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News Flash: promises of a publicly-funded ballpark driving economic growth don’t pan out

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I know. I’m just as shocked as you are. I mean, the first several dozen instances of taxpayer-funded sports facilities failing to deliver on the politicians’ promises of economic growth may have failed miserably, but I was certain that it was gonna work this time:

The team’s poor showing has implications for Gwinnett taxpayers. The county gets $1 for every ticket sold and half the net parking proceeds – money it uses to help repay $33 million borrowed to build the stadium. Parking revenue last year was half of the $200,000 the county originally projected in 2008, while ticket revenue was near the $400,000 annual minimum guaranteed in Gwinnett’s contract with the Braves.

Look, if you’re gonna ask taxpayers to fund a ballpark, be honest. Admit that it’s a bauble. Admit that it is a recreation facility, not an economic juggernaut.  Admit that it is a cost center, not a profit center, for the community. Hey, a lot of people will still want that.  As a stinkin’ lefty I still try to convince myself that government can do stuff like that. I grew up in the 70s and I got used to institutional cinderblock rec centers and actually find them kind of comforting for some perverse reason.

But government should not be in the business of underwriting the private sector’s playthings.  Read the article. Note that the team is profitable. Note that the taxpayers, however, are not getting what they were promised.

Shocker.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.