With the caveat that early architectural renderings rarely if ever give us a great sense of what the final product will actually look like and feel like — and with the caveat that the vagueness of early renderings often gives the place an overly-idealized version of the final product — the Atlanta Journal Constitution gives us early architectural renderings of the new Braves park:
More pics here.
Kudos for what appears to be greater shade/sun-protection measures in those big panels up top. Demerits for what appears to be four or five distinct decks. The Braves are saying the park will hold only 41,500 people which is not crazy, but it does seem a tad overbuilt. If the idea is to have fewer rows in each section, OK, but in the post-pillar age, every row up means going back a little bit, so I wonder how groundbreaking this really is. I guess we won’t know until we can sit in the actual seats up high.
My bigger observation is that t just looks kinda generic. Is there new room for something — anything — that looks architecturally inspired as opposed to merely functional? The Braves are owned by a big corporation and these renderings look like the profit of a bunch of meetings in which everyone fought hard not to offend anyone else. Nothing is going to please everyone, but something bold would be neat. Not that Braves have ever gone for anything particularly bold.
Obviously things could change, but this is sorta underwhelming, even if it’ll almost certainly be a fine place to watch a ballgame.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.