Turner Field

The Braves are not entirely pleased with their stadium situation

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Wait, did I say this morning that the acts of Jeff Loria would chasten those sports teams who would dare make noise about their stadiums and stuff? Hahaha, how silly of me.  Because down in Atlanta — where the huge story these days is the Falcons wanting a $1 billion new home — someone with the Braves had the guts to squawk about their 16 year-old park. At least its location:

Substantive talks are underway, with the 2016 expiration of the Atlanta Braves’ lease on Turner Field in mind. The Braves have never been entirely happy there.

“As we sit here in 2012, this isn’t where we would have this stadium today,” began Mike Plant, the Braves’ executive vice president of business operations. “I’m not saying it’s a bad place, but it doesn’t match up with where the majority of our fans come from.”

Reality reigns, of course. The Braves know they’re not doing anything about it, so the focus is going to get on with rehabbing the neighborhood in some sort of private-public partnership mish-mash we hear so much about.

All of which puts further lie to the already silly notion that ballparks — hell, in this case, entire Olympic villages — lead to surrounding development.  Atlanta has had pushing 20 years to make that happen on that site, and it still hasn’t happened. They built it, and no one came, despite the promises of every single team owner in the history of forever.

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)
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.