Today in sports: St. Louis and the Rams settle in for vicious stadium sniping, Democrats may have lost the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world over gay marriage, and assessing the hypothetical market for Josh Hamilton.
Update, May 16, 12:45 PM: Pacquiao has since clarified that the statements were misattributed. "I didn't say that, that's a lie... I didn't know that quote from Leviticus because I haven't read the Book of Leviticus yet."
Manny Pacquiao: not a big fan of President Obama's stance on gay marriage. "God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other," the WBO welterweight champion told the Examiner. "It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of old," It's worth noting that Pac-Man frequently hit the stump in 2010 during his campaign against Sharron Angle and also took credit for having "helped" Jerry Brown secure victory in California. Time will tell if the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is back in the Democratic tent by election day. [Examiner, via Fox Sports]
Now that the Minnesota Vikings have somehow -- miraculously -- secured funding for a new $975 million stadium, the NFL's most fractious town-team relationship involves St. Louis and the Rams. On the one hand, the two sides have been squabbling over finances for years -- most memorably back in January when the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Center (CVC) raised a ruckus over the team's plan to play one regular season game in London over the next three years, claiming it violated the terms of their stadium lease. Now the team has unveiled a proposal calling for a $700 million renovation to the 17-year-old (!!) Edward Jones Dome. CVC's proposal came in at $124 million. The city is adamant that public funding for the renovation -- whatever the final cost -- be capped at $60 million. Is there room to find common ground? So there's a lot of ground to make up. The one sliver of good news (kind of) came from Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay. "My guess is Mr. Kroenke told his people to design a top-tier stadium," Rainford said of the proposal. "But you can't look at this and draw the conclusion that he's flipping the bird to St. Louis and he is moving to Los Angeles." He added, "This region paid a pretty penny to bring the Rams here. We're not going to give up on keeping the Rams in the Dome." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Ooh, this is exciting: ESPN is going to be doing "a second volume" of 30 for 30 documentaries beginning in the fall and running through 2014. From the sound of things, the new installments won't just be padded out versions of ideas that weren't good enough to make the cut the first time (something about Cal Ripken or the rise and fall of about Kirby Puckett, for instance). "If the first series celebrated ESPN's first 30 years, then the second series will celebrate the storytelling form," promises executive producer Bill Simmons. That sounds vague and producer-y, but starting this month Grantland is going to begin airing miniepisodes "stories out there that we loved for four to 12 minutes, but maybe not for a full hour," Simmons explains. We're there. [Grantland]
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is having the contract year to end all contract years. Despite his well-documented relapse over the winter, Chicago Tribune baseball columnist Phil Rogers writes "Hamilton, 31, "sees his value as being in the range of Kemp (eight years, $160 million), Joey Votto (10 years, $225 million), Albert Pujols (10 years, $240 million) and Prince Fielder (nine years, $214 million)" while Texas is "believed to have offered him only four- or five-year extensions for about half the size of those contracts." Should the Rangers give Hamilton a megadeal only for him to relapse again "the history of arbitration has sided with players under contract, not teams." Meanwhile, the usual suspects for an offseason bidding war -- the Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies -- want to keep budgets down to avoid the payroll tax. The Dodgers have already spent heavily to lock-up outfielder Matt Kemp. Rogers nominates the Milwaukee Brewers as the dark horse to sign Hamilton. He explains the logic:
They have cultivated a rabid fan base, selling 82 percent of Miller Park's seats entering the weekend (fourth-best in the majors).
They have an aggressive owner (Mark Attanasio), payroll flexibility (only $52.4 million guaranteed for 2013) and just lost [first baseman Prince ]Fielder as a complement to Ryan Braun.
Of most importance, they employ the Narron brothers, Jerry as Ron Roenicke's bench coach and Johnny as his hitting coach. Neighbors of the teenage Hamilton in North Carolina, the Narrons have been as important to Hamilton's success as anyone except perhaps his wife. Was that what general manager Doug Melvin was thinking when he hired Johnny away from the Rangers last winter?
Maybe! [Chicago Tribune]