Baseball is trying to reach a bigger, younger audience, but its marketing has yet to reach the 21st century.
For an industry with no direct competitors, a brighter inside future than ever, and a very owner-and-league-friendly system of dispensing with profits, Major League Baseball sure seems convinced that they’re dying. And for a company publicly despairing, they don’t seem to have any understanding of what little things they could do to make life easier on themselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in their seeming inability to move their marketing efforts into the 21st century.
No matter what kind of organization you run, from a small start-up to a multinational telecom, the fundamentals of the game are the same: How do you communicate your message to the people you want to reach? How do you determine who you want to communicate with? What image of yourself do you want to communicate?
These three questions are what it all boils down to. It is extremely easy to get lost in the day-to-day of marketing, in the buzz of new ideas and what’s “hot” at the moment. It’s more difficult to refine down to the fundamentals.
MLB parted ways with the Korn Ferry search firm as it continues to struggle filling front office roles with minority candidates.
It’s Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to travel several hundred miles to have an awkward dinner with your family. It’s a season of eating too much, rehashing old family arguments that were silly to begin with and even sillier 20 years later, and dealing with Uncle Larry. You know Uncle Larry. The one who voted for that candidate whom you can’t stand and who would now like to take a few moments to describe why he did so.
We here at Baseball Prospectus know that you’ve probably come to the site to get away from it all and to think about topics that aren’t so emotionally loaded. So, as a public service, we figured we’d write about race. It’s OK, both our Uncles Larry voted for Rick Porcello too.
Last week, Bob Nightengale of USA Todayreported that Major League Baseball is no longer working with executive search firm Korn Ferry, whom the league had retained a little more than a year ago to help teams identify racial and ethnic minorities to fill front office vacancies. When Korn Ferry was hired, there was a growing concern internally that nearly all of the top executives in the game were white, and MLB wanted to do something about it.
To bolster their efforts, MLB created an internal Diversity Pipeline Initiative, headed by former Pirates director of baseball personnel Tyrone Brooks. In the past year, though, several general managers have been politely excused from their duties and havebeenreplaced, mostly by 30-something, statistically-savvy Caucasian guys who used to work for the Cleveland Indians.
Toronto takes a 2-0 lead over Texas as the ALDS heads to Canada.
Here’s the thing: The Texas Rangers are a good team. Maybe they’re a good team that was helped a little by whatever luck or deity-type-thing you prefer in the regular season, but they’re a good team. The Toronto Blue Jays are also a good team. Their luck was maybe a little more confined to simple human err in a one-game playoff, but luck it still was, and so they found themselves in Arlington these last two games, riding on a wave of momentum that seemed like it could take on any day’s pitcher.
If you believe the earnest quotes of every Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays player or coach, there won’t be a basebrawl during this series because everyone very much wants to play baseball and win baseball games. We’ll see how long that decision actually stands, though.
Adrian Beltre is a Hall of Fame player, but his impact goes beyond the numbers.
There has never been anyone like Adrián Beltré.
This is where one would normally jump into a dissection of his incredible talent and on-field accomplishments, and then end in a rigorous whacking-over-the-head with his Hall of Fame-worthy accreditations. Maybe we should, anyway, but what really stands out when Adrián Beltré plays baseball is joy.
Beltré is one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, with one of the more unusual careers. He’s an offensive dynamo, a defensive wizard, and his successes on the biggest stage could be an excuse for him to be any average dour and over-serious veteran player--or at least, the kind of personality void that happens from prolonged exposure to the media.
Instead, Beltré approaches games like there’s nothing else he’d rather do. He’s one of the rare people in the game who can treat it with the levity it deserves without inciting the ire of less-forgiving opponents. He approaches every plate appearance with purpose--with dedication to his craft and an honoring of his talent--but imbued in all that is joy.
It’s difficult to talk about this kind of thing without tipping straight over into raw sentiment, something that has its place in this game, but not overmuch. It might even be easy to diminish the accomplishments of the player in over-simplifying him to a set of reactions and meme-able GIFs, instead of taking it all in as a whole and marveling at both the humor and the pride.
Professionalism isn't something to pick and choose, though some might have you believe that.
Guilder Rodriguez played 14 years in organized baseball, and seven games in the major leagues. Nick Williams was just publicly humiliated by his manager for not showing whatever arbitrary amount of hustle was needed on an obvious out in a hum-drum game. The Frisco RoughRiders finished up a baseball game close to 11:00 PM CT, boarded a charter bus, and arrived in Midland, TX at 5:00 AM to play a game at 2:00 PM that afternoon.
Major League Baseball would have you believe that these are all well and good things for players who are, according to them, not actually “professionals,” but instead seasonal apprentices or interns, per their press release supporting the abomination that is H.B. 5580.
Let’s take a look at that press release, why don’t we? Nothing is more fun than breaking a piece of what one would assume is carefully constructed communication down line by line.