Lots of teams come up with marketing slogans — we highlighted the Dodgers’ rather curious effort the other day — but the Royals are the ones I always notice.
In 2012 the Royals used “Our Time” as its slogan. Last year it was “Come to play.” This year? “Be Royal.” Which seems like quite a rebuke to Lorde. And a surprising one at that given that she was allegedly inspired by George freakin’ Brett to write that song to begin with. And it’s so broad, too. Should I be Lorenzo Cain or Billy Butler? There’s a lot of ground to cover there.
But the best take on marketing slogan, particularly Royals slogans, comes from Sam Mellinger of the KC Star. He ponders the utility of them to begin with, noting that all of the marketing slogans in the world don’t put as many butts in seats as fireworks night or a free t-shirt giveaway. And he notes the particular conundrum marketing departments have when it comes to promising baseball results in their slogan. If you go with “In it to win it!” and you start out 12-25, well, the slogan becomes obsolete and a big fat target pretty quickly.
Teams either win or lose. They are either exciting or they’re not. That’s what determines how many people show up. And if the team is good enough, the slogans will follow the team, not the other way around.
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.