A few days after his April 11 start against the Marlins in which he couldn’t get through the fifth inning, Phillies starter A.J. Burnett was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. He said he would pitch through the rest of the season with it rather than undergo surgery.
So far, so good. Burnett picked up his first win of the season with eight shutout innings against the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon, giving him three consecutive quality outings since his diagnosis:
- April 17 vs. Braves: 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K (no-decision win)
- April 22 at Dodgers: 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K (no-decision win)
- April 27 at Diamondbacks: 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 8 K (win)
- Total: 21 2/3 IP, 2 ER (0.83 ERA), 14 H, 3 BB, 18 K
Thus begins the trend of pitchers intentionally giving themselves inguinal hernias in order to pitch better.
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.