If their shovels are as good as their bats have been lately, they’ll probably dig a hole three miles off target and a month too late. But for now this is the plan:
Although work has been underway on the site of the new Braves stadium in Cobb County for months, the team has scheduled a formal ground-breaking ceremony for Sept. 16.
The Braves said the ceremony will mark the start of the construction phase of the project, “putting it on schedule to host fans for Opening Day 2017.”
We still don’t know what the ballpark will look like. But here’s what they’re saying:
In a news release announcing the ground-breaking ceremony, the Braves said the new stadium “will bring together a classic ballpark feel, modern amenities and southern hospitality, creating a fan experience unlike any other.”
“Southern Hospitality” must mean that the Waffle House is staying. That’s good.
But no thanks on “a fan experience unlike any other.” We’re already getting a good deal of that lately.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.