s business:

Two Democratic senators are asking baseball commissioner Bud Selig to ban all tobacco use in the sport, specifically citing smokeless products. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey are suggesting that Selig push for a ban as part of the negotiations in the players’ collective bargaining agreement later this year.

They sent letters to Bud Selig and Michael Weiner to that effect. They said that they were inspired by the same Washington Post article we all read a couple of weeks ago in which Stephen Strasburg said that Tony Gwynn’s battle with cancer inspired him to try to quit dipping.  You know, the cancer Gwynn had that was almost certainly not caused by smokeless tobacco.

Between Congress’ involvement and that Gwynn misinformation, all of this is is going to lead me into a deep “is it OK to do the right thing for the wrong reasons?” think-hole that will render me unproductive for the rest of the day.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.