They should save the Astrodome because of … nostalgia?

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There’s a column in the New York Times today talking about the rusting, abandoned Houston Astrodome and how, in the author’s opinion, it should be spared the wrecking ball. The reason? Architectural appreciation and symbolism with a dash of nostalgia:

James Glassman, a Houston preservationist, calls the Astrodome the city’s Eiffel Tower and the “physical manifestation of Houston’s soul.” New York could afford to tear down old Yankee Stadium, Glassman said, because the city had hundreds of other signature landmarks. Not Houston. Along with oil, NASA and the pioneering heart surgeons Michael E. DeBakey and Denton A. Cooley, the technological marvel of the Astrodome put a young, yearning city on the global map.

“There was a confluence of space-age, Camelot-era optimism, and we were right there,” said Glassman, founder of the Web siteHoustorian.org. “It really set us on the road for a go-go future.”

I get that. But (a) there is no viable plan for the place; (b) any plan, good or bad, that involves keeping the building or most of it is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars; and (b) wrecking the thing, while really expensive, is going to cost way less.

It’s nice that people have fond memories of the place. And I’ll grant that the space age thinking and design that influenced the Astrodome is underrated in a weird way.  But the Astrodome is trapped in the valley where most buildings eventually find themselves: Not significant enough to save, but cool enough to make us a bit sad when it goes. And that aside, if places like Tiger Stadium don’t get spared there’s no way a just universe spares the Astrodome.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.