Associated Press

Shocker: the Rangers new ballpark will cost taxpayers more than initially claimed

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Ballparks and stadiums often end up costing more than initially projected. Things happen, costs spiral and the optimism of the groundbreaking eventually gives way to the realities of construction schedules.

In Texas they haven’t even turned one shovel of dirt on the Rangers new ballpark yet, but it’s already costing taxpayers more than they were initially told it would. Not because of cost overruns, however, but because the taxpayers were basically lied to.

As this report from WFAA-TV makes clear, the Rangers and public officials sold the new stadium as a 50-50 split between the team and taxpayers. It turns out, however, that a big chunk of tax revenue — ticket and parking taxes which almost always go to the government and are used to fund the public’s share of a stadium project —  are being handed over to the Rangers who will us it to fund their “50 percent” share. As Barry Petchesky of Deadspin characterizes it:

So Arlington is on the hook for its pledged $500 million, plus another $300 million that it ought to be raising from tickets and parking that will instead go right into the Rangers’ owners’ pockets. Those owners will ultimately have to pay just $200 million of their own money to get their fancy-ass new ballpark.

It’s rare that anything in these publicly-financed ballpark deals surprises me anymore. But this one actually surprises me. The audacity of the cash grab/giveaway and the contempt officials have for the public in selling this as a 50-50 split is simply remarkable.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.