Nelson Figueroa is in the best shape of his life

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Astros pitcher Nelson Figueroa reminds us that spring is right around the corner:

I was very fortunate for the past few years to go to the Dominican and win a few championships in the Caribbean Series. This year, going to Spring Training and not having to do all that, not having to do all that work ahead of time…I feel like I’m going to be in the best shape that I can possibly be because I’ve been working out the whole time.

Robins. Crocuses. People pretending to care about college basketball. Best shape of my life quotes.  I can almost smell the cut grass, the beer and the hot dogs already!

Report: Mariners enter into a ballpark naming rights deal with T-Mobile

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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.