Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

“Nightmare” plan to run traffic to the Braves new stadium via neighborhood streets

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The Braves stadium situation continues to be an absolute peach.

The club’s new ballpark, which was planned via a secret deal between Cobb County officials and the Braves, has been controversial for a host of reasons, including the use of public money and the lack of transparency involved in the process. On a more practical level there have been major concerns about traffic and parking. There is no mass transit serving the new park and the planned parking lots are in bad places — across a freeway in one instance, with no set plan yet to create a pedestrian bridge — and are too few in number. And that’s before you deal with the already awful congestion in the area where I-285 and I-75 meet, which is where the park is located.

Now comes some more traffic rancor, this in the form of a plan by Cobb County to divert traffic off of the freeway and over surface streets through the town of Sandy Springs on game days. Guess what? The mayor and council of Sandy Springs claim they had no idea about this until the other day. And whether this did truly blindside them or they’re just pretending it did to save their political skins, they’re not happy. They call it a “nightmare” and were visibly and audibly angry at the poor Cobb County transportation director who came to tell them what the plan was:

“You want to take all the traffic off 285 and put it on surface streets?” asked an incredulous Councilmember Tibby DeJulio.

“That’s what we want to do all over the system,” Wilgus replied.

Wilgus fenced with the mayor and councilmembers over definitions of street types and hypothetical traffic impacts.

“You can’t run these [sign-directed drivers] through neighborhood streets,” Paul said.

“We’re not running them through neighborhood streets…Interstate North is not really a neighborhood street,” Wilgus said.

“I live there, so you don’t tell me that it’s not a neighborhood street,” the mayor said. “We live here. We know those streets.”

I’ll grant Cobb County this much: there has never been a local government or group of local citizens who has ever NOT complained about traffic and parking in connection with a new development. You could put up a building that provides free cookies, free massages and 100% scientifically-verified cancer cures and some local paper would run a story about how “locals expressed concerns over parking, congestion.”

Still, neither Cobb County nor the Braves have done anything to earn the benefit of the doubt with respect to this whole stadium deal, so it’s probably not a great idea to cut them any slack on this score until they prove that their plan is actually workable.

Twins trade Oswaldo Arcia to the Rays

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The Tampa Bay Rays acquired outfielder Oswaldo Arcia from the Twins in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Arcia, 25, has shown some promise at times but he’s never been able to put it together at the big league level, hitting only .240/.303/.429 over 967 plate appearances. The Rays could use him due to their multiple outfielder injuries. The Twins are just tired of him, it would seem. And, of course, they have better outfield options in the form of current prospects than Arcia, whose prospect status is in the past.

Jose Reyes to the Mets appears likely

Associated Press
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Marc Carig of Newsday reports that, while the Mets have not yet made a final decision,  “all signs are pointing toward a reunion” between the club and their former shortstop, Jose Reyes. Carig says that “the idea has continued to gain steam within the organization,” and that the Mets could sign Reyes as soon as this weekend.

The idea will be for Reyes to either play third base, covering for the injured David Wright, or for him to play second base with Neil Walker moving to third from second. He is not envisioned as an option at short, where Asdrubal Cabrera is holding things down. Reyes hit .303/.425/.485 over 40 plate appearances on his nine-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque. Last season he hit .285 with a .322 on-base percentage and stole 16 bases in 69 games for the Blue Jays. He hit only .259 with a .291 OBP in 47 games after being traded to the Colorado Rockies.

The biggest fallout of this signing, however, would be the p.r. fallout occasioned by the Mets giving a job to a man who was arrested in October for domestic violence and who hasn’t played in the bigs this year due to his lengthy suspension for the incident. There are some, of course, who view what happens on and off the field as totally separate things. Many fans, however, will not take well to the Mets reuniting with a player with Reyes’ recent history.