Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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David Ortiz rips Bobby Valentine in his new memoir

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Back in 2012, Bobby Valentine managed the Boston Red Sox. It was an utter disaster for tons of reasons, but one of the dumbest things Valentine did was get into a war with David Ortiz. A war in which Valentine accused Ortiz of quitting on the Red Sox. This despite the fact that Ortiz suffered a serious foot injury and tried to come back early to help the struggling Sox, only to hurt himself again.

After the season, Valentine gave that interview in which he accused Ortiz of quitting. A couple of days later he had the nerve to text Ortiz and say that it was all being overblown and distorted by the media despite the fact that Valentine was not misquoted. He was on camera saying those things. Ortiz’s response was to muse that Valentine had mental issues.

Oritz has a memoir coming out called “Papi: My Story.” As one would expect, Ortiz has some feelings about his former manager. Sports Illustrated is running an excerpt of it today and it’s worth a read. Personally I’d rather hear Papi’s natural, uncensored version of it than the version that has obviously been softened by his co-author, Michael Holley, but it’s good stuff all the same.

Athletics have narrowed down preferred ballpark sites to two

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With the Oakland Raiders leaving town and the Golden State Warriors moving across the Bay to San Francisco, the momentum and enthusiasm for a new Oakland Athletics stadium has ratcheted up considerably. Now, Oakland Magazine reports, the A’s have narrowed down the potential sites for a new ballpark to two:

The Oakland A’s are now focusing on two sites in the city for a new ballpark: Laney College near Lake Merritt and Howard Terminal on the waterfront next to Jack London Square, according to four knowledgeable sources. Two of those sources say the Laney College property has edged into the lead as the team’s preferred spot.

Laney College area is close to downtown between Interstate 880 and Lake Merritt and near a BART station. According to the article, the preferred site is the Peralta Community College site noted on this map:

Oakland folks: weigh in to give your thoughts about that site, would ya?

The secondary site, Howard Terminal, is close to the waterway that leads into the Bay, but is farther from public transportation. There are concerns about heavily-used railroad tracks near there, however, which fans would have to cross in order to get to games.

The article says that the Laney College site seems to be preferred based on public polling being conducted by the A’s which focuses more heavily on that site, but A’s president Dave Kaval told Oakland Magazine that all three sites — these two and the Coliseum site — are all still on the table. He would not be likely to admit that one site is preferred over others, however, as the club wouldn’t want to tip its hand in negotiations.

Either way, the club is supposed to announce a site selection by the end of the year. What they’ll do, I have no idea. All I hope is that they choose a site that is 100% unable to be used by the Oakland Raiders if and when they come back from Las Vegas, once again looking to squat on A’s property.

Phillies give a two-year extension to manager Pete Mackanin

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The Philadelphia Phillies just announced that they have given manager Pete Mackanin a two-year contract extension. The deal covers this year and next, with the club holding an option for 2019.

This is more of an overlap to his existing deal than a full-blown extension. Last year he agreed to a deal that covered 2016-17 with a club option for 2018. Managers hate being lame ducks, however, and the industry standard has come to be not allowing a manager to be in his final guaranteed year for long, lest it be seen as a lack of confidence. The Phillies and Mackanin seem to be fully on the same page, however, so this move is not shocking.

Mackanin is in his third season as Phillies manager. He’s 121-161, having taken over the club as it fully committed to a major rebuild.