The Contra Costa Times reports that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum — home of the A’s and the Raiders — will be renamed Overstock.com Coliseum. The deal will earn the county $1.2 million a year for the next six years. I have two issues with this:
1. Anyone really betting that the Coliseum is going to last six more years? I mean, even Bud Selig’s committees have a shelf life, and I have a hard time seeing the A’s plying their trade in that joint in 2017. From what I understand the Raiders are itching to get one of those fancy new stadiums too, be it in Northern California or elsewhere.
2. I’m not sure why companies continue to buy naming rights for previously-built and previously-named stadiums, because people are just going to use the old names anyway. Or they’re going to use cutesy nicknames like “The O,” which is the opening sentence to the linked article. Or Surplus Stadium or whatever. Indeed, after this post, I can pretty much guarantee that no HardballTalk writer will use the name “Overstock.com Coliseum” in a post — at least in a non-mocking post — and fans will continue to call the place whatever they’ve been calling it for the past 40+ years.
But hey, I never said I understood business.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.