Daily Archives: July 13, 2012

July 13, 2012

Wilson and Rawlings refuse to play ball nicely

Brandon Phillips poses with the gloves at the heart of the lawsuit.

I missed this somehow during the All Star break, but last Friday, Rawlings filed suit against Wilson in Federal Court. This is all because of the gold on the glove that Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips uses.

Rawlings Sporting Goods created the Gold Glove Award in 1957 to give to excellent defensive baseball players. It is awarded each year to one player per position in the National and American Leagues. The trophy is a golden glove.

Gold Glove winners also get a special Rawlings baseball glove “that includes metallic gold indicia on the glove itself,” according to the federal complaint.

Phillips has a contract with Wilson to provide his gloves, and they have made a special one for him that has some gold trim on it. Obviously, this is an allusion to the Gold Glove Awards that Phillips has won. And that has angered Rawlings.

“Not only is Mr. Phillips using the infringing Wilson glove in the field during games, warm-ups, and practices, but defendant and Mr. Phillips also have promoted the very existence of the glove (and its connection to Wilson) through various channels and media,” the complaint states.

Rawlings wants Wilson enjoined from distributing any glove that contains “gold webbing, gold-colored fabrics or leather, gold lettering, gold stitching, any other metallic gold-colored material, or any other features that are confusingly similar” to Rawlings’ Gold Glove trademarks. It also seeks damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution and false advertising.

It’s difficult to trademark or copyright a color, but Rawlings certainly has a case here. This lawsuit is only between the two glove makers, and Phillips is serving basically as evidence. We’ll see how this plays out, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Phillips have to stop using those golden gloves.

July 13, 2012

Reds begin second half in a good position, but with room for improvement

Stubbsey is swinging

After what’s felt like an eternity thanks to that 11-game West Coast trip and the All Star break, the Cincinnati Reds finally return to the land of the correct time zone to start the second half of the 2012 baseball season. On the trip, the pitching was great, but as has been the case for much of both this year and last year, the offense has been inconsistent.

Still, the Reds find themselves 9 games over .500 at 47-38 and in second place, one game behind the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. They’re ahead of the third-place team, the St. Louis Cardinals, by 1.5 games, and that’s who they’ll play tonight in a battle for second place.

The second-half starts with a little over two weeks until the trading deadline. With the team having no production from the lead-off position and center field thanks to Drew Stubbs blossoming into a horrible, un-coachable baseball player, general manager Walt Jocketty has some work to do.

Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Fay discussed some possible trade targets yesterday. And he, like many, thinks someone to bat first in the lineup is the biggest weakness.

The question is who’s available. Philadelphia’s Juan Pierre apparently is. He’s having a decent year. He’s a rental player, which works well for the Reds since Billy Hamilton will likely be ready by 2014.

Minnesota’s Denard Span likely is available too. He’s hitting .270 with a .334 on-base this year. His career numbers are .282/.357. He under contract the next two years at $4.75 million and $6.5 million with a club option for 2015.

Ryan Ludwick (or Logan Ondrusek) is an outfielder (or reliever) for the Cincinnati Reds.

I want to go on the record again as saying no to Juan Pierre. He would be Willy Taveras, all over again. This Span guy could be promising, though.

Fay calls out Stubbs, as well, saying that most had assumed that a new guy would play left field. But the combination of Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick in left has started to come around. Ludwick, in particular, had a good June (.253/.326/.582) and, so far, a great July (.368/.368/.526). Combined, they’ve got 15 home runs and 53 RBI, which projects to a solid left-fielder over the course of the season. That’s nowhere near the black hole of suckage that Stubbs has been dropping on the field this year.

Center field and lead-off are where the Reds should target. If Jocketty can make an actual improvement there and make Todd Frazier the everyday third-baseman–sadly, Scott Rolen is done and needs to either retire or accept backup, bench duties–then the Reds’ offense would be markedly improved.

Then the team can focus on improving the next weakest link: Dusty Baker.