Craig Calcaterra

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

Jake Arrieta tells Stephen A. Smith where to stick it


Well, not explicitly, but about as much as you’ll see an athlete do it to a media personality on Twitter.

Yesterday we wrote about how Jake Arrieta is dismissive of whispers that his next-level performance in the past two years is a result of performance enhancing drugs. And such whispers, to the extent they exist, should be dismissed. Unless “developed a cutter” is now a PED, but I’ll have to check the Joint Drug Agreement for that.

Either way, today ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless decided to churn that nonsense some more, doing the classic “we’re not saying, but we’re saying  . . .” thing, citing Arrieta’s innings and improvement and piling on the strong implications that they think he’s juicing. Or at the very least, that he should sit quietly, idly and reverently by while guys like them spew their innuendo about it lest someone think he protests too much or whatever. It’s a frame game as old as time itself, born of Smith and Bayless’ narcissism and shamelessness. If you hate yourself and want to watch them on video saying this, it’s your funeral.

Arrieta was not going to take it lying down. In response to Smith shaming Arrieta for his alleged “laughing off” of the whispers, Arrieta said this:

And, because Smith’s guns have historically blazed in inverse hotness to the heat with which he is confronted, he replied thusly:

“The best to you.” Please. If you wish the best to anyone you’d not make baseless accusations for the purpose of “selling the controversy” or whatever useless thing your show purports to do. Treat people in a straight-up manner and offer a little “best to them” beforehand, not just when they call you out on your schtick.

The Braves are in first place! . . . when it comes to bilking taxpayers


So much attention has been paid to the Braves moving out of their less-than-twenty-year-old stadium in Atlanta to a new ballpark up in the suburbs. But that is merely the latest and largest of their many, many efforts at extracting money from local taxpayers for ballparks, pitting cities against one another and making themselves rich off of it all. Oh, and making sure the deals were all done and past the point of no-return before most taxpayers even knew about it.

Today Bloomberg Businessweek has a story about that practice, centered on a case study of how the Braves got a new ballpark for their Double-A team in Peal, Mississippi. It paints a pretty straightforward picture of the calculating and, at times, mercenary nature of a ballclub on the make. One that shows that sports teams are businesses, just like any other. In some cases worse, actually, in that they can pick up and leave whenever and use phony appeals to civic pride as a means of getting greater subsidies for themselves than any other business might expect:

Over the last 15 years, the Braves have extracted nearly half a billion in public funds for four new homes, each bigger and more expensive than the last. The crown jewel, backed by $392 million in public funding, is a $722 million, 41,500-seat stadium for the major league club set to open next year in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. Before Cobb, the Braves built three minor league parks, working their way up the ladder from Single A to Triple A. In every case, they switched cities, pitting their new host against the old during negotiations. They showered attention on local officials unaccustomed to dealing with a big-league franchise and, in the end, left most of the cost on the public ledger. Says Joel Maxcy, a sports economist at Drexel University: “If there’s one thing the Braves know how to do, it’s how to get money out of taxpayers.”

They do it because, with very few exceptions, taxpayers and politicians let them get away with it. We should stop letting them get away with it.

Athletics to call up top prospect Sean Manaea

Associated Press
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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are calling up pitching prospect Sean Manaea to start Friday night against the Astros.

Manaea, the Royals first-round draft pick in 2013, was acquired from Kansas City last year in the Ben Zobrist deal. While he has a sketchy health history heading into this year, he has been doing just fine at Nashville in 2016, posting a 1.50 ERA and a 21/4 K/BB in 18 innings.

The future is now.