Associated Press

Chris Ilitch to be the Tigers owner

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This is not at all surprising, but as this story in the Detroit News makes clear, Chris Ilitch, son of Mike, will now ascend to the Tigers’ ownership chair by virtue of his father’s passing. Major League Baseball will, eventually, designate him the control person of the franchise.

As the story notes, Chris Ilitch has been running the day-to-day operations of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. for years. That’s the company which manages all of his parents’ business interests, including the Tigers, the Red Wings, Little Caesars Pizza, the new Little Caesar’s Arena and the Motor City Casino, which is operated by his mother. As such, there will be little if any change in continuity with respect to the company.

The article is nonetheless enlightening as a piece of perspective. The family business he now helms has revenue of around $3.4 billion. All of major league baseball takes in around $10 billion. As such, the Tigers’ portion of Ilitch Holdings is relatively small, all things considered, especially compared to the amount of attention they receive by virtue of being a professional sports team.

Mike Ilitch was lauded as a generous owner due to his willingness to put money into his team and to sign and retain players who excited the fan base. And he certainly was. The reality of the situation, however, is that what constituted big splashes for the baseball team were relatively small potatoes in the context of the larger business empire, so Ilitch could certainly afford to do it. Ilitch was generous, yes, but he was no fool and did not take silly risks.

There are many baseball owners, however, who are wealthier or who operate larger businesses with greater revenue than Ilitch had and nonetheless place tight budgets on their ballclubs and take every opportunity to explain how they’re just getting by or, in some cases, losing money.

When Ilitch passed over the weekend, he was widely praised. Not all baseball owners are when they shuffle off. There’s likely a lesson to be learned in all of that.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.

 

Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had a brutal collision in right center field

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The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.

Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.

Watch:

 

Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.

UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: