Florida lawmaker looking to soak teams which accepted public stadium money

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I don’t know enough about Florida politics to know if this has any chance of going anywhere, but I am heartened to see that someone in the Florida legislature is trying — either through actual legislation or just by virtue of sheer grandstanding — to illustrate just how crappy a deal it is for taxpayers to be paying for professional sports facilities:

A Senate panel on Monday backed [Senator Mike] Bennett when it voted unanimously in favor of his bill which would require the teams to refund the state all the money they have received by the end of the year if they can’t prove the stadium has been used as a homeless shelter.

The basis of the bill is an older Florida law which said that sports stadiums and arenas are supposed to be utilized by local governments for homeless shelters. I’m assuming that the homeless have never been housed in Tropicana Field, for example, either because it wasn’t needed or because someone figured it would be unkind to do such an awful thing to the homeless.

Like I said: probably not going anywhere because this sort of thing never seems to go anywhere, but it’s all kinds of fun when you can mess with people like this for a good cause.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.