Stadium deal is almost sealed
Well, what do you know? The negotiating ploy by the D.C. Council seems to have worked, as MLB has tentatively agreed to the City's demands:
District negotiators have asked baseball for a $24 million letter of credit to ensure the Nationals' rent payment for four seasons in the case of a terrorist attack or players' strike and $20 million to cover contingencies in case of cost overruns. Those guarantees are needed to secure an investment-grade rating on stadium construction bonds, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi has said. SOURCE: Washington Post.
In return, the District is making some unspecified concessions. This is not a huge surprise, as failure to reach a compromise would have cost both sides a lot of money, so they both had incentives to make concessions. From MLB's standpoint, it was mostly a question of pride and maintaining a reputation for tough bargaining. A few details in the contract need to ironed out, but it is expected to be wrapped up next week. Now sell the team and play ball, for cryin' out loud!
Carrasco to LAnaheim
More fallout from the inexcusable delay in finalizing the sale of the Washington Nationals franchise: Hector Carrasco, one of the team's most reliable relief pitchers last summer, just signed a two-year deal with the Angels. See Washington Post.
World Baseball Classic
Further details are emerging abut the World Baseball Classic, which will take place next March. Handling the logistics of that event in the midst of spring training will be one of the main topics at the MLB owner's winter meeting that is about to commence in Dallas. According to current plans, the WBC will be held again in 2009, and every four years after that. Cuba is still considering whether it wants to participate, and risk another wave of mass defections. See MLB.com.
New football stadiums
This being football season, I get more inquiries about whether I intend to devote more attention to football stadiums in the future. (As if I wasn't swamped already!) There's only a low chance of that any time soon, but I may create a separate page to list the current NFL stadiums. One reason is that I'm intrigued by how the architects of some of the new stadiums have tried to emulate the quirky features of the neoclassical stadiums. In the case of baseball, there is some historical and play-wise rationale for doing so, but in football the stadium and the fans are virtually out of the picture. So, I'll probably evaluate the new stadiums based on how much artificial quirkiness they have.