The Braves are hot garbage, and if former Braves outfielder Gary Sheffield gets his way they’ll be playing on top of garbage every February and March.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that an investment group, a part of which includes the Gary Sheffield Sports Foundation, has made a proposal to build a new spring training facility for the Braves in Pinellas County on a site that served as a garbage dump from the 1960s through the 1980s. Back in April the Times said this about the site, then not attached to any development plans:
. . .lurking beneath the grassy surface is a construction engineer’s nightmare: a layer of garbage, perhaps as thick as 60 feet in some places, emitting methane gas and creating an unstable building surface. Though the location of the former Toytown landfill is prime, the roughly 25 years worth of buried household trash, construction debris, yard waste and sludge takes the sheen off a site the county has been trying for years to sell or lease.
Which sounds perfect for the Braves, really. And for many other sporting events and facilities, according to the article.
The Braves are under lease at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex for another year, but that is quickly losing its appeal as a spring training location given the Astros’ impending move to Palm Beach, leaving only the Braves and Tigers in central Florida. A St. Pete site for the Braves would put them much closer to the many teams in the Bay Area — the Phillies, Blue Jays, Yankees, Pirates and Orioles are all very close — and would make for more manageable drives down the Gulf Coast to where the Rays, Red Sox and Twins are.
Very desirable indeed! At least if you ignore the 60 feet of garbage underneath home plate.
This is fun: catcher Rene Rivera said yesterday that he is disappointed with his playing time.
The Tampa Bay Times has a report on it today, and Rivera says that his benching, even from his personal catching role for Chris Archer, “sucks.” Which they change to “stinks,” but you know he said “sucks.” He added:
“I feel like if you are going to give the opportunity to a guy, you should stick with him and help him get through slumps . . . The first half I played a lot and I didn’t do right as a hitter. But I feel like the second half would be better, and I didn’t have the chance to do it.”
The Rays, while in last place now, were arguably within striking distance of a playoff slot for a good chunk of the middle of the season. In the first half of the season Rivera hit .185/.221/.306 and struck out 61 times in 238 plate appearances. He has been even worse in the second half, and on the year his line stands at .180/.214/.279. Meanwhile, J.P. Arencibia was called up at the end of August and has hit .327/.333/.655 since then. Sustainable? Of course not. But considerably better than what Rivera has done.
All of which is to say: weird time for playing time complaints.
Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune reports that Joe Maddon and the Cubs are not at all pleased with AC/DC. And not simply because they haven’t put out anything listenable since “Stiff Upper Lip.” No, he’s mad at what they did to the turf and infield at Wrigley following their concert there on September 15:
“Since the AC/DC concert, we’ve had a little bit of trouble . . . I don’t know if they were out there taking ground balls before the game, or if they had nine-inch heels or spikes. They totally messed up the infield.”
The Cubs replaced the outfield grass as well. It looks OK on TV, but Cubs reporters were tweeting last Friday when the Cubs got back home that it appeared to be something of an uneven mess.
I realize that money talks, but allowing non-baseball events in ballparks during the baseball season is pretty lame. Whether it be for the turf like this or for the schedule, such as the Astros’ wonderful 1992 road trip to make room for the Republican National Convention. That was 26 games out on the road. That was bad enough as it was, but Pete Incavaglia was on that team. Can you imagine traveling for nearly four weeks with Pete Incavaglia? Talk about a Highway to Hell.
Anyway, here’s hoping things get smoothed out in time for the playoffs. Assuming, anyway, that the Cubs get a home playoff game.