Dodger Stadium

Report: MLB explores possibility of new ballpark for Dodgers

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SPORTSbyBROOKS has been told by multiple sources that MLB has reached out to AEG to inquire about the feasibility of building a new ballpark in downtown Los Angeles for the Dodgers.

AEG is the owner of the Staples Center, home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, in downtown L.A. and has already proposed to the city a plan to build an NFL stadium in the same area.  MLB is looking to get involved as a way of getting Frank McCourt out of Dodgers business for good.

McCourt, who has taken the Dodgers into bankruptcy proceedings, not only owns the team, but he also owns the land occupied by Dodger Stadium.  Some have suggested that even if MLB succeeds in wrenching the franchise away from him, it could create a situation in which the new owner is forced to pay McCourt rent.

Says Brooks:

Talks between MLB and AEG remain in the formative stage, but I’ve been told that if such a plan were carried out, AEG would not have a controlling ownership interest in the Dodgers.

Dodger Stadium has been the home to the Dodgers since 1962, making it baseball’s third oldest ballpark behind Fenway and Wrigley.  In 2008, McCourt and the Dodgers announced a $500 million project to restore the area around the stadium and the creation of a new museum, with the idea the renovations would be completed for the 50th anniversary in 2012.  However, those plans almost entirely fell apart.

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.