Reasonable people may disagree about the wisdom of Jim Riggleman leaving the Nationals like he did yesterday, but I think everyone can agree that going on the radio the next day and trashing a well-respected baseball columnist by name is going to make you many friends. Certainly not in the media, but likely not with folks in the game too, most of whom respect the columnist in question and who don’t take a shine to would-be employees who get into scrapes with the press.
But that’s what Riggleman did today while on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio show with host Bruce Murray. The object of his ire being Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who he felt tried to run him out of town and hated him for not being Earl Weaver. Or something. The bigger accusation was saying that Boswell printed “half-truths,” and didn’t get Riggleman’s side of the story on everything.
The transcript, via the DC Sports Bog, is here. Here’s the most quotable part:
“I read the papers. I read that nonsense Tom Boswell writes, and I’ll say this: Tom Boswell has tried to be the impetus behind me not being the manager here for a long time. He is a master of the half-truth. A half-truth can be more dangerous than a lie. He prints just enough nonsense that can paint a picture.
“But he’s become such a snake and such an impetus to have me out of there, [and] he’s just written so many snide remarks. That type of stuff from such a well-respected columnist throughout the country, to get away with that nonsense, I’m just bringing it to your attention, that that’s the kind of stuff that gets written that is totally false … he never tells the full story. He’s never interviewed me, he never talks to me and asks me these questions. He just writes negativity.”
Which may have more salience as a criticism if Boswell was primarily reporting news as opposed to offering opinion and insight, which he is more than capable of doing without going to Riggleman for his defense every time his name is mentioned. And hey, if the fair assessment of the state-of-the-Nats is negative — which has been the case for most of Riggleman’s tenure — is Boswell supposed to avoid negativity?
But at this point, Boswell certainly doesn’t need my defense. Riggleman, on the other hand could use a little help.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.