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Comment of the Day: Stop worrying and learn to love corporate sponsorship of baseball

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A pretty interesting conversation is developing in the thread about the Occupy St. Louis folks showing the World Series without commercials.  One of the earliest comments — from johnfrancis50 — makes me happy in my pragmatic place:

I’m not for or against the Occupy movement, but the statement “there isn’t a need for corporate sponsors to enjoy baseball” seems a bit misguided. Without corporate sponsorship, do any of the games get broadcast? Without corporate sponsorship dollars, can the Cardinals generate enough revenue to re-sign Albert Pujols? Is it unreasonable to think that revenues from corporate sponsorships contributed to the financing needed to overhaul the stadium downtown (I don’t want to name the stadium since that’s exactly what the corporations WANT you to do…)

They are right, you don’t need corporations to enjoy baseball, but if you want to watch a competitive team from the comfort of your home (or whatever street you are occupying), you ought to throw them a bone, no?

I support and understand a lot of what the Occupy Wall Street people are mad about. I mean, in a just world, the people who invented crazy financial schemes that put millions out of work and brought on global misery would be paying some sort of price for that rather than getting bonuses and bailouts.  We have a really messed up set of priorities as a nation right now, and they’ve been getting more and more messed up for the past 30 years or so.

But at the same time, there has to be a balance. Just as it makes no sense for those Tea Party people to rail against government without acknowledging that, hey, the government does a hell of a lot of useful stuff, it makes no sense to rail against corporations and capitalism without acknowledging that a lot of what we like in life is a product of them and that system and without many of the financial incentives that drive those plutocrats, we’d be living in a very different and a not necessarily better world.

Excesses by government and excesses by the private sector are both worthy targets of protest. I’m always wary, however, when someone wants something burst asunder.  I’m not typing this on my machine right now if Bill Gates and whoever financed his outfit didn’t have a profit motive. You’re not reading this if the people advertising on the page aren’t paying for the privilege of doing so.  Likewise, none of us make it to the ballpark if the government doesn’t play a role in building the roads or the trains or regulating those highways in the sky.

I mute my commercials when I’m watching the game. I lied on my census form and said my family was Samoan. That’s about as radical as I get when it comes to sticking it to The Man, so I’m no one’s idea of a bold activist. But I would hope that those folks who are bold activists would take a moment or two on occasion to inject some pragmatism into the conversation.  I know that’s not very exciting — and the signs and chants that pragmatists make are really not compelling — but it just seems to make a hell of a lot more sense to me.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
Associated Press
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?