Just say no to uniform advertisements

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From the Over My Dead Body Department:

The Houston Texans are reportedly seeking a sponsor to purchase
advertisements on the team’s practice jerseys, the Houston Chronicle
reports. The ad would be on a patch no larger than 3 1/2 by 4 1/2
inches on the left shoulder of the jerseys. To entice potential buyers,
the Texans put team patches on their practice jerseys to show what the
ad would look like.

“It’s a natural evolutionary step in sports marketing,” said Oliver
Luck, president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo. His team
started selling ads on its jerseys in 2007. “It’s probably something
Major League Baseball and perhaps even the NBA will look at,” Luck
said. “It’s a very important piece of the soccer industry . . . Because
soccer is the most popular sport in the world, you have a broad
acceptance from fans around the world that it’s appropriate to put
advertising on soccer jerseys,” he said. “And it’s a small step to go
from a soccer jersey to a football, basketball or baseball jersey.”

I’ve long argued that whenever football comes up with a bright idea,
baseball would do well to look it, understand it, and then do the exact
opposite. This goes doubly true when football gets its ideas from
soccer.

Yes, ads on soccer kits have “broad acceptance” around the world.
Soccer fans also broadly accept ties, loose interpretations of game
time limits, and rampant nationalism as a basis for their rooting
interests. That’s fine. It’s their sport and they can do what they want
with it. But if baseball ever allows soccer-style advertising on
uniforms, I’ll do whatever I can to ensure that such advertisements
serve only as a means of identifying products to be boycotted.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.