Baseball wants to make inroads in Europe, but unlike the NBA — which can use any old arena — and the NFL — which can use soccer stadiums — baseball has a field problem. As in, there aren’t a lot of baseball diamonds over there big enough for showcase events.
Enter the London Olympics:
The biggest obstacle for MLB in Europe has been to find a facility with the right dimensions and seating capacity, and London’s Olympic Stadium is under consideration …
The London stadium will seat 80,000 spectators for the Olympics. After the games, it will be downsized to a 60,000-capacity multipurpose venue that includes track and field.
An official from MLB International is quoted as saying that, while not perfect, it could work for baseball. Maybe not Stade Olympique or Turner Field perfect, but it could be done.
Eh. They should build something from scratch. Maybe something akin to the top-end minor league parks being built here now — think Huntington Park here in Columbus — which are fantastic facilities. The setting for baseball matters way more than it does for other sports. If you want to sell the game to Europeans — and why else would they be doing this — sell it to them in a great place to see a ballgame. Not an ok-but-flawed conversion project.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.