As a public relations agency located in the Boston area, I could not help but weigh in on the media circus surrounding A-Rod’s appearance here this past weekend, and the overall, unfortunate PR mess surrounding the sport of baseball. We are a far cry from from the simpler times of, “buy me some peanuts and cracker jack.” One could argue that Ryan Dempster hitting A-Rod was a bit of vigilante justice, regardless of whether you like A-Rod or not. It certainly created a PR conundrum for Boston Red Sox management that, perhaps, should be more worried about winning games, especially in light of the team’s precarious hold on the lead in their division.
One might also question the manner in which Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is handling the whole suspension issue – is anyone thinking about the future of the sport and its heritage as a cherished American past time? Don’t think so.
Usually the “Boys of Summer” refers to baseball players and their passion for piling up home runs, but this year’s “Boys of Summer” are all about piling up excuses for their pathetic behavior . Ryan Braun’s most recent explanation is one of the worst. Braun initiated a smear campaign against sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr, saying that he was biased against Jewish people, and a Cubs fan.
And then we are back to A-Rod. His latest PR tactic– suing the Yankees for medical malpractice, in particular the team doctor. Really?
The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was front and center in the New York Post recently with these words of wisdom: “Alex should shut the f up.” It’s not that I don’t disagree with him, but is this really necessary?
Baseball used to be all about heading to your favorite ballpark, gorging on a hot dog, cheering your team on and teaching kids great lessons about how hard work can lead to winning.
Now, baseball is a haven for egotistical misfits, on the field and off — and a classic textbook for students of crisis management. The problem is that the chapters on the worst examples of PR keep getting longer without an end in sight.
Maybe someone needs to remind today’s players that the sound of the crack of the bat is far preferable to the sound of their own voices when they mouth off to the media without thinking.
Maybe someone needs to remind MLB, the players and those that are involved in the sport that once upon a time, baseball was king — it provided teachable moments and established great traditions between fathers and children.
At this rate, it will be a long time until we can once again honor the lyrics in Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 “Glory Days”, that is about reminiscing and trying to recapture youth.