I just took a break from reading everyone’s tweets and admiring Mel Antonen’s haircut to walk over to the Convention Center to check out the Trade Show. It’s really something to behold.
Geared more towards the minor leagues than the majors, the Trade Show is where some 300 exhibitors hawk wares ranging from caps, blankets, foam fingers, shot glasses, sports insurance, stadium architecture, concessions, bats, stadium seats, uniforms and any number of other odd things.
There are mascot costumes. There are fireworks — like the big kind that shoot up into the sky. There’s an accounting firm that specializes in valuing minor league franchises. There’s a particularly spartan and serious booth set up by the Major League Baseball Department of Investigations, which is basically the group to whom you rat out teammates when you see horse hormones in their locker or when you just found out your manager threw the ballgame because he’s into that bookie Lazar for ten large. I got one of their cards — complete with the hotline number. Next summer, let me know if you guys need anyone from your favorite team to be mysteriously suspended. I think I can make it happen.
Best booth by far: a company that hires out between-inning entertainment like “Breakin’ B-Boy McCoy,” the break dancing bat boy. Hey! He’s going to be in Columbus on June 11th next year! I’m so there!
Most importantly, however, there’s a booth set up by Jack Daniels. Yes, it is by the front door. Yes, I assume that it’s located there so that people are able to get their drink on before deciding whether or not they should buy stuff like this.
Crap. I bought two. What am I gonna do with the second one?
MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that umpires Bob Davidson, Bob Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce, and Tim Welke have retired.
Davidson, 64, was known as “Balkin’ Bob” for his tendency to call pitchers for balks. Davidson has also made a name for himself picking fights with players and managers, as well as unnecessarily escalating situations.
Hirschbeck, 62, didn’t quite have the reputation Davidson had, but he had a couple of notable incidents on his profile as well. Last year, when ejecting Twins slugger Miguel Sano, Hirschbeck said, “Get the [expletive] out of here.” In 2013, he threw a drum of oil on a fire that very easily could’ve been snuffed out with Bryce Harper.
Joyce, 61, was a well-liked and well-respected umpire who will go down in history for one mistake. On June 2, 2010, Tigers starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game. Indians second baseman Jason Donald hit a weak grounder about halfway between first and second base. Miguel Cabrera went to his right to field it and flipped to Galarraga covering first base. It was a close call, but Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe, ruining Galarraga’s perfect game. To both Joyce’s and Galarraga’s credit, both handled the mistake with the utmost class.
Craig also wrote in detail about Joyce a few years ago. It’s worth a re-read.
Tim Welke, 59, actually announced his retirement last year, but I guess it wasn’t made official until recently. He underwent a left knee replacement procedure in January last year and then had his right knee replaced five months later.
CNBC, citing Reuters, reports that Facebook and Major League Baseball are in discussions to stream one game per week.
Streaming is becoming more and more ubiquitous as it’s a more convenient way for people to access media they like. MLB Advanced Media, which handles MLB’s streaming service, is worth several billions of dollars. Last year, Disney paid $1 billion to purchase a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, the independent company MLBAM launched for its streaming.
Millennials and “Generation Z,” in particular, are driving the streaming trend. Forbes, citing the Digital Democracy Survey in 2015, reported that 56 percent of millennials’ media consumption was done via computer, smartphone, tablet, or gaming device. Those 30 years and older rely on television to watch film and TV shows at a clip higher than 80 percent.
Twitter is already in the sports streaming arena. It streams MLB, NFL, and NHL games as well as the PGA Tour.