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.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.