A-Rod Vs. The Yankees

PR people exist to make their clients look good in the public eye. Some “clients” present more a challenge for the PR folks; Josef Mengle would have been a “hard-sell” to the US public in the late 1940s and Alex Rodriguez is clearly a “hard-sell” to baseball fans today. Well, A-Rod’s “people” caught a small break yesterday when a public interaction turned out to make him look better than the folks he interacted with. What “geniuses” pulled off that less-than-likely event?

    The New York Yankees

According to reports in the NY Daily News and on CBSSports.com, the Yankees’ brass is torqued off at A-Rod yet again. This time, his outrageous behavior engendering the latest case of agita is:

    He showed up early for Spring Training and did not tell anyone he was coming early.

I tell you; that guy has some nerve showing up for work a couple of days early…

    Memo to NY Yankees: Unless you actually want this entire season to be a goat rodeo, you need to dial back your level of sensitivity to what this guy does peripheral to actual baseball games. You cannot take your outrage to DEFCON 1 in the event that he goes back for seconds at the salad bar or donates some money to a charity without telling you first.

During the NBA All-Star break, Kevin Durant made the news when he uncharacteristically went off on reporters. Here is how Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot summarized it:

“Feeling’s mutual: Before expressing regret this week for his All-Star weekend rant, Kevin Durant claimed that he only talks to media because he has to. I’d hazard a guess that many in the media only talk to athletes because they have to.”

Durant’s comments evoked recent memories of Marshawn Lynch at Super Bowl Media Day telling the assembled masses, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” I mention this because there are reports this morning that Marshawn Lynch has applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the phrase “I’m just here so I won’t get fined”. The idea would be to put that phrase on various forms of apparel and then to sell said apparel via a website BeastModeOnline.com. I am not an economist but I believe the applicable term here is that Lynch is in the process of monetizing his Media Day statement.

Just in case anyone here is thinking of horning in on some of this action, Lynch has already gotten a trademark for “Beast Mode” so that would not be a way for you to insert yourself into the middle of this commercial enterprise.

Since I was on the topic of sports entrepreneurship, allow me to let you in on news that a group in Bloomington, MN hopes to organize a rugby match this summer featuring former NFL players against a team from Europe. According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, the hope is that this exhibition match will provide the impetus to launch a professional rugby league here in the US in 2016. The proposed league would play in the summertime and the league concept is that rugby in the summer would provide US sports fans with a contact sport during that time of the year when football does not happen.

The exhibition game involving the English team from Leicester is scheduled for August of this year. Obviously, the emergence and ultimate viability of this pro rugby league in the US is a longshot and not something one should take out a second mortgage to invest in. However, it is an interesting idea and if the organizers can find a way to get that exhibition game on TV…

Here is a link to the full story in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Yesterday, I told you to be on the lookout for the formulaic and banal stories that would certainly emerge from Spring Training this year. I forgot to point out one of the stories that will appear and when that story does appear you need to recognize that it presents a conundrum worthy of philosophical debate.

    At some point this Spring, you will read that “the pitchers are ahead of the hitters at this point…”

    So, ask yourself why the teams don’t have the hitters report to Spring Training before the pitchers and catchers.

    Then consider that if the hitters reported first, there would be no one to pitch to them…

Not only is the story predictable, there is no solution to the “issue” revealed therein. However, it does fill up space…

Finally, B.J. Upton says that henceforth he wants to be known by his given name, Melvin Upton, Jr. I am sure that Braves’ fans will call him anything he wants to be called so long as he improves on his batting average over the past 2 season in Atlanta where in 910 at-bats, Upton has hit .198. If he does not improve, they will likely call him names that will make “B.J.” a most welcome reversion.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………