July 9, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Nats take two from Brew Crew

Surprise, surprise! The Washington Nationals defied the odds and bounced back from the defeat by the Brewers on Friday night with their first back-to-back wins in almost a month. A clutch two-run double by Austin Kearns provided the needed edge in Saturday's 5-4 victory, and a homer by Ryan Zimmerman did likewise in Sunday's 7-2 win, sparking a six-run sixth inning. See MLB.com. Well, at least the Nats will have something positive to reflect on as they rest during the All-Star break.

I wonder when the last time a "discarded" has-been veteran like Dmitri Young made the All-Star roster? Lest anyone forget, he is only playing as a "substitute" player for the Nats' first-baseman Nick Johnson, whose leg is still healing.

And speaking of great performances by "elder" players, what a shame that Roger Clemens didn't get any run support from the Yankees on [Saturday]! He only gave up one run in eight innings, but the Angels ended up winning 2-1 in 13 innings. D'oh! Well, at least the Yanks got their revenge against the Angels with a 12-0 victory on Sunday. A-Rod hit his 494th home run.

The mail bag

Mike Zurawski sends more ballpark news: The outfield concession building at the future home of the Washington Nationals will have an eco-friendly roof with live grass and other plants on top, thanks to a $101,670 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. See Baltimore Business Journal. Combined with the grove of Cherry trees, you might end up with a habitat suitable for a variety of nesting songbirds. From a strictly rational perspective, on the other hand, spending a hundred grand on a single environmental project like this seems extravagant compared to alternative uses. It all depends on whether it serves the desired purpose of stimulating other businesses and individual home owners to do the same where they live and work.

The Minnesota Twins are hoping for the same kind of "greenery" in their future stadium, but it may not get certified as meeting the "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (LEED) guidelines. See Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Meanwhile, an editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune warned against giving in to the demands of landowners for more money ($65.4 million, which is nearly $50 million more than they were offered), because it would take away resources from related fan amenities and infrastructure proejcts, which would detract from the return on public investment. This shows that the right of eminent domain, which was made famous in the Kelo case two years ago, can be abused just like government authorities can abuse their power.

Finally, the Chicago Cubs' plans for putting a new drainage system in Wrigley Field have been delayed. See Chicago Sun Times.