Just my opinion on the music part, but we’ll get to that in a second.
In the meantime: we’ve written a bit over the years about the fate of the Astrodome. It hasn’t been used since it housed Katrina refugees in 2005. It’s rusting and obsolete and requires over $200 million to renovate the place back into usability. It’ll cost way less to simply wreck the place, though even the price tag for demolition is high. In short: there are no great options for a stadium that was once cool and state of the art but is now a giant mess.
My personal view: It’s a building that we will be sad, for nostalgic reasons, to see go, but which is not architecturally significant enough to save for its own sake and whose renovation represents a public cost far too great to justify. Nostalgia alone is no good reason to spend a quarter of a billion tax dollars.
Enter a November 5th referendum in which voters will decide whether to authorize over $200 million in bonds to turn the stadium into a convention center and exhibition space. Like I said, I’m skeptical of such things, but at least democracy will sort it out. Unfortunately, democratic ends often require a public campaign. And the public campaign to save the Astrodome has this working for it. And please: to fully appreciate it, watch it all in all of its hathos and glory:
Bruce Springsteen is turning over in his grave. And yes, he is dead. He heard this yesterday and immediately walked in front of a bus to stop the pain. True story.
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.