There will be no opportunity for public comment before the Braves ballpark vote

37 Comments

The Cobb County Commission’s vote on the Braves ballpark is a forgone conclusion. It’s going to pass. No one I’ve read or heard who knows what goes on down there thinks any different. But forgone conclusion or not, it strikes me as a jerk move to not allow public comment on the matter prior to the vote. But that’s what’s going down.

Tim Lee, Chairman of the Commission, was asked about why there wouldn’t be a public hearing before the vote:

“We’ve made a decision we’re not going to do that. I don’t know that having a public hearing would add to the objective of getting more input since we’ve got a lot of input to date.”

Yeah, this thing has been a matter of public discourse for ages! Or, well, a bit over a week, but either way. But really, who needs to look more closely at a public project that was kept secret from all but a few land speculators until the last moment? There is clearly nothing that could be gained from any scrutiny of that. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.

Forgone conclusion or not, it just seems to me that if you’re going to do something with public funds like this, and you’re going to do it in such a way that consciously avoids any public referendum on the matter, voters should at least have you on the record defending your rationale for when they do get a chance to pass judgment later. Specifically, in the course of your reelection bid. But no. Now we get “there’s no point in talking about it.” Later, I presume, we’ll get “there’s no sense in revisiting the past.”

Thought experiment: instead of $300 million + to the Braves’ benefit, the Commission decides to give $300 million to the poor. I wonder how them not holding any public debate on the matter would go over then?

Carlos Gomez questions Collin McHugh’s manhood after benches-clearing incident on Monday

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
2 Comments

Tempers flared between the Astros and Rangers on Monday in Arlington. In the bottom of the second inning, Astros starter Collin McHugh threw a first-pitch fastball inside to Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez. Gomez didn’t like it, so he stared at McHugh for a few seconds. Gomez fouled off the next pitch and jawed at McHugh before taking a few steps towards the mound. McHugh came in and the benches emptied. Fortunately, order was quickly restored and both teams were issued warnings.

The Astros and Rangers had a benches-clearing incident earlier this season as well. In a game in Houston on May 1, Astros starter Lance McCullers threw inside to Mike Napoli, which caused the benches to spill out onto the field. McHugh also hit Gomez with a first pitch fastball in the second inning on August 31 and Mike Fiers did the same in the second inning on August 12. As a result, Gomez thinks the Astros have it out for him. Via Levi Weaver of WFAA Sports:

Gomez referenced manhood a couple different times, saying, “I’m a man and I’m responsible.” Referring to McHugh, Gomez said, “he’s not man enough to tell me [that he’s going to hit me] face-to-face.” He continued, “So if you’re a real man, you tell me to my face, not send me a message.”

Per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart and Sam Butler, McHugh said after the game:

The second pitch, he took a big swing and fouled it off and took about five steps out toward the mound, looking me straight in the eye. I just asked him if we had a problem. It was a rhetorical question because, clearly, he’s got a problem with me. I don’t exactly know what it is, but whatever the case, he came out and I asked him what the issue was and he said, ‘Yeah, I got a problem with you.’ That was it. Everybody else was out there by that point in time. The game goes on. I don’t want to spend any more mental effort thinking about Carlos Gomez.

The series resumes on Tuesday night as Dallas Keuchel will oppose Cole Hamels. It will be interesting to see if the drama bleeds over into this one.

Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the nachos guy from yesterday’s game

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
9 Comments

In the bottom of the second inning of Monday night’s game at Busch Stadium, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell dove into the stands down the left field line in an attempt to catch a foul ball. A Cardinals fan holding a tray of nachos was in Russell’s path and had his tasty treat knocked onto the dirt in front of the stands. Russell did the fan a solid, though, bringing him a new tray of nachos and posed for a selfie. The fan was also later seen taking selfies with other fans.

That peeved Cubs starter Jon Lester, who started Monday’s game. Via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Great effort,” pitcher Jon Lester said. “But I don’t understand the other stuff.

“A guy fell into him and got nacho cheese on his arm and now he’s taking pictures and signing autographs. It shows you where our society’s at right now with all that stuff.”

It wasn’t like Lester had a poor outing and that’s why he was salty. The lefty yielded just one run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six innings. Lester just, uh, hates selfies, I guess? I’m also not sure how the whole scenario is a reflection of American society, unless he means that people can turn a disappointing situation into a fun and heartwarming situation.

At least Russell and Cubs manager Joe Maddon had a good sense of humor about it. Maddon said the whole thing was “pretty entertaining.” Russell said, “You don’t get between a man and his nachos.”