June 30, 2006 [LINK]

Minnesota stadium design

Just as the Washington Nationals were very eager to come up with a distinctive design for their future stadium, the Minnesota Twins are endeavoring to do the same with theirs. Among the features under consideration is building the upper deck above the adjacent railroad tracks. As for the option of making the ballpark enclosed, the Duluth Superior reports:

There remains a window of two to three months, [Twins executive Jerry] Bell said, that would allow for the addition of a retractable roof to the design, but there is no payment plan in place and the team has not been focused on that issue.

Hat tip to Mike Zurawski, who also apprised me of the rather fluid Miami / Hialeah situation. The Miami Herald reported that Florida officials objected to the site of a proposed Marlins stadium, on environmental and planning grounds. So, MLB honcho Bob DuPuy has paid another visit to South Florida to exercise some friendly persuasion, touting the vast market potential of Miami and its suburbs.

Nationals in a free fall

The Blue Jays left no doubt that they are a very good team, as Washington got swept in three games at Toronto. None of the games were really very close, and the Nats simply failed to perform in either pitching or batting. In the final game, John Patterson suffered yet another arm injury, leaving the game in the middle of an at-bat in the fourth inning. Only recently returned from nearly two months on the disabled list, Patterson's near-term future is once again very uncertain. See MLB.com. I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to wonder if Patterson will ever stay healthy for a long enough period to help his team. He has been one of the Nats' (and before 2005, the Expos') most promising starters, but his arm simply may not be strong enough to pitch in the majors. Perhaps he could switch to the role of a closer, like John Smoltz did with the Braves a couple years ago.

Tonight's 11-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays surely marks rock bottom for the Nationals. Ah, let's look back a year and reminisce on the glory days of June 2005, when the "new kids in town" surprised everyone by surging into first place. Or was it all just a dream?

Bowden keeps his job

Nationals President Stan Kasten announced that Jim Bowden has been asked to stay on as General Manager. That's probably good for the team. I question some of Bowden's past decisions (such as signing the pricey Alfonso Soriano for a one-year contract), but you can't deny he's got the enthusiasm you need on a winning ball club.

Braves rebound

Speaking of the Braves, they have won two games in a row, but won only 6 out of 31 games in June, their worst monthly record since 1940. (Maybe that new Braves Field diagram did the trick! ) On the TBS telecast of tonight's Braves-Orioles game, they were showing the home run leaders in each league at the bottom of the screen. Among the AL leaders was listed "A. Soriano" (24) of Texas. That's pretty lame.