MLB Making Strides in Paperless Tickets

MLB Making Strides in Paperless Tickets

Major League Baseball has put a whole lot of effort recently in to continuing to evolve the way fans gain entrance to games. In fact, there is a Commissioner's Ticket Review Committee that was set up for this purpose. They've come up with a paperless ticket brand known as MLB FanPass that will be used by every team in baseball. The degree to which each team will use it remains to be seen.

Sports Business Daily has an in-depth article about the new MLB FanPass initiative which tries to answer just how it would work:

Like systems in other sports, purchasers of paperless baseball tickets
will enter ballparks using their credit card, which is swiped at the
gate. Fans upon arrival then get a locator stub, created using a
portable printer, to help find their seats. For fans, the most immediate
change will be the elimination of a stack of paper tickets that need to
be stored, managed and distributed. And MLB FanPass has been integrated
into the primary ticketing systems of outside vendors such as
Ticketmaster and the MLBAM-owned Tickets.com.

As a partial season ticket holder and very frequent visitor to Citizens Bank Park, I'm a fan who loves having my ticket stub as a memento from the game. I've even emailed the Phillies in the past asking if there was any way to turn a StubHub ticket that I've printed out at home into a "real" ticket stub to keep as a memento. They responded by saying this printed out piece of paper is, in fact, a ticket stub. Meh.

It's an issue and new technology worth keeping an eye on. Is the "locator stub" mentioned by SBD substantial enough to make for a nice keepsake from a game in which Roy Halladay throws a no hitter? One can hope.

Another local team that implements a paperless ticket is the Philadelphia Union who give full season ticket holders a credit card sized... card that fits right into their wallet and is simply scanned to gain entrance. Some fans put this card in a lanyard and wear it around their neck. The technology also allows them to email printable tickets through their account with the Union to certain games if they wanted to allow a friend to use their season ticket for instance.

Change is weird. We have a certain attachment to actual physical tickets. Do you have an opinion either way?

>>MLB FanPass to make paperless ticketing push [SBD]

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

The Phillies made a couple quiet additions as the winter meetings ended, signing veteran outfielder Daniel Nava and lefty reliever Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts.

Nava, 34 in February, is a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and first base. He came up with the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in Boston in 2010 as a 27-year-old rookie. Some Phillies fans will remember him for hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major-league plate appearance.

Nava had a few decent years in Boston, the best of which was 2013, when he had 536 plate appearances and hit .303/.385/.445 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs. 

Nava's numbers and opportunities have dropped every year since. He was designated for assignment by Boston in 2015, latched on with the Rays, signed the next year with the Angels and was traded late in the season to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons, Nava has hit just .208, albeit with an on-base percentage 99 points higher because of his 30 walks and 10 hit by pitches.

Burnett, 34, has spent five of the last seven seasons in the Nationals' bullpen. He had a 2.85 ERA in 283 appearances from 2009-12 and parlayed that success into a two-year, $7.25 million contract with the Angels. However, he barely pitched in 2013 and 2014 for the Halos because of an elbow tear. He returned to the Nats last season and allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings.

Burnett, perhaps more so than Nava, has a chance to fill a role with the Phillies if he can stay healthy. He's shown he can get outs at the highest level, posting a 2.38 ERA in 2012 with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.14 ERA with 8.9 K/9 in 2010. That was a long time ago now, and Burnett's fastball has dipped from averaging 90-91 mph to 88.

According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Burnett will receive a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team and can earn another $1.75 million in incentives based on his number of appearances.

Burnett has an opt-out date of March 26, meaning he can become a free agent a week before the regular season begins if it looks to him like he isn't in the Phils' plans.

Nava's chances at cracking the opening-day roster seem longer because the Phillies are expected to make more depth signings between now and the start of camp. They've prioritized finding some offense in the corner outfield and that could come in the form of more minor-league deals, a guaranteed contract or trade. One potential fit I examined last week was Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, a hitter more proven than Nava (see story).

These minor-league deals were commonplace for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak last offseason, when the only free agent he signed to a major-league deal was reliever David Hernandez. 

Last season, three players who were signed to minor-league deals with invites to spring training made the team on opening day: outfielder Cedric Hunter, utilityman Emmanuel Burriss and reliever James Russell.

Others, such as former closers Edward Mujica, Ernesto Frieri and Andrew Bailey, failed to make the team out of camp. Bailey eventually earned a call-up; the other two didn't.

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixers point guard and Meek Mill collaborator Lou Williams is enjoying quite the run off the bench for the Lakers recently.

Over Los Angeles' last four games, Williams has posted totals of 40, 38, 24, and 35 points. 

The six-man is averaging 34.5 points per game over the stretch, and his 137 points are the most off the bench in a four-game span by any player since 1970-71, when stats were first recorded, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN. Williams is now averaging 19.3 points this season, which is 4.4 more than his highest average with the Sixers.

Williams isn’t the only player who used to play for the Sixers that is playing well for the Lakers this year. Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who also comes off the bench, is averaging 13.3 points per game. Just a few weeks ago, Swaggy P stole a pass intended for Lou Williams, and then proceeded to hit a game winner against the Thunder. Swaggy P, however, is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but is getting closer to a return.

"Lou Will" was also talked about last April during Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, when he was beefing on Twitter with another former Philadelphia athlete, LeSean McCoy.