In the year 2000

The Ballpark of the Future is … kinda trippy

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Sports Illustrated and ballpark architect Populous have combined to do something fun: imagine what a ballpark might look like in the year 2030. Go check it out here. There are artist’s renderings and explanations of all of the unique flourishes and how the concepts of ballpark design will evolve over the next 15-20 years. It’s kinda cool. It’s even got monorails and stuff, and nothing says the future like a monorail.

Of course, like almost all speculative stuff like this, it’s rather utopian and thus extremely unlikely to come to fruition. Often times we don’t realize how futurist stuff like this is unrealistic until many years have passed (people really did think there would be moon colonies by the year 2000 at one point). But sometimes you can see the flaws right out of the gate. This one is in the latter camp.

The biggest thing I see is the unworkability of the “sink into the city” design Populous has come up with here. Part of the explanation:

In this case, the building itself is defined by the edges of the city, acting as a window into the building on game days. There’s no need for fanciful facades, as the stadium instead flows with the park and city. You’ll still find a traditional seating bowl tucked below premium glass-enclosed spaces, but with the future of team revenue not as reliant on gate receipts, designers can offer new types of space. A city park overlooks rightfield . . . and an enlarged berm beyond leftfield gives the stadium community-inspired life and public accessibility 365 days a year.

Tell me one time in the history of baseball when team owners were willing to forego a buck in the interests of public accessibility. Maybe gate receipts will continue to diminish in importance, but in a world where baseball owners (a) demand someone else pay for their parks; (b) nonetheless take all revenues from said park; and (c) still gouge the living hell out of fans because, well, they can, I am not too optimistic that people will be gayly frolicking in a public park beyond the right field wall. Heck, even on non game days I’m sure the public will find limited at best access to this wonderfully integrated-into-the-city park.

I do, on the other hand, love what they have to say about integrated data in the park. The technology stuff is where I imagine ballparks will change the most over the next few decades, with the superstructure, facades and access changing far less than is imagined here.

Anyway: fun stuff. If you can’t get excited by this kind of thing you and I don’t have much to talk about.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.