The Cardinals and Marlins had their Grapefruit League game in Jupiter, Florida halted on Saturday by a one-hour, 49-minute rain delay.
During that delay the Fish got a little business done, holding a required MLB Players’ Association meeting in their clubhouse. These 30-minute meetings are held every year with every team, right around this time of the spring. The Cardinals, in fact, had theirs between 8:30-9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.
But new St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny is upset that his players had to sit around in the afternoon while the Marlins shifted their focus elsewhere and even indicated to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch that he thought the rain delay could have been shorter.
“I wasn’t real happy,” Matheny said. “We couldn’t get people to make decisions. We weren’t the home team there, and the home team was inside a meeting with Major League Baseball front office. So we were left to wait. The field does drain well, and it did turn out to be beautiful there at the end. It seemed like a completely different day. But in the meanwhile, I wasn’t happy. We have some pretty valuable players out there and we have some people in the bullpen just sitting still for a long time. None of that is a good situation.
Meetings are supposed to be after the game.”
During Tony La Russa’s tenure, the Cards were known for making a fuss about trivial things (remember the complaint about the ribbon board at Miller Park?). Matheny might have a legitimate reason to be upset with what went on Saturday, but detractors will probably suggest that he’s only carrying on the Wrath of Tony.
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.