Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Chicago Cubs Sign Pitcher Brandon Morrow to a Two-Year Deal

For over 15 years, Mike Loftus has served as the president of MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions (dba MLE, Inc.), a brand-services company based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Outside of work, Mike Loftus enjoys boating, grilling, and watching sports. He roots for several professional and college teams, including the Chicago Cubs. 

The Chicago Cubs have added some pitching depth to their 2018 lineup by signing Brandon Morrow to a two-year deal. Morrow, who played for the Dodgers in 2017, had an impressive showing against the Chicago Cubs when the two teams met for the 2017 National League Championship Series. He finished the 2017 season with a 2.06 earned-run average in 45 games. 

The 33-year-old Morrow is entering his 12th season in the majors. In college, he played at the University of California, Berkley, before debuting in his first major league game with the Seattle Mariners. Morrow later pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Diego Padres prior to his one-year stint in Los Angeles. The right-handed reliever boasts a career ERA of 4.05 in 299 appearances.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cubs Sign Left-Handed Pitcher Dario Alvarez

The recipient of a bachelor's degree in business administration from Winona State University, Mike Loftus founded MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions in 2002 with $40,000 and has since grown it into a comprehensive branding company with annual revenue exceeding $25 million. When he isn't working to further grow MLE, Mike Loftus enjoys following his favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs' relief pitchers combined last season to post a 3.80 earned run average (ERA), which was sixth-best in the 30-team MLB, but the team is already attempting to improve its depth for the 2018 season. On December 1, the team signed left-handed relief pitcher Dario Alvarez to a one-year contract. A 28-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, Alvarez recorded an impressive 2.76 ERA in 16.33 innings last season with the Texas Rangers. He also registered 17 strikeouts, but displayed pitch location issues with his slider that led to 14 walks. Despite being atop the ERA leader board last season, the Cubs relievers allowed a combined 264 walks, which was fifth-most in the league.

The hope is that Alvarez's struggles with pitch location in 2017 were just a blip as he has had good command of his pitches in the past. Prior to the 2017 season, he pitched in a combined 31.66 innings with the Rangers, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves and allowed only 8 walks.

Friday, December 1, 2017

MLE Completes Redesign of The Men’s Wearhouse Retail Store

As head of MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions, Inc., Mike Loftus meets the needs of diverse clients, from FedEx to Starbucks, for in-store retail displays and other branding services. MLE’s Mike Loftus also has a passion for retail-focused signage and enjoys learning about the history of signs and vinyl graphics. 

One successful print marketing campaign of the 1950s was that of 7Up, which came up with the tagline “Nothing does it like 7Up.” It uniquely featured babies enjoying the soda as its prominent visual element. 

The campaign was enabled after a protracted battle with the Internal Revenue Service, with a landmark decision freeing the company from paying taxes on certain income related to advertising. This allowed the regional bottlers to back advertising for the company as a whole and 7Up launched its first coordinated advertising campaigns encompassing magazines, radio, and television. 

By the end of the 1950s, national 7Up campaigns were an annual tradition and included “7UP Floats” advertising focused on the pairing of the soda beverage and ice cream. This approach spawned a major hit in the 1960s with the unveiling of the “Uncola” message and the positioning of the brand as a refreshing alternative to Pepsi and Coca-Cola.