Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn't easy. It's okay, though. We're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't happy with Maricopa County, and they're letting everyone know about it. On Thursday, they issued a press release that blasted the county for not keeping up with their commitments to upgrade the stadium, and threatened to both sue the county and leave if they're not given a "state-of-the-art" facility. The team's contract with the county isn't up for a decade, and they still have eight years until they're allowed to talk with other sites about building them a ballpark.
But the Diamondbacks maintain that the county essentially reneging on their financial commitments gives them the right to start contacting other cities. So, what's the problem? There is, of course, the reason the Diamondbacks give in their earth-scorching press release. There is more then $180 million in maintenance and repairs that need to be done to Chase Field over the remaining life of the stadium, but the county won't do it.
Maricopa County is saying that the taxpayers have invested enough money into Chase Field, and they want to protect them from having to pay more. Chase Field is just the tip of the iceberg for Maricopa County taxpayers, as they've invested a lot of money in several other stadiums, as well. Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk broke down the area's current unenviable predicament with sports stadiums, which is pretty bad.
The stadiums for the Arizona Cardinals stadium and the Arizona Coyotes are costing their city and the taxpayers enormous amounts of money without making any of it back. With two deals like that on the books, it's not hard to see why they don't want to shell out more money to a marginally successful sports team, especially since the Diamondbacks have routinely hovered near the bottom of MLB in overall and per-game attendance.
AZ Snake Pit has an enlightening piece on their site that discusses another reason: the lack of ballpark redevelopment. The location of Chase Field doesn't lend itself to new retail and residential elements, which makes it hard for the stadium to be the convenient downtown destination that everyone envisioned. Some stadiums have, of course, had a problem with this, as well. Last year, John Oliver did nearly 20 minutes of comedy on the ridiculousness of publicly funded stadiums, and he featured Marlins Park as a prime example of how redevelopment doesn't always follow the building of a new stadium.
So, the Diamondbacks' situation isn't unique, but the spigot of public money has been shut off and the team is taking advantage. Why put their own money into a stadium that already exists when another city will commit money they probably don't have to a stadium that doesn't exist yet? It's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out. The city doesn't want to further burden its taxpayers, but the Diamondbacks are clearly ready to make good on their threat to sue.
- The Phillies have signed Pete Mackanin and his 50 cent fines to a contract extension, giving him an extra guaranteed year to lead the young team and help them forget last year's 99-loss season.
- Surprise, surprise: Mike Schmidt hates bat flips. He specifically called out Jose Bautista's bat flip, so what Schmidt really hates is fun and mind-blowing awesomeness.
- MLB isn't letting players use personalized bat decals anymore, which is a bummer for everyone, but most of all for Matt Duffy and his truly excellent bat stickers.
- It doesn't matter if it's only spring training -- a monster Giancarlo Stanton home run is still a beautiful treasure and a sight to behold. Especially if it clears an entire building.
- The Indians are suggesting the Red Sox trade them Mookie Betts or Jackie Bradley, Jr. One of those options seems a lot more likely than the other. (Hint: It's not Mookie Betts.)
- Madison Bumgarner thinks that Jason Heyward and the Cubs were loudly and obviously tipping his pitches earlier in the week, and he loudly and obviously did not like it.
- Joe Maddon, king of spring training stunts, outdid himself yesterday when he brought actual little bear cubs to Cubs practice. They were sweet and adorable, and one of them peed on Anthony Rizzo.
- Yankees president Randy Levine is angry about revenue sharing in MLB, though his anger seems mostly targeted at the Mets (and by extension, their embarrassingly bad financial management).
- Fifteen years ago a bird got in the way of one of Randy Johnson's pitches, and it paid the price.
- The All-Star Game batting practice jerseys in MLB The Show 16 are amazing, and they're apparently accurate! I would actually buy one of those.