D.C. public officials fight over Nats suite

11 Comments

Things that happen when publicly-funded stadiums are built: elected officials fight over the freebies:

In what’s become a spring tradition, some D.C. Council members are suspicious of how council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) has been distributing the free tickets that the Washington Nationals hand out to local elected officials for each home game.

Seems this year, the problems stem from the Washington Nationals’ scaling back the number of suites that elected officials can use at Nationals Park.

Seems the mayor doesn’t like to share with city council. Also seems the Nats give out free tickets elsewhere in the park, along with free parking passes.  I presume it’s hard to figure out how all of that works, especially when the team is doing better like it is now.

I criticize public stadiums a lot, but usually I resist throwing in “the elected officials just want free tickets” argument because it seems kinda petty and irrelevant. But I do sorta think that they like getting those freebies. The fact that people get all grumpy about it like this tends to underscore it.

Bartolo Colon Watching the Eclipse Is Your Moment of Zen

Getty Images
3 Comments

A Solar Eclipse

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.

Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

Getty Images
12 Comments

Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.