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.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.