MLB Franchise Notes: D'Backs Trade Of Upton Leaves Club Without Main Draw
In Phoenix, Paola Boivin writes following Thursday's trade of D'Backs LF Justin Upton to the Braves, it is "hard to imagine anything else luring fans to Chase Field" this year other than the D'Backs becoming a contending team. Upton was the "face of the franchise," and what is left is a team with a "subdued personality." D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said, "I always worry about (fan reaction). One thing we have to be careful not to do ... is to make a decision based on PR or what we think it will do to ticket sales." But Boivin writes, "We need a darn good reason to go to a sporting event. You know, like to watch a two-time All Star" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/25).
LOOK WHO'S BACK: In Boston, Scott Lauber reports the Red Sox have brought back former MLBer Pedro Martinez to "act as a mentor to impressionable pitchers, a spring training instructor [and] even a confidante" for GM Ben Cherington. Martinez, who played for the team from '98-'04, is "expected to advise Cherington in matters of player evaluation." But Martinez also will "put on a uniform and assist pitching coaches at both the major and minor league levels" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/25). Also in Boston, Peter Abraham notes Martinez' role will be "similar to that of Jason Varitek, who rejoined the team in the fall." Both were "involved with the organizational meetings at Fenway Park earlier this week" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/25).
A SLOW BUILD: Indians President Mark Shapiro said that there has been "little rise in season-ticket sales" since Terry Francona was hired as manager in October. The team's season-ticket base is only 6,500, but Shapiro "expects that changing the culture of the organization with Francona and free agent acquisition Nick Swisher should help that." Shapiro said of Francona, "He's already made a huge impact with our players and internally with our organization. And the response from our fan base has been very positive. The bottom line is, if we're more competitive, we'll move in the right direction" (Nick Cafardo, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/25).
I LOVE THE 80s: ESPN CHICAGO's Doug Padilla noted the White Sox this year "will wear the 1983 jerseys for Sunday home games throughout the season." The "red and navy blue 1983 jerseys will have a pullover top and the block-lettered SOX logo on the front" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/24).