The Pirates could be interested in Huston Street

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Mark Melancon has done a respectable job since replacing Jason Grilli as Pittsburgh’s closer, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates could consider making a trade for Padres closer Huston Street.

It’s unclear whether the two teams have actually had trade talks, but Biertempfel writes that the Pirates have focused most of their attention on pitchers, both for the rotation and the bullpen. The Padres figure to be one of a handful of sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so Street is a logical target for any team on the lookout for a late-inning arm. The 30-year-old owns a fantastic 1.09 ERA and 34/7 K/BB ratio over 33 innings this season. He’s making $7 million this season while his contract includes a $7 million option for 2015, so the asking price figures to be pretty steep.

Ernesto Frieri has struggled since coming over from the Angels for Grilli, so the potential addition of Street would allow Melancon to move back into a set-up role. Jonathan Papelbon, Joaquin Benoit, Chad Qualls, and Joakim Soria are among the other late-inning arms who could be moved this month.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.