There’s a story over at the Wall Street Journal today about how Nick Swisher has enhanced his personal brand, as they say, and is on track to be a bigtime product endorsement dude because of his social media cachet (i.e. he Twitters real good):
Mr. Swisher is a good player but is not on a Cooperstown track. As celebrity endorsements move beyond the superstars, the mid-level player with personality and social-media savvy can reach endorsement and name-recognition levels that were once only the domain of the best of the best, said David Carter, author of the recent book, Money Games, and head of the USC Sports Business Institute.
Good for Swisher, because he seems like a neat guy. And because we West Virginia-raised, Ohio State attendees have to stick together. But really, the best part of this is the inevitable side effects.
Swisher and most of the other athletes who are on Twitter a lot are there because they want to be there. They’re extroverts and over-sharers who naturally gravitate to the medium for the same reasons all of us other deadenders who spend our days glued to social media do. But now that it’s being talked up as a bonafide path to endorsement deals, you just know that agents and handlers are going to push their athlete-clients into getting on the Twitter more and more as a business proposition.
I can’t wait for that to happen. Because the Nick Swishers of the world know the rules and the etiquette of it all and are thus predictable and, it must be said, a tad boring. In contrast, as those who might otherwise avoid social media are forced into it, there will be all kinds of social stumbles, scandals and embarrassment. And that’s exactly the kind of thing we Twitter deadenders absolutely live for.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.