The Padres came back to beat the Dodgers on a crazy play Saturday, tying the game on a steal of home with two outs in the top of the ninth and scoring the go-ahead run on the same sequence.
The Padres had runners on the corners with no outs before Kenley Jansen got a strikeout and a pop out in a 6-5 game. Will Venable had stolen second in the meantime, putting two men in scoring position for Alexi Amarista. During Amarista’s at-bat, Jansen was kicking at the mound and not really paying attention to the runner, allowing Everth Cabrera to take off from third. Jansen noticed in time to potentially make a play, but the throw sailed over the head of catcher A.J. Ellis, who was also very late to react.
Here’s the link to the video.
The third man caught napping in the sequence was home plate umpire Greg Gibson. He initially called Cabrera out at home, even though Ellis never so much as touched the ball, which was sitting by the backstop. Gibson changed his call, and Ellis, again apparently still trying to figure out what was going on, finally gathered the ball too late to prevent Venable from scoring the go-ahead run. It didn’t help that Jansen was slow to cover the plate.
In the end, it was simply a colossal failure from the Dodgers’ battery, though ansen deserves most of the blame. Give credit to Cabrera, who was in the game as a pinch-runner. He’s now 16-for-16 stealing bases this year. After Amarista was retired on a groundout, Huston Street went on to pitch a scoreless bottom of the ninth, giving the Padres a 7-6 victory.
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.