Nate Silver ranks baseball’s ballparks. Though he gets a little help.

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Nate Silver tends to do in-depth poll-crunching, but yesterday — as a bit of palate-cleanser —  he just presented the results of Yelp.com polling and ranked the major league ballparks from best to worst, based on average ratings by Yelp users.  The result: PNC Park on top, Rogers Centre on the bottom and, for the most part, results that tend to adhere to conventional wisdom in the middle.

Surprises: how low Dodger Stadium is (25). Yes, I know that it’s now in vogue to hate on the place, but it traditionally rates quite high among fans. Silver notes that the standard deviation on the ratings for Dodger Stadium suggest that it’s a love-hate thing, with traffic probably causing a lot of low ratings. I assume the same is happening for the New York parks, with people unfamiliar with the city in general reacting negatively to crowds and expense and all of that kind of thing. Of course there’s also the possibility that people who hated their experience at any ballpark are more likely to log on to slam it, while happy people don’t bother.

My biggest takeaway from the article, however, is when Silver reminds us that, from time to time, some writer gets his paper/station/website to pay for a 30-ballpark review trip:

Every now and then, some writer is lucky enough to earn a book advance or a freelance contract for visiting every major league stadium and rating them (see 1988’s Dodger Dogs and Fenway Franks or ESPN’s Stadium Tour for some well-executed examples). But most of these efforts are out of date — and of course, they reflect just one fan’s opinion.

Out of date, eh? Which means we need it updated?  Well, I suppose that would require a person who (a) is knowledgeable about baseball and ballparks; (b) loves travel; and (c) has the time on their hands to do such a thing and/or can consider going to baseball games as part of his job description.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to write an urgent email to my boss.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.