We linked that Mets “fan letter” or “loyalty oath” or whatever that thing was yesterday. And, as we said yesterday, it may be a bit weird as far as these things go — teams don’t often pen open letters to their fans like that — but it’s really no different than any other sort of fan outreach, marketing or what have you. The Red Sox have convinced their fans they’re part of a Great Nation. The Yankees have crafted this grand fiction of a “Yankees Universe” in which class and history and nobility exist in the Bronx unlike they exist anyplace else. If you examine the stuff that led to those now-accepted tropes, they’d look kinda silly too.
But the Mets’ effort has sparked a pretty big backlash. The biggest I’ve seen comes from Mike Vaccaro in the Post who calls it “clueless” and “insulting” and calls the Mets “dense” for even bothering. He says it’s an “affront” to real fans. It’s quite a screed.
It just feels like a Mets pile-on to me. For years the Mets have done dumb things and that has led to a lot of “Dumb Mets!” or, in the parlance of Twitter “LOLMETS!” commentary. But it’s gotten to the point where people autopilot to that without, I think, actually trying to figure out if the thing they’re mocking is really all that mockworthy.
I don’t think this letter is. I don’t think it’s some masterstroke in public relations, but it’s no worse than what a lot of other teams do. Why it is creating such a furor among some I have no idea.
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.
If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”
[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.
While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.
Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.
This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.
The club’s full complaint can be found here.