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.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.