The Braves plan to break ground on their new ballpark this summer

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves and Cobb County have sent out their request for proposals for the construction of the new Braves ballpark up in SuburbiaLand. The requests outline the expected construction schedule, which includes ground being broken this summer and construction of the actual ballpark beginning next February. Completion is scheduled for February 2017, just before the season begins.

They are looking for contractors experienced in ballpark construction:

“The (Cobb) stadium will be unique, though many of its features will emulate those of similar and recently built MLB ballparks,” according to the document. “It will contain special features that are specifically tailored to the needs of (the Braves) and will be cohesive with the (planned adjacent mixed-use development).”

Features which emulate those of similar and recently built MLB ballparks should include things like grass, bases and garish moving sculptures that spring into action when home runs are hit. Special features specifically tailored to the needs of the Braves: a big sign that says “BARVES.”

Or so I’m hoping.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.