About 2 weeks ago I wrote a piece on the fact that there was a great deal of advertising on TV and at the stadiums around the major leagues. The thing that caught my attention this post season was FOX putting five-second ads on a split screen every time there was a visit to the mound or during a review. I compared it to pop-ups on the internet. I was told by someone that our site as well as MLB makes money on that stuff and that I may want to rethink the story line. I guess when I start making some real money from all these ads I will rethink it.
I was reminded of that piece (https://www.nysportsday.com/2017/10/21/scouts-eye-baseball-commercials-everywhere/) during every game of the playoffs and World Series. Then, to throw me over the edge when the game ended last night, the onslaught of World Series gear crashed onto the field like a tsunami. The players were attacked by interns carrying shirts and hats as they were coming together on the diamond to celebrate their win. Gone were the bright orange colors of the Astros that every fan from Houston had on. All that pride of the Orange color was replaced by cheap gray tee-shirts with a full sized print of the World Series trophy on the front that you could purchase either online or at a retail store.
Gone are the days when players raced to the dugout to elude crowds of crazed home town fans who would rush the field. Even a win in the other team’s ballpark was a dash to the clubhouse to celebrate with champagne showers where no one wore expensive ski goggles. Years ago ballplayers would man-up to their eyes being stung by the spray of victory. The only tears last night came when Carlos Correa proposed to his girlfriend during an on field interview. Today everyone gets on a hastily erected stage on the field and goes through a series of well scripted interviews with family and friends all around them. Guess the commissioner and other big shots, don’t want to ruin one of their $2000 suits by “Armani” in the chaos of a winning clubhouse. Ok, I know, I just slid into what is really on my mind.
I forgot, this is the new “please tell me how much you love me” modern athlete of today. Many of them need to be coddled.The Mets’ new manager, Mickey Callaway, went on and on about how his first order of business will be to sit down with every player and tell them they are loved and how much the team needs and appreciates them. I get it, he has to do what ever he needs to do to win. We have raised a new generation of athletes, who only play one sport like baseball and only when they are in a uniform, in a league with coaches and paid umpires. When was the last time you had to slow down and weave your car through a street of kids playing ball? There a lot of players who really love this game and then there is a group who treat it as a business first.
Could you even imagine Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Earl Weaver, Jim Leyland, Bobby Cox, Charlie Manuel or any of the great managers of our time doing “kumbaya” in the clubhouse with their players? Today we see a pitcher give up a two run lead in the ninth and get high fives and fist bumps when he gets to the dugout.
Yu Darvish was on the rail of the dugout the entire game with his teammates after he stunk up the joint and cost his team the World Series. If I did that when I played, they would be throwing gloves at me. What has happened in this world that has changed all of that? Don’t get me wrong, these are still big, tough men who play this game, but there seems to be a push to soften that image for the new fans who come to the ballgames and spend money. Lots of money.
I like sounding like my father.