I’m in the press box of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. I can’t say for sure how long I’ll be here, however, because real estate is at a premium. Most of these boxes have two rows. The first row is for the beat writers who cover the team every day, the official scorer and people like that. The second row has spaces for reporters covering the visiting team and a few empty slots. I usually slide into an empty slot.
Here the second row — a full 15-20 spaces, which is large for Arizona — is dedicated to the Matsui Brigade. As in, the Japanese media covering Hideki Matsui. I’ve heard tell of the size of that contingent, but seeing the kind of real estate theyoccupy is something to behold. For now I’m in a visiting media slot. There a five of them. The Indians are the visitors, so I may be safe. If Paul Hoynes or Jordan Bastain kick me out of my slot, I’ll have no reason to complain.
Get a load of this stadium, though. It was built in 1964. That poured concrete facade is the tell. It reminds me of a government building in Brasilia or something. Which isn’t a criticism, because I rather like government buildings of that era for some strange reason. They can be hideous in their Brutalism, but they’re comforting to me. They remind me of elementary school. Heck, they remind me of Denney Hall on the Ohio State campus, where I probably spent most of my in-class time as an undergrad. I’m digging Phoenix Municipal.
Oh, and this doesn’t hurt:
I’m heading down to the clubhouse. I promise to not to tell you if I see anything interesting.
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.
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.