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Braves broadcasters spend half inning interviewing bank CEO


I was watching the Phillies-Braves game yesterday afternoon. Yes, I know the Yankees game was on at the same time and that, as a national baseball writer, I should probably pay more attention to what they do this year than what a couple of rebuilding teams are doing, but it’s been 33 years since I began watching the Braves. I can’t quit ’em.

There are a lot of bad things about watching Braves games. Chief among them is that they haven’t been very good for a few years, but that’ll pass. It always does. Manager Brian Snitker’s somnambulant bullpen management can be rage inducing at times. Yes, that was an exciting comeback yesterday, but they wouldn’t need to come back from so much if Snitker hadn’t insisted on using his two worst relievers when the game was still close, but hey, I’m a fan and I pick nits.

The broadcast booth is another reason Braves games can be a chore. Chip Caray and Joe Simpson are not among the best announcers in the game. I’m used to them by now so it’s not that big a deal, even if they try my patience at times. Yesterday, though, they weren’t the worst thing in the broadcast booth by far. That honor was left to SunTrust Bank Inc.’s Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers.

Yes, the Braves and Fox Sports Southeast subjected us to a half inning of an in-game interview with a bank executive, and it was very clearly a pre-arranged advertisement, complete with pre-arranged speaking prompts from Caray and Simpson. I call them “prompts” instead of “questions,” because you could tell that Caray and Simpson were utterly uninterested in what the CEO had to say and were merely doing their corporate duty. I felt bad for them, actually.

Simpson asked the CEO if his bank’s naming rights deal for the Braves’ new ballpark was everything he thought’d it be (it was). Caray asked how the bank quantifies the benefits of the naming rights deal, and yes, he cast it in those exact terms. My favorite moment came when Simpson asked the CEO, “what does it mean to you and your company to get the season underway.” I’ll admit that I was embarrassed when I heard that, because I realized that I had neglected to do a season preview for SunTrust bank, what with its season getting underway, or whatever.

From there they moved on to a clearly planned shoutout to the bank’s branded financial advising service which I will not name because, unlike the Braves, SunTrust is not paying me to plug their products. Eventually, the CEO made a point to refer to the fact that the bank helped underwrite the pregame National Anthem/giant flag ceremonies. Ooohh say can you see?

This is the sort of content baseball fans really want, you know, especially on Opening Day.

Not that the CEO did not appreciate the importance of Opening Day. Indeed, he was asked specifically how he felt about it. His response:

“Hopefully we have 24 more years of these.”

No, neither the Braves nor baseball in general are going to fold in 24 years. That’s just how many more years SunTrust owns the naming rights at the Braves’ ballpark and, clearly, that’s all that really matters. Note: I hope no one told him that the Braves have a spotty track record of, you know, staying in stadiums for as long as 24 years, but that’s the topic of another article.

After that the inning ended. I don’t remember what happened on the field. It wasn’t really a priority for the broadcast.

Yu Darvish lands on 10-day disabled list again with triceps tendinitis

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Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.

Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.

The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.