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Report: Advertising patches coming to MLB uniforms within three years

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Terry Lefton of Sports Business Journal reports that Major League Baseball is working on adding advertising patches to uniforms, not unlike the uniform patches that have created a windfall for the NBA. Advertising patches on uniforms would require approval from the MLB Players Association, likely when the next collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon. The current CBA is set to expire on December 1, 2021.

MLB executive vice president of business and sales Noah Garden said, “We’re examining the patch, but clearly we have things to work through first. I’d say it’s inevitable down the road, but certainly not immediate. This is something that requires a fairly long runway. There are lots of things to take into consideration, but I think we will get there.”

According to Lefton, NBA teams have seen an average of $7 million in additional advertising revenue per year as a result of the patches. According to an insider Lefton spoke to, MLB teams should see an additional $6-8 million per year from the advertising patches.

This is not at all an unexpected development. MLB has set revenue records year over year, but the league is always looking for ways to diversify its revenue streams, as it were. With player salaries generally depressed as a result of a stagnant free agent market, it will be interesting to see how fiercely the MLBPA fights for a bigger chunk of the advertising pie.

It will also be interesting to see if and when the advertising patches trickle down to minor league uniforms. Minor leaguers, as has been frequently established here, are severely underpaid and are not represented by the MLBPA. Minor leaguers could become walking billboards and not see an extra penny for it. MLB spent millions of dollars lobbying to exempt minor leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, preventing them from being owed a minimum wage and overtime pay. MLB’s effort was successful. Minor leaguers have already been used for advertising — the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (the Phillies’ Triple-A team) had players wear uniforms with a picture of a GEICO camel back in 2015, for example.

The patches aren’t distracting, at least the way they’re implemented on NBA uniforms. It won’t take away from the game much, if at all. The concern, really, comes down to the players getting their fair share.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.