As we reach the end of a Friday that we thought would bring forth Biogenesis news but which, alas, has not, the posturing continues. This from A-Rod’s side in Newsday:
“This guy is fighting this,” the source said Friday as Rodriguez was expected in Trenton, where he is scheduled to play Friday night and Saturday for the Double-A Thunder. “Alex is getting on the field, he’s excited to play, he’s ready to play. They’re [his legal team] all waiting and willing to fight anything that comes their way. The priority is to be on the field and play baseball.”
Never does it seem more clear that what Major League Baseball wants is to have an agreed suspension as opposed to having to fight any appeal, even if they are confident that they will ultimately be successful. By all accounts, Major League Baseball has considerable evidence and believes it can win if it has to. If that’s true, the only thing truly holding them back is the desire to avoid a fight altogether and the chance to wrap everything up in a bow. If that were not the case they would, one presumes, simply have suspended A-Rod already and invited him and his legal team to do its worst.
Rodriguez’s people know this. Reason suggests that they cut a deal which saves their client as much of what’s left on his contract as possible rather than risk a lifetime ban. But their awareness of MLB’s desire to settle has likely emboldened them. Made them think that they can force a bit better of a deal than what MLB currently has on the table. Obviously that’s all just speculation, but I’m struggling to think of what other sticking point there could be in this particular negotiation. It’s all a game of chicken as opposed to some multi-faceted deal. The only real variable being how many games.
Thus the posturing and thus the delay. It’s absolutely fascinating. I have no idea what will happen. No one outside the process really can know. But it’s oddly exciting to realize that a major chapter in baseball history is going to be written one way or another based, essentially, on whether Bud Selig or Alex Rodriguez blinks first.
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.