Business of Baseball Report

Cubs to Add Advertisements to Outfield Walls

For the first time ever, historic Wrigley Field will sport advertisements out in the ivy. Under Armour has paid to place ads on the doors in right and left fields; Alfonso Soriano has also agreed to wear Under Armour’s logo on his wrist bands this season.

While I’m not a Cubs fan, I don’t really see this as that big of a deal, and I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner with the Cubs’ corporate ownership. I saw Tiger Stadium slowly put up ads on their outfield walls over time and now Comerica Park has ads all over the place. I don’t see it as taking anything away from my experience at the ballpark, and if the team puts some of that sponsorship money back into the team, then it’s win/win.

MLB Approves Rule Changes

For the first time since 1996, there are some rule changes in baseball. There’s an automatic 10-game suspension for scuffing or defacing a ball (but only if you’re caught). A big deal was made of this when an unusual substance was seen on Kenny Rogers’ hand in the World Series.

There’s also a new rule regarding tie games. If the game is official and it’s tied and called because of weather, the game will now be resumed on the day that the two teams play in that particular stadium again (think doubleheader light). Also, a fielder can no longer go into the dugout to catch a fly ball, but he can reach into it. Finally, new rules give exceptions to when a runner can leave the retaining line down the first base line, and the pitcher now has 12 seconds to pitch the ball when no runners are on base.

Suites on the Decline

It seemed like the big deal when a new stadium went up was the number of suites that the new ballpark contained. Now teams are getting rid of some of their suites in exchange for things like “super suites” or they’re just eliminating them all together. Other teams are giving out perks like food allowances or upgrading their current suites to make them more marketable. Most suites are purchased by corporations and it looks most companies aren’t willing to cough up the cost of purchasing a suite these days.

New Pitching Machine Helps Hitters During Offseason

When I think of batting cages, I think of inaccurate machines that at times do more harm than good. Now, teams are coughing up big bucks for state-of-the-art pitching machines to help their players fine tune their swings at any time of the year. This interesting story discusses a machine that the Rockies are holding out on buying. It costs $45,000 and it’s produced by a company called HitStreak. It can throw anything from a 96-mile-per-hour fastball to an 84-mile-per-hour slider and hit the plate every time. It also provides a DVD quality image on a screen, and the ball shoots through a hole in the screen with the image of the pitcher going through his motion.

The machine can hit 100 mph and several teams have had them installed. Jason Giambi and Trot Nixon even purchased the machine so they can use them during the offseason.

More on Braves Sale

It looks like the sale of the Braves from Time Warner to Liberty Media was more complicated than the initial reports indicated because CBS is also part of a deal. It’s no big surprise that the deal took so long to consummate considering there were three big corporations to deal with and not just two. You can check out Maury Brown’s coverage at Biz of Baseball.

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