By renovating the historic Fenway Park in 2002, Boston augmented their baseball ops department with the quickening revenue streams from an improved stadium experience – a strategy Theo Epstein brought with him to Chicago, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Additionally, both Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, under Epstein’s leadership, have benefited from in-stadium advertising along the outfield walls – much like your local little league field. In Boston, the seats added above the Green Monster came complete with the ad billboards above. In Chicago, the bleachers were devoid of ad content until 2010 when a 360-foot Toyota sign was installed over the left field bleachers. Baseball purists may balk at these eyesores becoming a focal point of such historic stadiums, but the financial welfare afforded both franchises by these towering facades have produced previously-unmatched eras of on-field success. Lest we forget, Wrigley Field was called Weeghman Park until it was acquired by the chewing gum tycoon, so while it’s not as obvious a money grab as southside rival Guaranteed Rate Field, the Cubs’ northside stadium has long been financially-inspired – Epstein’s major contribution is making these influxes of cash obvious on the field.
Now, some coaching updates around the National League…
- Mark McGwire won’t be returning as the Padres bench coach for 2019, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. McGwire is reportedly stepping down to spend more time with his family after two seasons as the bench coach in San Diego. Big Mac had previously spent three seasons apiece as hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. For the Padres, they will seek to avoid an extended search to fill their three coaching vacancies for 2019 (bench coach, hitting coach, and infield coach).
- In other coaching news, the Washington Nationals will not be making any changes to their coaching staff prior to 2019, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Manager Dave Martinez returns for the second year of a three-year deal, hoping for a turnaround after a disappointing first year in Washington. Bench coach Chip Hale, hitting coach Kevin Long, and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist will return to buttress Martinez in the Washington dugout. Rounding out the coaching crew: former infielder Tim Bogar returns to the first base coaching box, Greg Maddux’s former personal catcher Henry Blanco returns to coach in the bullpen and longtime third base coach Bob Henley returns in his usual role.