The Dodgers announce some stadium upgrades

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It’s hard to remember that, just a couple of years ago, there was talk of the Dodgers leaving Dodger Stadium and building a downtown ballpark. I’m guessing most of that was a bluff, but the fact that it even got to the bluffing stage is shocking to me given how beautiful and historic that place is.

Those days are gone, however, and the Dodgers continue to make needed upgrades to their wonderful ballpark. The latest group of upgrades were announced yesterday and are detailed over at MLB.com. Included are changes to the visiting clubhouse, added food options and lounging/bar areas, upgrade of electrical infrastructure and even more trees and greenery beyond the outfield walls.

No one element is going to be terribly noticeable, but these sorts of things are the kinds of upgrades which, if older, now long-dead parks had undertaken as they aged, would probably still be around.  Good to know Dodgers Stadium — somehow now the third oldest park in Major League Baseball — will be around for a long time.

Rays lose, clinching postseason berth for Athletics

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The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.

Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).

Yay?

John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.

What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.

The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?