August 13, 2014
The following questions are for the non-baseball fans. Name the first baseball teams you can think of.
That’s not hard at all. Now, name the first baseball player that comes to your head. That’s a bit more difficult, isn’t it?
The August 11th edition of ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning featured that same discussion. Hosts Mike Greenburg and Mike Golic, along with guest Jemele Hill, talked about how Major League Baseball doesn’t have many household names. In fact, the general question asked is always the identity of baseball’s next face.
This goes back to the question I presented before. Some will name local players, which are commendable. Others will name those who retired are possibly suspended from the game. The big name many would probably mention is Derek Jeter.
The Yankee captain and shortstop is on his way out, delivering his swan song at 40 this season. He’s still the face because of his many accomplishments and the brand name. Jeter signed with the Yankees through his career, which became a billion-dollar ball club thanks to its prestigious titles and its own network (YES: Yankees Entertainment and Sports network).
If Jeter’s the only name the common person can name, baseball has a huge problem on its hands.
Granted, the wheels will turn after Jeter retires. But why does it have to be “one new face of Major League Baseball?” Can’t there be several?
Take a look at the other big leagues. Basketball contains numerous household names throughout the country. Among them are Kobe Bryan, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The list goes on with players such as Tim Duncan, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose.
Football has a plethora of household names, dating back to their elite legends of yesteryear. Names like Manning, Rodgers and Peterson are people everyone’s heard of. Even defenders can stay in the minds of fans.
There’s even a possibility that the common person can name the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins before naming a baseball player. It’s not an insult to the Dolphins, but it’s a knock on baseball.
America’s pastime didn’t have this problem. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams were household names in the same era. Mantle, Musial, Aaron and others were known throughout the world. Now, there’s a missing connection between the common person and baseball.
In my opinion, the marketing plays a significant factor. Programs like “NBA Cares” and “NFL Play 60” make their players known. Add to the nearly 24/7 advertising of its players through sponsors.
Where is that for baseball? Where is that other than the Yankees? The answer is nonexistent.
There is a solution to this, other than the vintage “one face” to rule them all. Feature your stars.
So many talented players are waiting to be discovered. Frankly, some of the big names aren’t covered enough.
Slugger Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is an MVP and a triple-crown winner. He should be a household name.
Where’s the love for Pirates’ OF Andrew McCutchen and Diamondbacks’ 1B Paul Goldschimdt? Where’s the national press for top pitchers Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw?
Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout is garnered to become the MLB’s next face. He should, just not the only one.
There’s a possibility that they might not want the extra publicity. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Now’s the perfect time for baseball to make more brand names in their players, especially competing with the popularity of basketball and football.
Well, that’s it for today. Remember to check out the Facebook page for the Update. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and keep on reading. Until then, see you next time sports fans.
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