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David Dahl is fatigued. Are publicly-financed stadium politics to blame?

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A fairly minor blurb appeared in the Denver Post this morning: David Dahl, the Rockies rookie outfielder, has been benched for a few days running. Why? Fatigue. Having been in the lower levels of the minors until this year, it’s his longest season ever. It’s understandable that he’d be gassed.

But there was something else gassing him too: he played 76 games for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats. A team without a home ballpark.

We talked about the Yard Goats’ situation before the season began. At the time there were disputes about the completion of their new publicly-funded ballpark which inspired the franchise to move from New Britain. The opening was delayed. The disputes have continued all year, however, construction stopped and the park still sits uncompleted. That led to the Yard Goats playing their entire 141 game schedule on the road.

The Yard Goats did alright all things considered, finishing 74-67. And certainly Dahl played well, slugging .500 and leading the team in homers despite playing in only a little over half of their games. Still, you have to wonder if being on the road for all of that time took some of the wind out of his sails. And the sails of other Rockies prospects, many of whom played the whole season riding busses.

All because of the politics of getting a city to pay for a new ballpark.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?