There will be no opportunity for public comment before the Braves ballpark vote

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The Cobb County Commission’s vote on the Braves ballpark is a forgone conclusion. It’s going to pass. No one I’ve read or heard who knows what goes on down there thinks any different. But forgone conclusion or not, it strikes me as a jerk move to not allow public comment on the matter prior to the vote. But that’s what’s going down.

Tim Lee, Chairman of the Commission, was asked about why there wouldn’t be a public hearing before the vote:

“We’ve made a decision we’re not going to do that. I don’t know that having a public hearing would add to the objective of getting more input since we’ve got a lot of input to date.”

Yeah, this thing has been a matter of public discourse for ages! Or, well, a bit over a week, but either way. But really, who needs to look more closely at a public project that was kept secret from all but a few land speculators until the last moment? There is clearly nothing that could be gained from any scrutiny of that. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.

Forgone conclusion or not, it just seems to me that if you’re going to do something with public funds like this, and you’re going to do it in such a way that consciously avoids any public referendum on the matter, voters should at least have you on the record defending your rationale for when they do get a chance to pass judgment later. Specifically, in the course of your reelection bid. But no. Now we get “there’s no point in talking about it.” Later, I presume, we’ll get “there’s no sense in revisiting the past.”

Thought experiment: instead of $300 million + to the Braves’ benefit, the Commission decides to give $300 million to the poor. I wonder how them not holding any public debate on the matter would go over then?

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.