The Giants are now in the real estate business

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We mentioned this Wednesday morning in our little election day roundup, but the San Francisco Giants may have been the biggest winners of anyone when folks went to the polls on November 3.

They won because San Francisco voters approved something called Proposition D, which waived building height restrictions in the area around AT&T Park. An area where the Giants themselves own lease the land, allowing them to go ahead with a real estate development proposal called “Mission Rock,” which will allow for 20+ story high-rises, offices and shopping on land that is now a parking lot. This will make the Giants an awful lot of money, as Giants chairman Larry Baer explains in this article in the Merc.

This shouldn’t be looked at solely as some sort of piggy bank for a baseball team, however. I mean, it is that, but it has a place in the larger context of San Francisco as well. There is an extreme housing crunch going on in the city, caused by dramatically increased population, skyrocketing real estate costs and building and zoning laws that, for years, have made it very difficult to increase the number of housing units in the city. High rise development — which is what you need when you literally run out of land like San Francisco mostly has — is essential, but it’s basically been blocked. This, then, is something of a rare win for folks who want more housing in the city, even if it’s a modest and only a partial win (many other real estate initiatives failed). There is also at least something in here for people who aren’t the Giants: 40 percent of their planned 1,500 housing units in Mission Rock will be below-market-rate housing.

Which, in a place like San Francisco, is desperately needed.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).