MLB-sponsored media (and their lackeys) needs to remember who the hell it works for.
Written by Kyle Magin
Major League Baseball has an impressive propaganda arm. The league and teams own MLB Advanced Media, which delivers highlights, box scores, and live games to you while you sit on the shitter. They own—in full or part—many of the T.V. stations that bring you local baseball on a night-in, night-out basis, and pay writers to follow teams just like your local newspaper does.
Its players have more avenues than ever to get their message to fans with social media. If the players, or their union, the Major League Baseball Players Association, would like to get word to you, the fan, or the league, they have the resources to do that.
Fans used to have a voice to combat the public relations machines of these millionaires and billionaires in the crotchety baseball media. But now this group is ready to sell out its constituency faster than a street-level drug dealer in literally any episode of Law & Order.
Over the last month, and especially after Sunday night’s 18-inning game between the Yankees and Cubs, baseball media members have been calling for ties to be instituted in the game, or convoluted extra-innings rules to rob you of any free baseball you might like to enjoy.
Boog Sciambi, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball play-by-play man/world’s oldest Gen-Xer, can’t stop fucking tweeting out #finewithtiesafter12 ostensibly because extra inning games are a big hassle for everyone who has to work them and could potentially hurt players or teams.
The New York Daily News’ Joel Sherman offered an only slightly more enlightened take on wrapping games up after nine innings:
I think the major leagues should allow ties if a game remains deadlocked after 12 innings…. the reality is we have a proactive commissioner, and improving the viewability of the product and lowering injuries are his obsessions.
Sherman goes on to name a laundry list of things that made a 16-inning April 13 tilt between the Miami Marlins and New York Mets a snore, in his opinion, and potentially hurt some players/impacted their status with the team because the organizations involved had to bring fresh arms up.
Boog, Joel: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the Union are more than able to make their cases for altering extra innings. They can marshal armies of press agents, paid reporters, social media posts and advocates in owners’ meetings to make their cases.
I, a baseball fan, however, like free baseball. I was stuck on a plane in South Florida Sunday night when I turned on Yankees-Cubs in the eighth inning. I thought I was about to get maybe a half hour baseball before sharing headphones with my girlfriend for an inescapable screening of 27 Dresses. Instead, I got a whole ‘nother game, and then some! Katherine Heigl had cried and whined and redeemed her way into the credits before the bottom of the 16th and I got to watch two of the most exciting teams in baseball set a strikeout record.
In fact, I and many other fans I know frequently get too little baseball. Work and a commute conspire to preclude me from catching my Detroit Tigers for more than a few innings every night. Life keeps me from probably a third to a half of my team’s games in a given year. I get a big kick out of sitting down and watching inning after uninterrupted inning of a ballgame when I can. Live and in-person, catching extra innings are an even bigger hoot. Look at me, a relative peasant, getting a good product for free from my local pizza magnate/oil tycoon/financial robber-baron! This is more baseball than I agreed to pay for!
So, I implore you, baseball media, work for me. The owners and TV execs can pay people to grouse about ratings and vendors. The players can hire doctors and lobbyists to make the case for their safety. You guys are my guys at the table, and damnit, I’m happy with the way things are!
Kyle Magin is a San Diegan and spendthrift who enjoys getting one over on Ron Fowler.