January 11, 2016
Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies (both first basemen) both filed a libel lawsuit against the Arab news organization Al Jazeera, in response to allegations of using a performance-enhancing hormone supplement known as Delta 2. The "documentary" TV broadcast also claimed that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning used the banned drug. Ryan and Howard deny that they have ever used that specific drug or any other PED. The source used in that program, Charles Sly, has since recanted his accusations. Such a legal step is almost unprecedented in professional sports, and given the high evidentiary requirements for public figures to claim malicious defamation, it may be difficult for them to win the case. See Washington Post.
Denard Span signed a $31-million, three-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, where he will replace Angel Pagan as the regular center fielder. This represents a risky move for the Giants, since Span's recovery from the injuries he suffered last year is uncertain. That's why the Nationals were reluctant to give him more than a one-year contract rewnewal. See the Washington Post.
The Globe Life Park diagrams have been revised, based on a more careful inspection of photos. The biggest change is that the upper decks near the left field foul pole are several feet farther out than before, and the angles are a bit different. In addition, there is a new-upper-deck diagram that shows the support beams and entry portals in the double-decked right field grandstand. Also, the grandstand "creases" are shown for the first time, [and the bullpens and main concourse area are rendered in greater detail.]
I feel compelled to mention that Globe Life Park ranks near the top of excessive-capacity stadiums, based on local population and attendance. I hope the Rangers are considering downsizing moves similar to what the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies have done in recent years.
Getting the support beams just right brought to my mind the fact that other current baseball stadiums have partially obstructed fans views due to support beams:
Other stadiums of the not-too-distant past (back to the early 1990s) with support beams include the Metrodome (rear of upper deck), Memorial Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Candlestick Park, Cleveland Stadium, and Milwaukee County Stadium. In addition, the original Yankee Stadium (1923-2008) had support beams until it was rebuilt in 1976. See the Stadiums by class page. One could argue that Rogers Centre, Dodger Stadium, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim fit in that category, since they have support columns between the rear seats of certain levels, but those don't really obstruct the view of the field.
The owners of the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders joined the San Diego Chargers in applying to the NFL for relocation of the franchise back to Los Angeles, where it had been from 1946 until 1994. The Chargers and Raiders have jointly proposed a new stadium in Carson, about 15 miles south, close to the port of Long Beach. Meanwhile, the Rams want to build a new football stadium in Inglewood, which is about eight miles southwest of downtown L.A. (and not far from Memorial Coliseum). See ESPN. In an unusual twist, Rams owner Stan Kroenke claimed in the application that the city of St. Louis is in such bad economic shape that it can no longer support three professional sports teams. The city had offered $400 million toward the construction of a new stadium on the Mississippi River, so Kroenke's reaction was something of a slap in the face. See ESPN. The issue will be decided when NFL owners meet next month.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still think it's crazy to be replacing a football stadium that is in fine condition, and barely two decades old. (See the photo of the Edward Jones Dome which I posted on September 28.)
I don't think more than one team in a given professional sport has ever simultaneously moved to a given new city, but that may happen with Los Angeles this year. It would be ironic, because L.A. suffered the indignity of losing two NFL teams (the Rams and the Raiders) after the 1994 season.
More stadium news updates from Mike Zurawski and others are coming soon...