Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Alex Anthopoulos takes himself out of the running for the Twins job


A few days ago it was reported that former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was a “confirmed candidate” to take over as the Twins’ president of baseball operations. That seemed like an intriguing fit and a promising bit of news for Twins fans eager to see their club move forward.

It’s not, however, not gonna happen. Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports that Anthopoulos is telling friends that he’s not interested. Rather, he’d prefer to stay in his position of vice president of baseball operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fact that he just moved his family to Southern California — his kids are 4 and 5 — is a big factor.

So much for that.


County Republican Party opposes Rangers new taxpayer-funded ballpark

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Ballpark finance politics often create a bit of a bizarro situation in which flaming pinkos like me end up sounding like hardcore anti-government spending types while, often, such as in Cobb County, Georgia, the self-proclaimed conservatives seem to love coming out in favor of government largesse.

It’s really not that bizarro, though. We pinkos don’t think that the money shouldn’t be spent on ballparks due to some philosophical opposition to government spending in general. We’re pretty cool with many categories of government spending. Just not the “give hundreds of millions to billionaires so they can make more money” spending. We want it spent on helping the poor, for education, for social services and the construction of socialist reeducation camps so that our children can learn GoodThink. Meanwhile, conservatives have always been in favor of big spending as long as it benefits business interests and people who vote for conservatives. It’s complicated!

Whatever you think about all of that, it certainly is news when part of the local power structure, be it left or right, opposes a big stadium project. Politicians of all parties love those things! But not if they’re Republicans in Arlington, Texas. At least not if they want the support of their party this fall:

Opponents of the proposed $1 billion retractable-roof stadium to replace Globe Life Park in Arlington as home of the Texas Rangers have gained a new ally as Election Day nears.

The Tarrant County Republican Party approved a resolution Thursday night opposing the city of Arlington’s commitment to pay up to $500 million toward the project using public financing.

The resolution recites part of the party’s platform: “We oppose all bailouts of domestic and foreign government entities, states and all businesses, public and private. We oppose local government handouts to businesses and other private entities in the name of economic development.”

On November 8, Tarrant County voters will vote on the ballpark financing plan. Kudos to the Tarrant County Republican Party for taking a rare stand against this sort of thing.

(h/t to Babe Ruth’s Legs)

So, how is the Tim Tebow news being received?

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Tim Tebow‘s actual baseball career may not ultimately be of any consequence. Most part-time, half-heartedly pursued hobbies with possible ulterior motives aren’t. But they’re certainly causing some fun reactions among the press and populace.

For example: a lot of baseball players have opinions about Tebow and the $100,000 signing bonus he reportedly received, as well as the fact that he gets to take leave from the instructional league in order to go be a talking head on ESPN on the weekends:

It’s certainly easy to sympathize with these guys. From their perspective, Tebow jumped the line and got preferential treatment because of his celebrity.

That said, some of these complaints and others like them either inadvertently miss or intentionally overlook a central truth here: baseball isn’t always a meritocracy and Tebow being given $100K isn’t really about the Mets valuing his baseball skills 100 times more than, say, the Mariners valued Tyler Smith’s.

Though neither Tebow nor Sandy Alderson want to admit it, a big part of signing Tebow is the gimmick of his presence in the Mets organization, fans flocking to Port St. Lucie and some hard-to-quantify yet certainly real value that the Mets think Tebow will provide as a motivator or clubhouse presence or what have you, much the same way the Rangers keep Russell Wilson in the organization and let him show up to spring training each year. The only difference is that the Rangers don’t pretend that Wilson is anything other than a motivational speaker.

I don’t begrudge these players’ anger. It has to sting to see Tebow being feted like he has been. And the bit about him being able to keep his day job rather than dedicate himself 100% to baseball the way they are all expected to makes all of this a lot more galling than it otherwise was.

At the same time, though, I don’t begrudge Tebow getting paid. He’s going to make the Mets that $100K back one way or the other. Even if he’s not going to do it via his baseball skills.