ICYMI, earlier this week Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred did an interview on the Dan Patrick Show where he discussed MLB players marketing themselves to help grow the game and that a problem the MLB was facing was guys like Mike Trout not marketing himself, and many took that as he was incinuating that Trout was a problem. The Angels, of course, released a statement defending their outfielder and a bunch of reporters were quick to point out the error.
Now, Mike Trout not marketing himself like the MLB would like is not the problem. Trout is the exact kind of player the MLB needs because he’s a solid player on the field and a solid guy off the field. He hasn’t been popped for using PEDs or gotten arrested for doing something stupid, he’s just played great baseball and lived his life which is exactly the kind of player parents want their kids looking up to. Sure, he could put himself out there on social media like Bryce Harper or land all the commercials to saturate the market, but that’s not his style.
Let’s not forget about the time that the MLB went after players for minor uniform infractions like Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs wearing black cleats during day games or Cubs Catcher Wilson Contreras’ wearing a Venezuela Flag arm sleeve. Oh let’s not forget that Mike Clevinger and Jakob Junis were reprimanded for their custom cleats as well because ya know player individuality is ruining the game. When really allowing players to have their little custom pieces of the uniform could actually be a positive since it could grow engagement by players buying similar items to look like their favorite players when playing. But again like the Trout marketing, players little changes to the uniform is the problem.
Since the MLB wants to talk about their problems, I’m gonna help them out. One HUGE problem with the MLB is that the game has been tarnished by guys like Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and current Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun using performance enhancing drugs (& lying about it). Now the MLB has tried to crack down on this in recent years, but still guys are getting crafty in using substances that can go undetected. But ya know Trout not marketing himself is hurting the game?
The other problem the MLB has is that they aren’t evolving. The game is still the same as it was WAY back in the day, which is why the MLB saw a large decline in attendance during the first half of the season that had nothing to do with the weather. Sure, they’ve made adjustments here or there but still games are still moving at slow pace and some times taking HOURS to complete. The game style is probably the biggest problem the MLB can address right at this moment to help the game grow. Maybe limit the mound visits a team can have or in extra innings put a runner on first so that games aren’t going until the 18th inning to complete.
But really the MLB’s only problem is that guys like Mike Trout aren’t marketing themselves to grow the game instead of the MLB actually having to address the issues with the game.