Archive for June 3rd, 2008


Screw The Fan

“Screw the fan” must be the operative mission statement for all professional sports. It has to be. There can be no other conclusion. Let us not consider the cost of attending a major league event. Clearly, the casual fan is not capable of paying for halfway decent seats to attend an event. $6 for a soda, $12 for a beer, $5 for peanuts… A family of four can reasonable expect to shell out a couple of $100’s for sh*ts and giggles. Let’s see how well Major League Baseball (MLB) can play the role of first class jerk. (Disclaimer: I am not a baseball fan and would be hard-pressed to actually generate any kind of emotion over the game.)

Baseball fans love gabbing about baseball players and teams. A right of passage for American use has been the ability to accurately and constantly spew stats of their beloved in some kind of data driven dozens… MLB actually took a case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) claiming that it gets to “own” player names and stats. As you may recall, Major League Baseball had created a lucrative side business for itself “licensing” out player names and stats to fantasy baseball providers. This actually made them quite a bit of money, until one of those fantasy baseball companies put two and two together and realized that player names and statistics are public information and not subject to copyright (you can’t copyright “facts”). MLB flipped out at the possibility of losing this revenue stream and sued, claiming ownership of all game data. SCOTUS decided not to even hear the case, effectively telling MLB to go wash its jock. But wait, there’s more!

Little League is an American institution, right. Well, call it a global institution because it is played around the world. MLB doesn’t think that kids should be able to name their teams after MLB teams. We’re not talking about the logos, we’re talking about the NAMES, too. What a bunch of ass hats. Baseball is not America’s past time; it’s America’s cash cow.

Call me old fashioned, but in order for fans to become fans, they have to start out liking the team. Telling little Johnny that he can’t play for Atascocita Athletics or wear a uniform that says “Athletics” because it’s not officially licensed and the team hasn’t paid for the privilege… or telling Johnny’s Dad that he cannot use the stats printed in the local paper for figuring out if he beat his cube mate in the last fantasy baseball head-to-head match… well, it’s just not going to go over well. Review: drugs, steroids, gambling, sexual harassment, huge sums of money, sex with minors, greed, skyrocketing costs, and shakedowns… Way to go MLB. You’re certain to get a new generation of fans.