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The Astrodome is not going anywhere for a while

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The Houston Astrodome has sat empty for years and has been without a professional sports team in it for a decade. It has been considered “uninhabitable” for three years.  Current estimates have it at $64 million to demolish the place and $270 million to renovate it for … something.  Either way, taxpayers still owe $29 million for construction of the near 50 year-old building.

Kind of a no-brainer here, I’d say: blow the sucker up. Or, rather, tear it down (apparently it’s too close to other buildings to implode).  But that’s not happening anytime soon:

Harris County voters may get a say in what happens to the Astrodome, but they will not get it this year.

The last day Commissioners Court can place a referendum on the November ballot is Aug. 20, according to county attorneys. The court’s Tuesday meeting was its last scheduled before that date, and no mention of the Dome was on the agenda.

“The economic situation is just not favorable at this time to be able to step in and get people to invest big money,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said. “I don’t think there’s a quick fix for our economy, and I don’t think there’s a quick fix for the Dome.”

So it sits and rusts. Another monument to the stupidity of the public sector underwriting toys for private businessmen.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.