Many people have been talking about the boost in ticket sales that the Philadelphia Phillies got after signing Bryce Harper, but he’s not the only free agent to make a big difference.
The San Diego Padres’ president of business operations, Erik Greupner, said Wednesday that in the two weeks since signing Manny Machado, the team sold at least double the amount of tickets it would typically expect to sell, generating $3 million in additional ticket revenue.
“There’s no doubt we have a tremendous opportunity, with the Chargers having left San Diego for L.A., and also frankly a tremendous obligation as the sole remaining professional sports franchise in San Diego, to deliver a winner to the city of San Diego,” Greupner said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity. Our plan is certainly, through winning, to build an even deeper connection to the San Diego fan base and really give them an opportunity to celebrate a winner, which is something that the city hasn’t had for some time.”
A change in the lineup
A lot of fans aren’t happy that analytics have brought so many changes to baseball: the shift, “openers,” starting pitchers being removed before the third time through a lineup, etc. Now, gambling is making a subtle change to the game too.
This year, teams will be required to submit their starting lineups to the commissioner’s office before they are released to the public. Why? Because bettors like to know the lineups, and MLB wants to make sure everyone receives the information at the same time.
So, starting lineups and who the umpires for each game are will be released first by MLB on its social media accounts.
In previous seasons, lineups were released via teams’ Twitter or Instagram accounts or even by beat reporters who tweetedthe lineups after they were posted. Now, teams will not be allowed to post their lineups publicly until MLB posts them first.
“We are updating a number of our procedures to reduce integrity risks associated with the expansion of sports betting,” Major League Baseball said in a statement. “One new procedure is that we now ask Clubs to submit starting lineups in a uniform fashion in order to reduce the risk of confidential information being ‘tipped.’ This approach mirrors those of international sports leagues in more developed betting markets.”
Ichiro being Ichiro
Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto had a very interesting first encounter with Ichiro Suzuki, the all-time Mariner great who returned to the team in 2018 and is in spring training with the team again this season.
When Ichiro returned to Seattle last year in spring training he asked Dipoto for all the news conferences and public appearances surrounding his return be kept “casual.” And then Ichiro arrived in camp.
“The entourage arrived, and it looked like the CIA arrival for the president,” Dipoto said. “It was dark windows, Suburbans. And Ichiro rolled out and he walked into my office in what I can only describe as something-off-the-runways type of suit. It was like a $5,000 suit that looked as crisp and clean as you can imagine. Impeccable knot in his tie with the dark sunglasses. My first reaction to him was not to shake his hand and introduce myself or the like. I slapped him in the chest and said, `I thought we were going casual!’ He said to me — and this was my intro to Ichiro — he said to me, `To me, this is casual.’”