November 9, 2006
The Washington Nationals have signed 21 minor league free agents, including 13 pitchers. It won't have much effect on the Nationals for the 2007 season, but it's a big first step toward rebuilding the franchise's weak farm system, and plugging a gaping hole in their roster. They have also hired ten new scouts. Meanwhile, the search continues for a new manager. Joe Girardi may still be interested, though his agent denies it. Other new candidates are Yankees coach Tony Peña and Mets coach Manny Acta, who used to play for the Expos. See Washington Post. (I wonder if Frank Robinson is still available, you know, just in case...)
Neal Rubin provides a critical perspective on why the city of Detroit declined to work with developers who offered various proposals to keep Tiger Stadium intact. (Hat tip to Bruce Orser.) His column mentions a new film dedicated to the perservation of that lovable old hulk of a ballpark: Stranded at the Corner; video clips can be viewed at that site. They leave no doubt that the main obstacle to preserving Tiger Stadium is the Ilich family, which owns the Tigers and views the old stadium as a threat to their commercial interests. Boo-oo!
The Athletics and Cisco have reached a tentative deal on building a new stadium in the city of Fremont, at a site about three times as far from Oakland as from San Jose. Formal announcement may take place next week, after the details are ironed out. It would have 35,000 or fewer seats, by far the smallest of all the "Retro-era" ballparks, and may be completed as early as 2011, depending on environmental studies, municipal funding approval, etc. Franchise owner Lew Wolff said the team may be called the "Fremont A's" or the "Silicon Valley A's." See ESPN. (Hat tip to Mike Zurawski.)
The Arizona Diamondbacks unveiled the team's new uniforms, which are "Sedona" red, with just a hint of dark orange. I agree a change was a good idea, since there are too many teams with pinstripes alreday. At first glance, however, I wasn't too impressed; I was expecting more of a desert beige, and possibly a logo with an actual snake. See MLB.com. Anyway, it's hard to think of a more radical change in color theme since the Athletics went green and yellow in 1963, or the Astros adopted those garish stripes in 1975. (Hat tip to "Mustang Danny.")
UPDATE: Here is an intriguing bit of political-baseball trivia I just received via a member of SABR: Soon-to-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the daughter of former Baltimore mayor Thomas D'Alessandro, who played a key role in the relocation of the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore in 1954.