Because I’m bored, let’s follow-up that Josh Hamilton post with a survey of each Major League Baseball city to see what sport — using my totally subjective There Can Only Be One criteria — reigns supreme in each city. Which team, if the city could vote and only keep one, would stay:
- New York: High school hoops has a rich history, but professionally I think baseball. Specifically Yankees. Anyone really disagree?
- Boston: Probably the most “all sports” town on the list, but I’d have to say Sox.
- Toronto: Leafs, Leafs, Leafs, Leafs.
- Baltimore: For a long time baseball, but I do a lot of sports radio in Baltimore and it seems like the Ravens have dominated for years. And really, before the 80s, the Colts probably did too.
- Tampa Bay: Who knows? Anyone? Not the Rays, that’s for sure. Probably the Bucs. More probably shuffleboard and bocce ball.
- Detroit: Great baseball town, but they seem to live and die with the Wings more. My relatives who live there all do anyway. I could be persuaded that Detroit is primarily a baseball town, though.
- Cleveland: Browns. By far. Even when they didn’t exist for a few years.
- Chicago: This is an interesting one. I feel like it’s a Bears city, but I’d like to hear arguments on it. Walking around there in the summer and the city just reeks baseball, so it’s probably closer than I imagine.
- Kansas City: They don’t tailgate for the Royals like they do for the Chiefs and that’s not for lack of a parking lot.
- Minneapolis: I assume the Vikings. Gleeman should weigh in, though. Youth hockey may trump it all.
- Seattle: I really don’t know, but given that they’ve sent away a baseball team and a basketball team to other cities in the past, the Seahawks probably by default.
- Oakland: Kind of weird because (a) they’re so close to San Francisco; and (b) the people who dress up and act insane for Raiders games all probably live outside of Oakland, but based just on what you see, the Raiders.
- Houston: Texas = football. Even with the Oilers leaving.
- Los Angeles: It’s a status city and good Lakers tickets have to be pretty high up there as far as status symbols go.
- Dallas: Cowboys could go 1-15 and the Rangers could win the series and it’s still a Cowboys city.
- Atlanta: Probably college football more than anything, but the Falcons pretty obviously trump the Braves. I think, as far as local support goes, it’s probably more of a front-running town than anything.
- Philadelphia: I really don’t know. All sports, to be sure. But it may very well be a baseball town more. There are no shortage of Philly people here, so you tell me. Gun to my head I say the Phillies and Eagels are close, but I don’t know if that’s been the case for all that long a time.
- Washington: It begins and ends with the Redskins and anyone who tells you differently is an insane person.
- Miami: Well, I don’t think it’s controversial to say it’s not the Marlins. Dolphins all the time, the Heat are a big deal when they’re good.
- St. Louis: Maybe the most baseball town of them all, even if I think that Best Fans in Baseball Thing is silly.
- Cincinnati: I think it’s a Reds town. I don’t know too many people here in Ohio who disagree.
- Milwaukee: It’s over 100 miles to Green Bay, but I bet it’s still more Packers than Brewers. If you disqualify the Packers for distance it’s the Brewers by default. Still a great baseball town, though. It’s not the Brewers fault that people go Packers crazy.
- Pittsburgh: A good baseball town to be sure, but it’s the Steelers by far. They’ve become a regional thing, even. It stretches well into Ohio and many points north, south and east as well.
- San Francisco: I think the Giants have to be it, at least since they moved to AT&T Park. And now the 49ers are moving out of the city, so it’ll probably become more pronounced.
- San Diego: My brother isn’t the most reliable narrator in the world but he’s lived in San Diego for almost 20 years and says the Chargers are it. Having gone to a lot of Padres games I have to agree with him.
- Denver: Broncos, Broncos, Broncos.
- Phoenix: I really have no idea. Like, no sense at all. The Suns have tenure, obviously, but I’m not sure what that means. Spring training makes the whole city basebally for a while. I know people get behind the Dbacks when they win. Man, I’m rather stumped on Phoenix.
So that’s my take. Talk amongst yourselves.
The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.
For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:
A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:
And they go on and on.
How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.
If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.
First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.
Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.
Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.
We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.
The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.
Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:
With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.
Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.
“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”
I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.