Law school buys minor league ballpark naming rights

Leave a comment

The Thomas M. Cooley Law School of Lansing, Michigan charges its many, many students something like $25-30K a year in tuition for what U.S. News routinely considers a fourth-tier legal education.*  And now their tuition dollars are going to the Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays:

The baseball park will be renamed Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Stadium in time for the Lugnuts’ season opener in April, said James
Butler, a member of Cooley’s board of directors and the board of
commissioners for the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities
Authority, which runs the ballpark. General Motors gave up its naming rights to Oldsmobile Park as part of its bankruptcy reorganization last summer.

Well, seeing how good a naming rights deal on that park did for General Motors in general and Oldsmobile in particular, I can’t see how this isn’t a fabulous deal for Thomas M. Cooley.

If I paid tuition to that fourth-rate diploma mill they call a law school I’d storm the administration building.

*I’m well aware of the criticisms of the U.S. News rankings and agree with many of them. It’s quite telling, however, that Cooley has done so bad by so many different ranking systems that it actually went out and created its own alternative ranking system that appears to have been designed for the specific purpose of giving a high ranking that Cooley can use in its marketing materials. And in those gamed rankings, Cooley ranks 12th.  Seriously.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
12 Comments

The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.