And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 3, White Sox 1: Bartolo Colon is pitching like it’s 2002 again or something (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER). Quick! Bartlo! Send an email to 2002-era Craig and tell him not to put off that trip to Paris he planned with the missus and then cancelled. Contrary to what they each said, the trip would not wait another year because in another year they had a Mookie in the oven and then another one 19 months later that effectively punted European travel for a decade or more. Dear God, 2002 Craig was too stupid to live.

In other news, I’m leaving my fortified compound and I’m travelling to New York this morning. Among the many things I will do there between today and Sunday is to catch tonight’s Yankees-White Sox game. The weather forecast looks iffy, however. I sure hope it doesn’t get cancelled. Because God knows that there’s nothing else to do in New York.

Mets 6, Nationals 3: The Mets just will not lose. A pinch-hit homer in the eighth from Daniel Murphy tied it up and a two-run double from Murphy sealed the deal in the ninth. Six in a row for New York.

Phillies 8, Diamondbacks 4: Some more offense for the Phillies, who bombarded Joe Saunders and avoided the sweep. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard go yard. After the game Charlie Manuel said “Anytime you hit, you feel good about yourself.”  Then — and here is where the video of the interview with Manuel got a bit jumpy, so I could have it wrong — he said “You know, with some offense you got that vim! That vigor! That pep! That get-up-and-go that makes a fella feel swell. We hit the long balls, bury the Braves, get Roy some hardware, Burma Shave!”

Pirates 2, Giants 0: James McDonald and a quartet of relievers shut out the Giants. A strong outing for Madison Bumgarner, but it was for naught. The fifth loss in six games for the Giants.

Mariners 10, Tigers 1: Where in the heck did this come from? Doesn’t matter to Erik Bedard. He’ll take the runs, because they helped him get his first win since 2009. Justin Smoak had a three-run homer and a two-run double. That’s two homers and seven RBI for Smoak in the two games since he returned after missing time due to his father’s death. Not exactly repeatable motivation, but hey, whatever gets him through the dark days right now.

Braves 7, Padres 0: Tommy Hanson dominated the Padres, striking out 10 over the course of seven shutout innings. Chipper Jones had a triple and three RBI, passing Mickey Mantle on the all-time RBI list. He now stands second all-time for pinch switch hitters behind Eddie Murray, whom he’ll never catch. Mat Latos has now lost nine straight starts stretching to last season.

Indians 7, Royals 2: Cleveland jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first on an Orlando Cabrera bases-clearing double and never looked back. The Indians now have the second biggest division lead in baseball. For their part, the Royals have lost eight of ten, pretty much ending all of that “are the Royals for real” talk which no one in their right mind ever should have answered in the affirmative.

Orioles 5, Red Sox 4: It was a tough day for Luke Scott but he rebounded nicely with a homer in the fourth. Overall the O’s jumped out to a 4-0 lead, frittered it away in the eighth inning, but then had their bacon saved by a Vlad Guerrero RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to pull it out. Vlad was put in position to score, it should be noted, when Jason Varitek let not one, but two balls get by him, with he and fellow base runner Nick Markakis advancing to second and third, respectively, on the first one and Vlad advancing to third — with Markakis getting tagged out — on the second.

Reds 7, Brewers 6: Cincy squandered leads of 4-0 and 6-4, but pulled it out via some nifty relief work from Aroldis Chapman to get out of an eighth inning jam and a 10th inning bomb from Drew Stubbs. For the Brewers,  Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee finished a combined 0-for-12.

Rangers 7, Blue Jays 6: Both teams got awful performances from their starters — Jo-Jo Reyes for Toronto and Derek Holland for Texas — but the Rangers pulled it out with a Mitch Moreland homer to center in the seventh.

Athletics 2, Angels 1: Both teams got great performances from their starters — Tyson Ross for Oakland and Dan Haren for Anaheim — but the Athletics pulled it out with a Connor Jackson RBI groundout in the tenth.

Dodgers 5, Marlins 4: Between this post and this post you have all you need to know. Andre Ethier is a beast and Vicente Padilla, at least for now, is a closer.

Cardinals 6, Astros 5: It’s a win, but the Cardinal bullpen woes continue. Kyle Lohse shut out the Astros for seven innings, only to have to bite his nails as the pen — particularly old closer Ryan Franklin and flavor of the month Eduardo Sanchez — almost cough it up a 6-0 lead in the eighth and ninth. They had help from Fernando Salas too.

Rays 8, Twins 2: Tampa Bay scored four in the first off Francisco “Dead Man Walking” Liriano and won it going away. Liriano is now 1-3 with a 9.13 ERA. In 23.2 innings he has walked 18 and struck out 18. What in the hell happened to him? Sam Fuld reached base four times in five plate appearances and Ben Zobrist drove in three.

Rockies vs. Cubs: POSTPONED: Bake those biscuits good and brown, it ain’t gonna rain no more. Swing your partner round and round, it ain’t gonna rain no more. Bullfrog sitting on a lily pad, he looked up at the sky. The lily pad broke and the frog fell in, he got water all in his eye.  Oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more, no more, it ain’t gonna rain no more. How do you suppose the Old Man knows it ain’t gonna rain no more?

A’s running out of time to find home in Oakland, Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — The Oakland Athletics have spent years trying to get a new stadium while watching Bay Area neighbors such as the Giants, Warriors, 49ers and Raiders successfully move into state-of-the-art venues, and now time is running short on their efforts.

The A’s lease at RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and though they might be forced to extend the terms, the club and Major League Baseball have deemed the stadium unsuitable for a professional franchise.

They are searching for a new stadium in Oakland or Las Vegas, but they have experienced difficulties in both areas. The A’s missed a major deadline in October to get a deal done in Oakland, and there has been little indication they will receive the kind of funding they want from Las Vegas.

“I think the A’s have to look at it in a couple of ways,” said Brendan Bussmann, managing partner at Las Vegas-based B Global. “Obviously, they have struggled in Oakland to get a deal across the line. It isn’t for a lack of effort. . You have an owner that’s willing to pony up money, you have a club that wants to sit there and figure out a way to make it work, and you keep running into obstacles along the way.

“It’s time to fish or cut bait. Oakland, do you want them or not? And if not, where are the A’s going to get the best deal? Is it Vegas? Is it somewhere else? They’ll have to figure that out.”

What the A’s are thinking is a little bit of a mystery. Team President Dave Kaval was talkative earlier in the process, saying the A’s are pursuing two different tracks with Oakland and Las Vegas. But he went silent on the subject several months ago. A’s spokeswoman Catherine Aker said mostly recently that the club would withhold comment for now.

The A’s have been negotiating with Oakland to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a $12 billion redevelopment deal.

Newly elected Mayor Sheng Thao said reaching a deal is important as long as it makes economic sense to the city. Her predecessor, Libby Schaaf, led prior efforts to reach an agreement, but after the city and the A’s missed that October deadline, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed reservations a deal will ever get done.

“The pace in Oakland has not been rapid, number one,” Manfred said at the time. “We’re in a stadium situation that’s really not tenable. I mean, we need to do something to alter the situation. So I’m concerned about the lack of pace.”

Recent California history justifies his concerns. SoFi Stadium in Southern California and Chase Center in San Francisco were built with private money, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was 90% privately financed.

“And then I think there was some contagion where around the country people realized these deals could be done well privately and could generate a return on investment to those investors,” said David Carter, a sports business professor at the University of Southern California. “Why are we throwing public money at it at all?”

That’s also a question being asked in Las Vegas, even though the Raiders in 2016 received $750 million from the Nevada Legislature for a stadium. That then was the largest amount of public money for a sports venue, but it was surpassed last March by the $850 million pledged to construct a new stadium for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

Another deal like the one for Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders play, appears unlikely in Nevada. T-Mobile Arena, which opened in 2017, was privately financed. An arena planned for south of the Las Vegas Strip also wouldn’t rely on public funds.

Las Vegas, however, has shown financing creativity. Its Triple-A baseball stadium received $80 million in 2017 for naming rights from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Room taxes fund the authority, so it was public money in a backdoor sort of way.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who is on the board of the convention authority, has spoken with A’s representatives about their interest in Las Vegas and said he is aware of the club’s talks with other Nevada officials. He said the A’s are taking a much different approach than the Raiders, who identified Las Vegas early as their choice landing spot after many years of failing to get a new stadium in Oakland.

“When the Raiders decided to come to Las Vegas, they had a clear plan,” Naft said. “You had a clear body that was tasked with assessing the worth and the value, and they committed to the destination. I have not seen that from the Oakland A’s at any level, and it’s not really our job to go out and beg them to come here because we have earned the reputation of the greatest arena on Earth. We have put in both the dollars and the labor to make that the case.

“I think I’ve made myself clear, but from conversations with others, I don’t think I’m alone on that.”

New Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo “will not raise taxes” to attract the A’s or any other team, his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Ray, said in a statement. But she said the club could qualify for other ongoing “economic development programs,” which could mean tax breaks similar to what Tesla received in 2014.

Manfred said in December that the A’s relocation fee would be waived if they move to Las Vegas, a savings to the club reportedly of up to $1 billion.

“We’re past any reasonable timeline for the situation in Oakland to be resolved,” Manfred said then.

Naft said Allegiant Stadium filled a hole that went beyond landing an NFL team. It allowed Las Vegas to attract major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four and major concerts such as Garth Brooks and Elton John that “in many cases we would not otherwise have.”

He said he doesn’t believe a baseball stadium would accomplish that, and sports economist Victor Matheson agreed.

“I think there’s a real question about how much people are willing to watch baseball in Las Vegas,” said Matheson, a professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. “It’s not like locals don’t have a huge number of entertainment options right now, and it’s not clear exactly how much people might travel to watch baseball in Vegas, either.”

If the A’s truly want to be in Las Vegas, Naft said they need to make that clear.

“I just believe you can’t play destinations against each other,” Naft said. “If you want to come here and you want to be met with open arms, you’ve got to commit.”

Should the A’s fail to reach an agreement in Oakland or Las Vegas, they could consider other destinations such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville; and Portland, Oregon. Whether they would have the time to explore such options is another question.

Oakland has already shown it will watch the Raiders move to Nevada and the Warriors go across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

Las Vegas, Matheson noted, is hardly in a desperate situation. He also expressed caution that Las Vegas could go from being among the largest metropolitan areas without a major professional sports team to among the smallest with three franchises.

“So you’ve gone from kind of being under-sported to being over-sported in a short period of time if the A’s were to go there,” Matheson said.