Miller Park in Milwaukee is poised to be the 12th big league stadium where the use of smokeless tobacco will be banned. This after a Tuesday city council vote which bans the use of the stuff in all sports facilities and parks. Those who violate the ban would be subject to a $100 to $250 fine.
Which is probably a deterrent for someone dipping and spitting while watching their kid at a playground or while playing rec league softball, but it will do nothing to stop big league players from using smokeless tobacco. That’s even assuming city officials would try to enforce it against big leaguers. It’s never happened in any of the other cities with tobacco bans which extend to major league facilities, and there is no reason to suggest that such enforcement will begin at Miller Park.
The ordinances are welcome and noble, but the only way you’re going to get ballplayers to stop using smokeless tobacco is if Major League Baseball gets serious about enforcing its own rules against players using the stuff on the field. They seem to have no intention of doing that whatsoever.
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.
Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.
As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”
The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.