Ballpark in Arlington

We’re not getting worked up over the new name for the Rangers ballpark, are we?

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The Rangers’ ballpark has a new name: Globe Life Park in Arlington. It’s named after the Globe Life insurance company. Based on what I’ve seen from Twitter and the comments from the earlier post on the matter, it’s not going over too well. It’s either too dull, too lame, too corporate or too whatever else you can think of.

And I really can’t get too worked up over any of this.

The two most venerable ballparks in baseball are named after a gum company and an insurance company. Oh, you didn’t know that about Fenway Park?

[Red Sox owner John] Taylor claimed the name Fenway Park came from its location in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, which was partially created late in the nineteenth century by filling in marshland or “fens“,[10] to create the Back Bay Fens urban park. However, given that Taylor’s family also owned the Fenway Realty Company, the promotional value of the naming at the time has been cited as well.

How about all three iterations of Busch Stadium?

The brewery originally wanted to name the ballpark Budweiser StadiumFord Frick, then Commissioner of Baseball, vetoed the name because of public relations concerns over naming a ballpark after a brand of beer—an ironic stance, given all baseball clubs’ significant revenues from beer sales. However, the Commissioner could not stop Anheuser-Busch president August Busch, Jr. from renaming it after himself, and so he did . . .

Most ballparks have corporate names now or, like Fenway and Wrigley, have some commercial history to the name. The ones that don’t are Angels Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Marlins Park, Nationals Park, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Turner Field is named after Ted Turner, but his name was on the company which owned the team, so it’s hard to say which way that cuts.

The Angels had a corporate name in the past but reverted. They — and I presume Marlins Park and Nationals Park — would go corporate if the right deal came along. Maybe Orioles Park too. I’m guessing only Yankees, Dodgers and Kauffman would eschew a name-change on principle (or because their brand is bigger than any potential corporate partner’s brand). Turner Field only has a couple of years left and I’d bet my children that the Braves go with a corporate name for the new place.

But I don’t think the jokes made at Globe Park’s expense are because it’s corporate per se. Everyone knows most stadiums have corporate names now. Most people are just mad because it sounds funny. Or flat. But I can’t get too worked up over this either because just about every corporate-named ballpark sounded funny when we first heard it. We just got used to it.

We have Petco Park, which is frankly ridiculous when you think about it. There are two parks named after orange juice. “Comerica” is not a word. Do you know anyone who even uses U.S. Cellular? Really, only the parks named after beer and Great American Ballpark — which a lot of people probably don’t realize is named after an insurance company — sound sort of natural. The rest is just a mishmash of telecom and banking and stuff.

I predict people will joke about Globe Park in Arlington for a couple of days. And will make note of its awkwardness for the first two days of the season at most. And then we’ll just get used to it until the next silly corporate park name comes along.

Or, better yet, we’ll just keep calling it The Ballpark. Those guys at Globe aren’t paying us, after all. So why should we dance to their tune?

Report: Tigers and J.D. Martinez agree to a two-year, $18.5 million deal

J.D. Martinez
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
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UPDATE: Jason Beck of MLB.com confirms that it’s a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

8:00 p.m. ET: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with outfielder J.D. Martinez by agreeing to a two-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved, but Robert Murray of Baseball Essential reported earlier today that he was hearing rumblings about a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

Martinez filed for $8 million and was offered $6 million by the Tigers when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. There has been some talk about a long-term extension, but we heard last week that the two sides were discussing both one- and two-year deals. This new deal will buy out Martinez’s final two years of arbitration, so as of now, he’s still on track to go into free agency after 2017.

After a breakout 2014, Martinez batted .282 with 38 home runs and an .879 OPS over 158 games last season.

Free agent reliever Eric O’Flaherty weighing interest from four teams

New York Mets pitcher Eric O'Flaherty throws against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Miami, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. The Mets defeated the Miami Marlins 8-6. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
AP Photo/Joe Skipper
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Veteran reliever Eric O'Flaherty is coming off the worst season of his career, but there’s still plenty of interest in a bounceback, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that he’s deciding between four teams and “should sign a deal by the weekend.”

You really can’t sugarcoat O’Flaherty’s 2015. The 31-year-old was flat-out bad, posting an 8.41 ERA and 21/18 K/BB ratio over 30 innings of work between the Athletics and Mets. Opposing batters hit .343/.427/.482 against him. I keep going back to check if that’s a misprint, but nope, it’s real. He also missed some time with shoulder inflammation. On the bright side, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported last month that O’Flaherty feels healthy and believes that he has fixed his mechanics.

O’Flaherty’s career has veered off track since Tommy John surgery in 2013, but he has enjoyed plenty of success in the past and throws from the left side. He’s the kind of guy who will continue to get chances.

Mets sign outfielder Roger Bernadina

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks
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Veteran outfielder Roger Bernadina has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mets that includes an invitation to spring training.

Bernadina was a semi-regular for the Nationals from 2010-2012, but never developed as much as hoped offensively and didn’t play in the majors at all last season.

At age 32 he’s a career .236 hitter with a .661 OPS in 548 games as a big leaguer and given the Mets’ outfield depth–they already have Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares in bench/part-time roles–Bernadina seems likely to begin the season in the minors.

J.R. Graham is in The Best Shape of his Life

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher J.R. Graham celebrates after the final out as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 12-2 in  a baseball game, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Minneapolis. The Twins won 12-2. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that Twins reliever J.R. Graham has lost “roughly 30-40 pounds this offseason.” It’s not a result of workouts, though. Just a change in diet. Bollinger says that Graham cut out sugar, alcohol and foods heavy in carbs and focused on a high-protein diet with lots of salads, meats and vegetables.

That’s an awful lot of weight to lose in four months, but the dude is only 26 and guys in their 20s lose weight just by thinking about it. Which is so very annoying to those of us who aren’t guys in their 20s.

The real test, of course, will come when he is working out far more strenuously once spring training starts and gets into the season. Normal schmos like me can keep up that kind of diet without much of a hitch as long as we have the willpower. An athlete’s energy requirements are far greater and far more specialized, so he’ll need more fuel than he’s probably been getting this offseason. Word is, however, that professional sports teams have people on staff that, you know, have made monitoring that kind of thing their life’s work.

In the meantime:

“I can just feel the change,” Graham said. “The energy. Everything. I feel great. I’m excited to see how it’ll translate into spring. I know I shouldn’t have any problems because I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m faster. All that. So it’s really exciting.”

It’s very exciting indeed. Because, with that, Graham becomes the latest baseball player to be . . . In The Best Shape of His Life.