January 7, 2012
The Chicago Cubs were so completely fed up with the rude and violent antics of Carlos Zambrano that they were willing to absorb $16 million of the $18.5 million remaining on his contract, trading him to the Miami Marlins. In return, the Cubs get pitcher Chris Volstad, who had a 5-13 record last year, but was a first-round draft pick in 2005 and apparently still holds some promise for improvement. The new manager of the "Fish," Ozzie Guillen, strongly pushed for that trade. The Marlins' president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said he was aware of Zambrano's "questionable" behavior, rationalizing that "A lot of it comes from competitive fire." See MLB.com. Zambrano has a 125-81 career record with a 3.61 ERA, so there is a big potential up side, but the Marlins better hope he settles down. I can imagine the Cubs are saying,
"Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"
Even with a relatively plain and ordinary structure like Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, I sometimes come across new information that leads to significant improvements in my diagrams. I finally figured out what accounted for the 2,000-seat capacity gain in 1974: six additional rows of seats were installed around the infield, except for behind home plate, thus creating a "notch" there for the first time. Prior to 1974, the front edge of the grandstand formed a circle, albeit with varying radii. The other changes are mostly in the details, such as the exact placement of the lights or the dugouts (which were rebuilt closer to the diamond in ). Apparently, fans ascended to the upper level via stairwells that led to the front edge of the second deck. That was the same manner of upper-deck access that was used at Oakland Coliseum, built just a couple years later.
One thing I learned is that Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was one of only two stadiums whose team went to the World Series in four of the six final years it was in operation: Ebbets Field was the other one. Not a bad way to finish! The stadium in Atlanta is distinguished by the fact that no World Series games were played there for the first 25 years it served as the Braves' home. But at least that wasn't as frustrating as when they played in Braves Field, in Boston!
Since this is college bowl season (more on that topic soon), I should mention that Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was the home of the Peach Bowl from 1971 until 1991. Since then that annual event has been played at the Georgia Dome. The Peach Bowl was more or less "bought" by the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain, and is now known simply as the "Chick-Fil-A Bowl."
The Washington Nationals extended the contract of their TV play-by-play announcer on MASN, Bob Carpenter. He practically exudes professionalism and enthusiasm, and I look forward to watching him narrate as the Nats begin play this spring. (Only three months away...) It's Carpenter's seventh year with the Nationals, and it's hard to believe it's been that long. Joining him in the booth high atop the Shirley Povich Press Box will be F.P. Santangelo, in his second year. See MLB.com.
Apparently, the Nationals are still negotiating with Prince Fielder. Maybe the lack of interested teams has brought the asking price down a bit. He's probably worth $25 million over three years. I wonder what Nats GM Mike Rizzo thinks?