Great moments in ringing endorsements: Bobby Valentine edition

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The central dynamic in the Bobby Valentine/Red Sox thing is that ownership wants him and is going to get him and GM Ben Cherington has to get cool with that.  To that end, Valentine interviewed with Cherington yesterday.  The New York Times has a story about it. My favorite part:

Cherington was said in some news media reports to initially have favored Dale Sveum … But according to one of several people in baseball canvassed by Cherington for a report on Valentine, he is actually intrigued by Valentine and not opposed to hiring him.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the “actually” that gets me there. I know the reporter put that in there, but it seems meaningful. Like, there’s some off the record stuff which would suggest that Cherington hates this but — no, really — he actually, if you can possibly believe it, likes Valentine. Or is at least intrigued which comes before liking. Maybe he could like him. Possibly.

Yes, that’s a total over-read. And for all of the focus on this now, Bobby Valentine is a good manager and there’s every chance he’ll be good for the Red Sox. And even if he’s not the best fit for this job, let’s be honest here and remember that a manger’s impact is often wildly overstated. Short of handing the job to Maury Wills or something, the world will not end no matter who the Red Sox hire.

But I still can’t shake the idea that the front office imposing Valentine on Cherington like this is bad news. Maybe this happened way more with Theo Epstein’s major decisions than we realize, but it just seems unhealthy for Cherington’s first real decision as general manager to be taken away from him like this.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.