Marlins’ president David Samson has a lot left on his to-do list this year.
During the club’s annual FanFest at Marlins Park on Saturday, Samson discussed some of the key decisions that face the team over the next several months. One item on their agenda is a potential naming rights deal. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Samson has narrowed the list of candidates to three, though he’s still seeking some clarity as he makes his final selection:
There’s still three companies, and we cannot figure out which direction we’re going to go in. I still want to get it done before the All-Star Game. It’s such a long-term decision. I don’t want to make the wrong one.
The Marlins are also considering a revision to their TV contract before the 2018 season. Their partnership with FOX isn’t set to expire until 2020, and Samson believes that it’s already failed to bring in adequate revenue.
He’s not wrong. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the club entered the 2016 season with one of the lowest payrolls among major league teams, hampered in large part by the annual $20 million sum they received from FOX Sports. Jackson reports that it was “the lowest of any cable contract in baseball,” while proposed negotiations to raise the Marlins’ rights fee led nowhere.
Things are a little different as the Marlins look to the 2017 season — for one thing, player payroll is back up over $100 million, and there have been strong rumors that a new owner is on the brink of acquiring the club. How this will affect their plans for a new TV deal remains to be seen. In additional comments made on Saturday, Samson said the current arrangement was “no fault of anybody’s but mine,” though it seems likely that the Marlins would take their business elsewhere if they can’t agree to a more profitable extension with FOX in the future.
The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.
This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.