Craig Calcaterra

DUNEDIN, FL - MARCH 22:  Florida Auto Exchange Stadium during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tronto Blue Jays on March 22, 2014 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The Blue Jays want a new spring training facility

10 Comments

The Blue Jays are one of the dwindling few baseball teams who do not train in a single-site, state-of-the-art spring training complex. Rather, they’ve been in Dunedin, Florida in the same couple of joints since their inception as a franchise: one ballpark, one training facility three miles away. The park is nice and cozy if you’re going to take in a ballgame once in a while. It’s comfortably and unassumingly plopped down in a mostly residential neighborhood. Parking is not as easy as some other places, but it’s close to a lot of other parks and places to see and things to do in the Tampa Bay area.

The Blue Jays, however, are not there to pass a random March afternoon or two every few years like I am. They have to train there every year and use it as their Florida base of operations year-round. As far as that goes. it’s outdated and way less useful than the new, modern and integrated training facilities most other teams have. And it’s something they want to change. Mark Shapiro says he wants the major league facility to be “a state-of-the-art, top-notch facility, but (also important is) where we train, where we rehabilitate, where we look at putting our players all year round.”

The club would like to stay in Dunedin and has presented the city with its requirements, but you know how this dance works by now: they’ll expect the city to pay for it, the city will balk for a bit, then there will be a number of proposals, each more club-friendly than the last. Eventually the Blue Jays will use those offers to leverage another city, perhaps in conjunction with another club looking for new digs too, like the Braves. At the end of this, the Jays will have a new place, paid for mostly by taxes, with the actual city in which it is located being a secondary concern.

All of which means that, if you like cozy little ballparks unassumingly plopped down in mostly residential neighborhoods, figure that you only have a few seasons left to catch a game in Dunedin.

Buck Showalter thinks Chris Davis has enough money

71 Comments

The Orioles have reportedly offered Chris Davis a $150 million deal to stay in Baltimore. Davis is reportedly still considering it while trying to see if there’s anything more than that available out there. It seems like that may be as good as he’ll do, but you never know. Either way, he’s a free agent so he’s free to look for more money if he can find it.

Buck Showalter was asked about the Chris Davis situation yesterday. He said something interesting:

“How much is enough?” he said. “I asked Chris during the season, ‘Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want. So, how much is enough?’ I love Chris, but if that (his decision) makes or breaks our team, shame on us.”

I wonder if Buck Showalter asks Peter Angelos if the millions, maybe billions, he’s made running the Orioles is enough. Or Rob Manfred if MLB revenues are so good and so high that earning more for the unique product he controls is unnecessary. If the fact that they can buy whatever they want means that wanting or expecting more is unreasonable.

I’d guess not, because that’d be a silly thing to ask. Baseball is a business and as long as people are willing to pay for the product — and will continue to pay more for the product over time as they determine is reasonable given the value they receive from it — the question of whether it’s “enough” is beside the point. In a capitalist system, one sells one’s product as long as there are buyers. And the price of the product is based on continuing demand for it, not whether the seller has sufficient assets in the bank from past sales.

Why the product a worker like Chris Davis sells — his labor — is not assumed by those in a capitalist system to be priced the same way has always been a mystery to me. That he should take less for a valuable and desirable service he provides because, in someone else’s view, he has “enough,” is almost a comical notion given how everyone else in that system operates. Yet that is widely assumed to be reasonable in baseball. Fans, media, the owners and the managers think that the players make too much and, on some level, should be satisfied with what they have. That they should not look to make more given that they can buy anything they want at Target, or whatever.

Marvin Miller and the MLBPA won the ground war when it came to getting players their fair share of baseball revenues. But they never did win the propaganda war. It’s still a majority view that the players are greedy and overpaid and that they should be honored to simply be allowed to play the game. The idea that they are the single most valuable part of baseball and that they should, therefore, take a huge chunk out of this multi-billion industry is impossible for many to swallow.

It’s not just baseball, of course. The idea that a man or woman’s labor is a product being purchased is lost on most people. Indeed, when one suggests that it is, one is often accused of being a communist. How ironic that is.

 

Cricketer Kieran Powell tries to make it in baseball

West Indies' Kieran Powell acknowledges the crowd after scoring a century during the first day of the first cricket test match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/A.M.Ahad)
Associated Press
21 Comments

David Waldstein of the New York Times tells the story of Kieran Powell, a former international cricket player from Saint Kitts and Nevis who is down in Florida trying to make the jump to Major League Baseball.

It’d be quite a jump. While most of us are familiar with Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh who were signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as something of a gimmick back in 2009 and whose story was kinda told in the movie “Million Dollar Arm,’ no professional cricket player has ever made the big leagues. That Powell is nearly 26 and hadn’t picked up a baseball glove until very recently also works against him.

Working for him: crazy athleticism and a baseball immersion program at the IMG Academy in Florida which has some observers saying that Powell has serious potential. Some of Waldstein’s sources say that he profiles as a leadoff-hitting center fielder with gap power. It’s always worth tempering such sentiment about guys no one has seen play as there are incentives for people to exaggerate — and in this case Powell hasn’t even played in a game outside of a league in the UK last summer — but it’s intriguing all the same.

He’s already had tryouts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets. Yesterday 14 teams scouted Powell at a showcase in Bradenton. In addition to his baseball skills, he definitely showed off his confidence:

“All you’ve got to do is hit the ball into the gap and get on base, don’t get picked off, come around and score,” Powell said. “Catch some fly balls, throw some guys out with your rocket arm.”

Oh, that’s all? Tell ’em, Wash: