Good morning, all. Hope you are enjoying an extended Presidents Day Weekend!
By the way, while we are on the subject of Presidents Day, I am reading an excellent book about our 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Entitled LBJ’s 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America’s Year of Upheaval, by Kyle Longley, the book offers an interesting perspective of that tumultuous year. Written from an LBJ vantage point, as the author has ties to the LBJ Library, it offers an inside view of the White House and nation in 1968. As someone who enjoys reading about the history of the presidency and who lived through 1968 (I can still see Chicago Mayor Daley screaming at Connecticut U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff at the unhinged, Democratic Party convention), I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
Now on to the sports…
Welcome to the Acme Boots Division
As long as we are on the subject of presidents from Texas, welcome to the Acme Boots Division. Will the Rangers win it? Say what?
In case you missed it, MLB, which now has total control over minor league baseball, announced on Friday it has eliminated the minor leagues as we know it. Gone are the International League, Pacific Coast League, Eastern League, etc. These circuits will now be designated as Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A. The levels will be broken down to Triple-A East, Triple-A West, Double-A Northeast, Double-A Central, etc.
The ultimate goal is to sell the league names to sponsors. And if they do this in the minor leagues can the majors be far behind? Business is all about revenue streams and make no mistake baseball, like other sports, is a business. So do not be surprised if someday you see the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros in the Acme Boots Division. Who wouldn’t get a kick out of that (Ugh!)?
Selling a division’s name to a sponsor is already being done in the NHL. Haven’t you heard of the MassMutual NHL East Division or the Honda NHL West Division?
Soon you could be watching the Electric Vehicle American League or the Vacuum Cleaner National League. These days, it is more than just betting on sporting events. Everything is for sale.
How college sports survive
It is just my guess, but I would imagine many collegiate sports programs are hurting these days, because of the pandemic. And that includes those programs’ finances. For example, many mid-major schools survive, by getting paid by a major school to play them. In 2007, when mid-major Appalachian State defeated Michigan, in Ann Arbor no less, not only did the Mountaineers pull off the upset of upsets, they got paid big bucks from Michigan to play the game. Ostensibly, App. St. was going to be compensated for getting pounded, except the hurting occurred on the other side.
Such an arrangement also occurs at the FCS level. Last month, the University of Maine announced it would be playing North Dakota, an eight-time FCS national champion, on Sept. 9, 2023 at the Fargodome. Maine will receive $250,000 for the privilege of getting pounded. My guess is someone will be reminding the visitors about that day at Ann Arbor in 2007.
The center field camera
As one who loves to study the history of sports from all angles, including technology, I am always amazed how games were televised in the 1950s. So this latest clip on You Tube intrigues me, because it was coverage of the 1957 World Series, using a camera positioned in center field. Amazingly, the center field shot was not used that much during a telecast. MLB owners feared, if a telecast included such technological “advancements,” fans would rather stay home to watch the game rather than go to the stadium. That said, below is Hank Aaron, batting for the Milwaukee Braves, against the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series. Mel Allen is at the mic. Enjoy!
That is it for today. I hope you have a terrific Presidents Day and thank you for your support!