I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, bit it’s worth its own mention: we have reached Peak Brandon in Major League Baseball.
I’ve been meaning to look at this all season, having noticed that the Giants are fat with Brandons, complete with the Belt, Crawford and Hicks models. If Brandon Wood hadn’t been a major league bust the Giants coulda traded for him and had the elusive all-Brandon infield. So close.
But it’s not just the Giants. I went to Baseball-Reference.com and counted 41 Brandons who have played major league baseball (I didn’t count guys with Brandon as a middle name who showed up). Twenty-two of them are currently active. Another 15 of them were active no later than 2004. That’s in the entire history of Major League Baseball.
Probably also worth noting that we’re at Peak C.J. too, as five C.J.s have played major league baseball in its history, with four of them currently active (and one, Nitkowski, broadcasting). Two of them play for the Angels (Wilson and Cron).
I’m sure this is all tied up in the general popularity of names, which means we’ll likely have a lot of Aidens playing baseball in a decade or two. But I do find it rather fun. As do the Giants, who are having fun with it this weekend:
Oh, and if you’re curious.
(thanks to Jen for the heads up on the All-Brandon Weekend)
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”