Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Lids’ Bizarre Marketing for MLB Memorial Day Caps

In recent years, MLB, along with their on-field merchandisers New Era and Majestic created a whole host of caps to “honor” the country, moms, dads, and the troops. On Memorial Day–which should be noted, is a holiday honoring those who’ve died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces–ballplayers wear camouflage jerseys and hats. New Era and Majestic design new caps and jerseys every year, and of course, they’re made for retail.

I’m not into the whole camo thing, but it’s cool. MLB donates proceeds to its Welcome Back Veterans organization, something its done since the first “Stars & Stripes” caps debuted on July 4, 2008.

However, sports paraphernalia superstore Lids had a bizarre take when they sent an email advertising the caps. Three of the Memorial Day caps were displayed–resting on fancy pillows–with the header “WE SALUTE OUR KINGS”.  Lids also has a banner ad on its home page pushing the same message.

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MLB to Portland Picks Up Steam

As Oakland and Tampa Bay fumble their way through finding themselves new stadiums, a group of business people in Portland, Oregon unveiled the Portland Diamond Project with one goal in mind: bringing Major League Baseball to Portland.

This of course comes on the heels of additional rumblings of either an expansion or relocated team moving to Montreal after another successful exhibition series packed old Olympic Stadium. Like Portland, investors in Montreal are willing to fund their own facility.

Early season attendance woes aside, I’m all for bringing MLB to Portland and reestablishing the Expos in Montreal. With that said, we’d likely see a realignment to balance the leagues and schedules, which will ultimately transform the league. The designated hitter will become a league-wide thing and the National and American Leagues as we know it will likely go away. We’d also see an expanded playoff system, and who doesn’t love baseball extending well into the fall? (I kid, I kid)

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Apparently, Predatory Lenders Found Their Way Into Baseball Too

A few weeks ago, Congress passed a bill embedded in the gigantic spending package making it easier for Major League Baseball owners to pay minor leaguers as little as possible. The new law ensures MLB owners only have to pay players for games played in the regular season. Never mind spring training, off season appearances, or anything else.

In recent years, minor leaguers shared stories often horrific stories about their lives in MiLB. They often face difficult living conditions and struggle just to eat a decent meal. As glamorous as being a pro baseball player seems, it’s really only glamorous for the guys raking in the big bucks in the majors.

A consequence of low wages is more visible this week, after top Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Mejia filed a lawsuit against the company Big League Advance, which effectively bought a stake in Mejia’s future earnings. Basically, companies like Big League Advance provide minor leaguers with a sum of money in exchange for future earnings. In Mejia’s case, Big League Advance provided him with $360,000 in exchange for 10 percent of Mejia’s future MLB earnings. As a top prospect, Mejia could end up earning big money.

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Major League Wage Theft: How Baseball Owners and Congress Exploit Minor League Players | Jobs With Justice

Source: Major League Wage Theft: How Baseball Owners and Congress Exploit Minor League Players | Jobs With Justice

 

 

Braves’ making a beer mistake

A lot of Coors Light, but any room for Atlanta's burgeoning craft beer scene?

A lot of Coors Light, but any room for Atlanta’s burgeoning craft beer scene?

Aside from the home of the Atlanta Braves, the largest city in the Georgia is awesome home to a growing number of craft breweries. From the large (Sweetwater) to the very small (Burnt Hickory), metro-Atlanta is one of the hippest spots in the country for craft beer. Since the early-2000s, craft beer growth in the area seems almost exponential and it’s great. Craft beer creates jobs, tourism, and something the locals can be proud of and share with visitors from other states.

With the Braves impending move up I-75 to Cobb County, they had every opportunity to embrace the beer culture sweeping through Atlanta. In fact, the new park finds itself in close proximity to three breweries (Red Brick, Red Hare, and Burnt Hickory), yet it was announced today that Miller-Coors will be the beer sponsor in SunTrust Park.  Continue reading

ESPN needs to look in rearview: FOX is coming…

Watch out ESPN, FOX is coming...

Watch out ESPN, FOX is coming…

Saturday marks the launch of a brand new, 24-hour, cable sports network; it’s supposed to be the ESPN killer. We’ve heard this kind of talk before, most recently with the NBC Sports Network. Sports fans are fed up with ESPN’s shenanigans and are looking for a true alternative. Thus far, NBC Sports Net hasn’t proven its worth, but FOX Sports 1 could be very different.

Where FOX can succeed where NBC has thus far failed lies in the programming. FOX Sports 1 not only features a promising nightly sports news program, it will launch with significant amounts of live sporting events, including college football and basketball, NASCAR, MMA events, and starting next year Major League Baseball (including Division and League Championship Series). Another fascinating premise behind FOX Sports 1’s potential success (and something few are discussing) is the existence of a vast series of regional networks.

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C’mon Braves, really?

Rain, rain go away

Rain, rain go away

UPDATE: I guess enough fans complained or the Braves realized that it wasn’t very fun to sit through a 4-hour rain delay on Monday. The team announced yesterday that anyone who has a ticket stub to the 6/17 game against the Mets can take it to the Turner Field box office and use it to buy a $5 ticket to 18 various second half home games. You can get tickets in pretty good sections as well, so it’s not a total loss for fans who suffered through Monday’s madness.

 

Even with threatening weather, I was excited to see my hometown Braves take on the Mets last night at Turner Field. I hadn’t been to a game since opening day and I was looking forward to seeing baseball. Yes, it was risky to buy tickets with a radar filled with different shades of green, yellow, and orange, but to the Ted I went. Not only was I greeted with close to a 4-hour rain delay, but a significant chunk of that delay featured no rain at all. First pitch was scheduled for 7:10; the game didn’t start until 10:52 EDT.

Managers Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves and Terry Collins of the Mets pushed hard to play last night, despite the weather, because the teams were already facing a 5-game series (there’s a makeup game today as part of a day/night doubleheader) and there’s a high probability of rain affecting one or both games today. I get what they were doing, but what resulted was inconsiderate to fans and unfair to players.

Stupidly, I purchased upper deck tickets to last night’s game, sat through the rain, getting rather wet and cold in the process, and it was so late by the time they actually started playing baseball, I left following the first inning. It was after 11:00 p.m., it was a Monday night, and it wasn’t the type of night where I wanted to hang at Turner Field until 2 a.m. What’s even more unfortunate is that because of the rainout policy, the thousands of fans that left before the start of the game (22,000+ paid to go, maybe 5,000 stayed) are out the bucks they paid to attend last night’s game. Families with young kids, folks that head to work early, and others that just gave up had a pretty rotten experience last night dodging rain, spending oodles of money on food and souvenirs that couldn’t be enjoyed while watching baseball.

It’s really sad when you’re hiding in the bowels of the stadium eating a hot dog watching the grounds crew standing on a field where it isn’t raining, but simply anticipating a storm.

From the players’ perspective, they must be pretty upset. Yes, they are paid an insane sum of money to play a game, but they are professionals and asking them to start a game at nearly 11:00 p.m. when they had a 1:00 p.m. game the following day is cruel and unnecessary. I could understand the push to get the game in if the Braves were playing a west coast or American League team, but it was the New York Mets, a team you play 18 times a year and will be back in Atlanta in September. To further the players’ case, they asked for a response from the MLB Players’ Association at 10:00 p.m. last night when the radar showed more heavy rain moving into the Atlanta-area, but were met with silence.

I can’t count how many Braves games I’ve been to in my life, but this was by far one of the worst experiences–if not the worst–I’ve had at a baseball game anywhere in the country. It’s one thing to delay an afternoon game into the early evening, but it’s an entirely different situation to delay at 7:10 game until nearly 11:00 p.m. on a Monday night…

C’mon Braves, I love you and you can do better that this.

P.S. I’m moving out-of-state in early August and this was quite possibly one of my last Braves games for quite some time. Way to give a great impression on my way out of Georgia.