clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Offishial News, 1/28/21: American Family Field, Evolving Rivalries and Jazz

More details here on a Marlins top prospect and an effort to grow the game of baseball in South Florida communities.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins - Game Three Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Wednesday on Twitter, we witnessed the actual signage change in Milwaukee at the newly dubbed “American Family Field” named for the Wisconsin-Based American Family Insurance.

It’s neat to see a step towards baseball in 2021 but it’s hard to get past whatever it is exactly that you lose when a team nicknamed the “Brewers” loses a beer sponsorship. Per Wikipedia The ‘Milwaukee Brewers’ moniker has been used by professional baseball teams in Milwaukee dating back to the 1800s and the current MLB franchise has been known as the Milwaukee Brewers since the Seattle Pilots landed in Milwaukee.

It made sense that Brewers played at Miller Park. Miller Brewing was a Milwaukee-based brewing company that was a national brand in 2001 when the stadium was built and they agreed to a 20-year contract for naming rights of the new stadium. The current owner of the Miller Brewing Company, the multi-national beverage company Molson Coors, elected not to continue the relationship.

So the Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance stepped in to pay 4 million per year to change the name of the stadium to ‘American Family Field’. A decent way to contextualize that sort of money is that In 2021’s free agency terms that’s roughly the equivalent of signing a Jason Castro or José Ureña. It’s enough money to make an impact to a team’s Major League roster and get them a step closer to a championship.

But it’s hard not to feel like the Milwaukee Brewers lost something with this name change and this association. Without knowing much about American Family Insurance, it’s easy to see how the idea of an American family visiting a ballpark makes sense and there is some amount of association in that, and it isn’t like Target Field over in Minneapolis is more or less a success based on how strongly someone associates Target with Twins. This is, after all, a business deal and I’m sure this particular transaction will work out for both parties adequately and it’s the Brewers. This is a Marlins website and that is our focus, as of yet Marlins Park has not sold its naming rights and it could go in any direction.

It makes sense to while totally not knowing a single person involved in this naming rights deal that American Family Insurance could have done something unorthodox and elevated a local brand to title sponsor on their own dime. Milwaukee’s own craft brewery, Sprecher (who has won national awards for the beer and soda they brew), could title the stadium “Sprecher Park” with a continuation “Presented by American Family Insurance.” This opportunity could grow a local business, provide fans with drinks and a cohesive experience that was made possible by an Insurance company that I would have a hard time feeling bad about.

As an Orlando-local I can’t think of any Miami businesses that would fit the mold of a Sprecher. But this fan hopes that any naming rights deal doesn’t come at any cost of integrity to the organization.

It was a relatively slow day for the Miami Marlins; but the stove was still hot and a multiple eastern rivals were involved in the action.

Elsewhere in the East, the Toronto Blue Jays in the American league signed former Oakland Athletic All-Star shortstop Marcus Semien to a 1-year, 18 million dollar contract. This move distinctly upgrades their roster without committing payroll beyond 2021. These Blue Jays made the expanded playoffs in 2020 off the play of their infield that’s headlined by Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and oddly consists of the sons of many a Major Leaguer. It was hard not to see the first sparks of a rivalry after some highly competitive games with Miami this past summer and these transactions only seem to plant the Blue Jays more firmly in contention.

A trade between the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays made it in late last night. As the Blue Jays acquired LHP Steven Matz from the Mets for prospects. In isolation, this move adds some starting pitching depth to a Blue Jays team that could use it and cuts payroll for the New York Mets who recently made an offer to free agent pitcher and 2020 NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Both the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays are aggressively building up their rosters and both teams, who the Marlins will face in the 2021 regular season, appear to believe they’re contenders for playoff spots. The Blue Jays are fresh off of a prior appearance and the Mets under their new majority owner Steve Cohen have shown a willingness to upgrade the roster at any cost. There’s no indication of that changing despite it becoming more obvious how weird everything is when you’re a Mets fan.

On this slow actual Marlins news day we can at least find some warmth in MLB Pipeline naming our own Jazz Chisholm their top 2021 Shortstop Rookie of the Year candidate, and their top shortstop with the “humblest beginnings.” Check it out. This series has brought a neat perspective to some upcoming MLB talent and future stars.

New relief pitcher Anthony Bass—who has always been named that and definitely didn’t legally change his name with four hundred and fifty dollars from his new Miami Marlins contract so that he would fit in with all these fish—looks like a strong candidate to close on the 2021 team. Jon Heyman shared his full contract details made public by Jon Heyman. It’s a modest commitment over two years and 5 million dollars total including the buyout of a 2023 club option. The contract could be worth a maximum of $8.5 million depending on how many games Bass finishes and if the Marlins (or whichever team employs him by 2023) exercise his option. Keep an eye out for Bass’ deal to potentially be announced on Thursday along with a corresponding roster move.


Launched by the Marlins and UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) in 2019, the Miami Marlins Tee Ball Initiative is returning for its third year, the team announced Thursday. Youth baseball and softball players from more than 195 South Florida teams will benefit in the form of jersey shirts, hats and equipment.

The expenses typically involved in playing and practicing baseball can understandably deter parents from having their kids participate. Community work like this should gradually open the doors to more youth athletes, particularly in cases where it lowers league registration costs.

From Raquel “Rocky” Egusquiza, Executive Director of the Miami Marlins Foundation:

“It is an exciting time for our organization as future All-Stars across South Florida take the field to play ball. Our organization is committed to the local youth, with the focus on creating opportunities for them to achieve success on and off the field. We are thankful for the support of UKG, who join us in making an impact in our community.”

Check out

At Fish Stripes, Spencer Morris took a discerning look at the 2020 Miami Marlins draft class while Ely Sussman has Marlins winter ball updates entering the Caribbean Series.

And a couple of storylines could come to a head shortly as Miami looks to secure a home for television game broadcasts, and the team continues its pursuit of corner outfielders and relief pitchers. Spring Training is on the horizon—that’ll mean a more definite roster picture across the league and actual baseball and actual competition.

It’s exciting to think that this year might include a Rookie of the Year turn for Chisholm and it’s far too soon to hang any hopes on it. Baseball in January.