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HumpLinks: Harping on the Vacuum

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The world that follows baseball is so pent up that any Bryce Harper news is chaos.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Kansas City Royals - July 1, 2005 Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images

The springs are wound too tight. We are closing in on the opening of camps and, since they are just days away now, everyone expects the standoffs of HarpChado to come to a close. That means that we have 12 weeks of pent up, frustrated, news cycles just itching to get out, which will come flooding out all at once. We are getting close enough that we have people freaking because some random person thinks they have tracked a chartered private jets from Las Vegas to Philadelphia. An example is below.

On with the Stirrups Grand Promotional Overhaul Plan —

IDEA #5, THURSDAYS: Every sports franchise sells the right to be a corporate sponsor for something or other, raising additional revenues in exchange for brand association and advertising opportunities. I am not going to speak to the propensity to slap billboards over everything and everyone in the stadium. I am suggesting, however, that we containerize some aspects of the sponsorship and, in exchange for that, we expand the sponsorship ability to take-home marketing merchandise into the hands of 33,000 people a night.

So Thursday nights would be the ones that would be home to the more traditional giveaways, things like your SoCal Gas wall calendars and Farmer John beach umbrellas.

But, since we are distilling these traditional promos into a single series of game nights, my give-back is that we don’t have to limit this to a single thing per game. Why not 2? Or 3? Make them sponsor promo orgy nights. Give out your Nitto tote bag with your Yokohama Ohtani sweatshirt inside.

Don’t be mistaken. We would still need to have partner money committed to the investments into the other promo merchandise on other nights. But this plan gives us what any major corporation does with their marketing partnerships: create tiers. For the familiar, this is the age old Silver-Gold-Platinum-Diamond Partner thing. The bigger money marketing partners “buy” their way out of the the Thursday orgies, and it costs them a higher rate to do so. And that higher rate helps defray the more costly promotional events that would be useful to draw in larger crowds. Thursdays are Sponsor Partner Nights.

Now to Countdown-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Stuff............

The Angels have a new hitting coach for the farm system. Silly Rangers, wasting him as a coach of running around the bases....Notice also that Eppler is deploying analytics-oriented guys across his system......

Johnny G was sure fun..........

Jefry Marte has his intro press conference with the Hanshin Tigers..........Two takeaways: one is that he expects to be used as a cleanup hitter (!?!), and the other is that he always wanted to be Albert Pujols when he was growing up (ROFL)..........


Everywhere In Baseball

The good news is that a long-time MLB exec Sandy Alderson is in remission. The good news for Oakland fans is that he is back with the A’s organization, a place where he created the Moneyball approach that Billy Beane would later take over. The A’s built up a tremendous farm system under Alderson’s direction, and became a formidable power in the 90’s. That was when the cult of the downtrodden, small-market A’s was born. It should have served as an excellent learning cycle for how fans will tend to empathize with a fiscally conservative payroll (as represented my ownership) and even champion the cause. This, in spite of the reality that the latter Oakland ownership was delighted to receive revenue sharing money and direct it into their pockets rather than the player payroll it was supposed to be used for. The bad news for Oakland fans is that although Amderson certainly raised the Mets out of the basement of the NL East and into the World Series, over the last 3 years they have fallen back like a rock and Alderson was unable to adjust to a world where EVERYBODY is using the Alderson principals, and now we have layered that with tanking cycles. For me, it will interesting to watch how the Billy Beane cult deals with the return of their Gandalf..........

Thanks for Roberto Baldoquin, Jerry Dipoto...........

Gee, I hope that our farm prospects behind our Top 5 are working hard to hone their skills and move up. I hope they are getting solid medical advice, and meeting with hitting and pitching coaches now and then to help with their work in the cages. And I hope that they are facing stiff competition to keep them laser focused on their journey up the ranks. I hope they are not...not...oh, shit...........

In REALLY BIG NEWS, Grant Brisbee is leaving SBNation. He will pop back up someplace else (here’s hoping that he takes over daily links duties around here), so all we need to do is wait for me to find him again when that happens. Meanwhile, he leaves us with words to live by. And more words to live by. And even more words to live by. Not done by a long shot, so many more words to live by. He’s on a roll, so we just sit back and swim in yet more words to live by. And now we are getting exhausted with all these words to live by. He’s out of gas. Finally. The last of his words to live by..........

Hard Hit Rate as a stat seems to not mean as much anymore. 2018 showed us that, and Kole Calhoun is exhibit A. maybe it’s because hitters have started to immerse themselves in advanced hitting metrics and their adjustments elsewhere have neutralized the edge?..........

Sheryl Ring is back with more of her series on how to fix the MLB arbitration system. This time, she deals with what kinds of information can be submitted to the panel..........

Harold Baines, the Tim Salmon of the Chicago White Sox, is also dumbfounded as to how he got into the Hall of Fame over Bobby Grich............

Portland? Montreal? You guys are screwed. Tony La Russa wants MLB expansion into Nashville. And if that guy can railroad Harold Baines in the HoF (above), getting MLB into Tennessee is a piece of cake...........He could have started by signing this local boy, but the Rangers beat him to it..........

Crap. Baseball Tonight is NOT coming back in 2019, after all..........

Say your prayers for Frank Robinson. Did you realize that that man gave us 8.2 bWAR in only 276 games played over 2 seasons - starting when he was already 37-years old!?.........


Hot Stove

Yesterday was Bryce Harper to Philadelphia Blow Up The Internet Day. It all began the night before, with this tweet. I saw that tweet, shook my head that such a thing is not the way that this will get announced, and moved along. Apparently, I was in the minority. The next morning, rumors were swirling about prop bets concerning which team lands Harper were being taken down, because the decision had already been made. This caused another frenzy. The Philadelphia PD even got in the mix. And ESPN was mobilizing their Bryce Harper Assault Force to take over Philly. We even got a pretty blind response to Philly fans making bets going bonkers and moving the WS odds, with an author who suspects that it’s actually sportsbooks knowing something behind the scenes about how Harper is deciding. Then we got another twitter hit, this one pointing out that the original rumor was impossibly untrue all along, because Vegas never has been allowed to offer such prop bets. So congrats to MLB The Show. Well played, Mauer.........

The Red Sox signed “banned for life until the Red Sox need a cheap closer” Jenrry Mejia. A 1-year minor league contract and invite to their MiLB ST camp. One assumes that he will be assigned David Ortiz as his team adviser............

The Marlins picked up Neil Walker to give them some innings around the infield. 1-year for $2 million...........

Dallas Keuchel is nearing a decision. We have nothing to do with it. Because we are all set, remember?.........

So you tell me, which would you rather have as your infield versatility piece? “A”, Tommy LaStella, coming off a .266/.340/.331 = .672 season and requiring a commitment of $1.35 million? Or “B”, Freddie Galvis coming off a .248/.299/.380 = .680 season and requiring $4 million, plus either a $1 million buyout or a $5.5 million second year guarantee? Galvis was inserted into the Padres lineup 13 more of the time than did the Cubs with LaStella, so rate states for Galvis will be a lot higher (which also is a small factor in Galvis’ WAR). I ask this question because it looks like a good move for Eppler, but that appears that way only if you are firmly convinced that there is a hard cap for team payroll. (By the way, the correct answer would be “C”, get the guy coming off a .238/.353/.436 = .789 season who requires $4 million for TWO years, with that $1 million buyout or a THIRD year for only $3.5 million, AND get a LH relief prospect thrown in, to boot. But that’s another story.)............

Clueless Author Of The Week Award goes to this guy, who is pissed that nobody is bidding for HarpChado. As opposed to this other guy, who knows that somewhere between 4 and 6 teams have been in the bidding, but are all left waiting at the altar to see which guy takes their ring..........

I don’t know if MLB players should follow the lead of guys like Anthony Davis in hoops land, and start demanding to be traded. All I know is that Jerry Dipoto is probably on the phone with the New Orleans Pelicans even as I type this..........


The Duffle Bag

MiLB team rebranding as a merchandise ploy has not stopped. But they are clearly running out of names...........The Yankees have added the role of Environmental Science Adviser to the Front Office Staff. Does this finally mean to end of plastic straws among the Legend Seats?..........Bobblehead fails..........Mike Trout has a pretzel deal?...........