Mrs. Cropp: "Never mind"
Remember when the relocation deal nearly collapsed back in December because D.C. Council chairwoman Linda Cropp demanded provisions for private financing of the new stadium in D.C. as a condition for her approval? Turns out her alternative plan doesn't add up, so the whole rationale for her threat to back out of the deal was empty. In the last two weeks it has become evident that the best private deal that has been offered, through Deutsche Bank, has few advantages over the original plan to pay for construction through bonds and tax hikes. Mrs. Cropp says she is "still hopeful" that a private financing plan can be arranged and insists she was only doing what she thought was best for the city. See Washington Post. More likely, she is just seeking a graceful exit. As Post business writer Steven Pearlstein wrote last year (see my blog post of Dec. 21), development projects that are publically financed benefit from lower interest rates, because governments are usually much better credit risks than businesses. As expected, arch-opponent of the new stadium, council member Adrian Fenty, has announced he is running for mayor next year. He is young, smart, ambitious, and like Marion Barry in the old days, he has an aptitude for reaching out to elites as well as poor people.
Nats win again (barely)
What a great matchup: Josh Beckett vs. Livan Hernandez! Each gave up only two runs in a classic pitchers' duel, going eight and nine innings, respectively. The Nats' surprisingly effective bullpen prevailed again, as the game was decided by two walks, an error, and a sac fly in the bottom of the eleventh. Now they're only a half game out of first place! Once again, Esteban Loaiza pitched superbly in the game against Atlanta last night, but once again he did not get credit for the win because of lack of run support. Things looked bleak when the Braves scored four runs in the eighth, but the Nationals showed their spunk once again by scoring five runs in the bottom of the inning, going on to win, 8-6. Hector Carrasco got the win even though he walked half the batters he faced (two). Why does anyone pay attention to pitchers' win-loss records?
Is RFK too roomy?
As anyone can tell by using the side-by-side page, RFK Stadium has one of the biggest outfields in the majors right now. No doubt that is why only one of Jose Guillen's 10 home runs this season has been hit in the home ballpark. Guillen was quoted as saying that he wants the outfield fences at RFK Stadium to be brought in next year. See the Nats Web site. That's the same thing that Mo Vaughn did in Anaheim (where Guillen also used to play): they moved the fences in by 9 or 10 feet in 1999 just to make him happy. I am against pandering to sluggers just to boost their stats. One of the best things about games at RFK is the number of doubles and triples that are made possible by the (comparatively) wide open spaces.
Winning pitchers by stadium
Baseball blogger and statistical fanatic David Pinto has compiled a list of which pitchers have won the most games in every major league ballpark from 1995 to present. At the top of the list is Andy Pettitte, who won 81 games at Yankee Stadium. For much more, see baseballmusings.com.