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.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.