I missed this yesterday, but Buster Olney heard a rumor (Insider only, alas):
Lou Piniella has told others that one way or the other, 2010 will be his last season managing. Now, keep in mind that Piniella is at the end of what has been an enormously disappointing season for the Cubs; Piniella saying he doesn’t want to manage past 2010 to friends is a little like an exhausted parent saying he/she doesn’t want to have any more kids after putting a rowdy toddler to bed at 9 p.m. Consider the context.
Beyond the shouting match he had with Milton Bradley back in June, we haven’t really seen the Lou Piniella we’ve come to know and love this season. With the kind of year the Cubs have had, a fully-invested Piniella would have acted more like, well, Lou Piniella.
Olney’s note of context caution notwithstanding, I’m inclined to think that Piniella is done with managing, and all that is left is to determine whether the Cubs want him back for the final year of his contract or if, alternatively, they want to begin the Ryne Sandberg era in 2010 instead of 2011.
Maury Brown of Forbes reports that T-Mobile will be the new naming rights partner for the Seattle Mariners’ ballpark beginning in 2019. Their park had been known as Safeco Field since it first opened in the summer of 1999. The 20-year naming rights deal with Safeco ended with the close of the 2018 season.
Brown reports that the deal will be around $3 million a year, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot. Then again, I have long been skeptical of how much naming rights actually bring back to the naming rights partner. That’s especially true when the partner is slapping its name on a ballpark that was known as something else beforehand. People tend to still use the old name and, I suspect, resent the new one a bit. Maybe that’s less the case when the park has only been known by corporate names, and no beloved traditional name is being displaced, but I still question if anyone really makes a single purchasing decision based on the name of a ballpark.
I know this much for sure, though: despite the relatively small cost of naming rights here, none of the most notable Seattle-based companies — which include Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Costco and Alaska Airlines — felt it was worth it. Possibly because they know people are gonna call the place “Safeco” for several years regardless.