The Best: For my money their original look was their best ever look. Why? The font on the jersey. It’s unlike anything that we had ever seen before and unlike anything we’ve seen since. No, it’s not the greatest possible look of all time – if they could put that font on a more modern looking uniform without the racing stripes we’d be approaching the ideal — but it was distinctive and that counts for something. When they gave it up in the mid-80s they lost something.
The Worst: This all boils down to how you feel about red vs. blue. I think the detour into red they took in the mid-90s — and with which they have continued to dabble as an alternate — was a mistake. The Rangers should wear blue as their primary color in my view. I mean, this happened in a white-and-blue jersey, so why don’t you stick with it? The classics never go out of style.
I forgot to touch on the Senators in the Minnesota Twins entry, so I’ll double up on both iterations of the Senators here. Yes, I know it’s two different franchises, but I think you can handle it.
The Senators’ Best: Because of the 1960s version of the team is more prominent thanks to more plentiful color photography and baseball cards and things, I would not be shocked if most people thought of the Senators as always being a primarily red team. Nope. They really didn’t go with that look until the last four years of their existence. It was a good look — one the Nats seem intent on recapturing, curly-W and all — but it’s not the best. For me it’s the late-version of the original Senators’ run. Which, not surprisingly, looks a lot like the early Twins/current Twins’ alternates.
The Senators Worst: The plain jane uniforms the Senators wore in the 30s and 40s were neat and clean — kind of like the Penn State football uniforms in terms of satisfying minimalism — but they were something less than inspired.
Assessment: For years I was shocked that the Rangers didn’t co-opt the Cowboys’ big star in order to try and get some of that uber-popular juju working in their favor. Given how awful the Cowboys are in just about every respect these days it’s probably a good move that they didn’t.
The Cubs won the World Series. Now Cubs fans are going to pay through the nose for the privilege of going to games at Wrigley Field: The club has raised season ticket prices for 2017, on average, 19.5%. The rate increases range from 6% for upper deck seats to 31% for infield club seats.
As a result of the increase, the Chicago Tribune reports, a single infield box seat on the dugout for 81 games will cost $29,089.76, or $359 per game. The cheapest season ticket, for upper-deck outfield seats, is $2,139.20, or $26 per game. Those figures include tax, so it’s practically a bargain.
The Cubs cite “unprecedented demand” for tickets as the reason for the increase. That’s likely true. Cubs tickets are expensive even when they aren’t playing well due to the draw that is Wrigley Field. Indeed, for years, when the product on the field suffered, there was a sense that people would go to the ballpark just for the fun of it in ways that fans rarely if ever do for other teams. The Cubs attendance increased dramatically in 2016 and tickets often experienced an equally dramatic increase on the secondary ticket market. The Cubs would be wise to try to capture as much of that profit as they can rather than see it go to others.
Still, that’s gonna smart for people who can’t afford season tickets and who just want to go to a one-off game with the kids and exacerbates the longstanding trend of baseball tickets becoming luxury items for the well-off.
Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.
You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.
The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.
So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.
Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”
Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.