In the 90s, everyone knew who the face of the National Basketball Association (NBA) was. Michael Jordan. Today, I am not quite sure that, outside of die-hard fans, people know Mike Trout is without a doubt the best player in baseball right now. Major League Baseball (MLB) has not been known for doing an exceptional job marketing its players or the sport in general.
Tim Anderson is the shortstop of the White Sox and also the first Sox player to win the league batting title since 1997. He’s very talented and entertaining to watch. In mid-April, Anderson got into it with Royals pitcher Brad Keller, after he was hit by a pitch one at-bat after hitting a homerun and flipping his bat to get his teammates pumped up. Umpire Joe West ejected Anderson during the game and MLB issued a one game suspension. However, the day the game took place, MLB tweeted “Keep doing your thing, @TimAnderson7”, with graphics quoting Anderson. This received a lot of criticism from fans saying the tweet and suspension were somewhat contradicting.
If you followed the MLB season this year, then you know it seems that a different ball was used as opposed to previous years. Pitchers have even said that the ball feels different and blamed the MLB for using a “juiced ball.” Balls were flying out of every park at a record rate this year. Homeruns are one of the more entertaining aspects of the game, so theoretically juicing the balls could potentially bring in more viewers.
With the playoffs underway, it’s being discussed now that the MLB has gone back to using the old ball, abandoning the ball they used all throughout the regular season. Again, this has created a lot of speculation and criticism from fans all over the world.
Let’s look at some of the things MLB is doing this season to market the sport more efficiently.
The We Play Loud Campaign
MLB’s latest promo, “We Play Loud” is a nod to how the game has drastically changed throughout the years. Aaron Judge narrates the beginning of the commercial saying, “They say baseball isn’t like it used to be. They’re right.” Current stars on playoff teams are superimposed on grainy black and white footage taking on players from the past, being animated and demonstrating emotion by dancing and flipping their bat. The video ends with the statement, “The kids are here, and we play loud.”
This commercial did a phenomenal job showcasing some of the young talent that’s part of the game today, welcoming their vibrant personality and excitement that they bring daily.
The MLB Flagship Store
MLB announced on Monday, October 14th, that MLB will be opening the MLB Flagship store next summer in Manhattan. MLB Deputy Commissioner, Tony Petitti, stated “This new retail location in a busy area of Manhattan gives us another unique way to market our players and teams and help continue to grow the sport.” Hopefully this will deliver a positive experience and drive fans to visit and shop for gear to represent their favorite team or players.
I hope baseball continues its efforts to grow the game to reach levels I believe it is capable of in the foreseeable future.