Love him or hate him, and for many it falls on the latter, Trevor Bauer is making some really good points about the state of Major League Baseball recently.
First, he called out the MLB on Twitter for their proposed playoff rule changes, which includes adding two more Wild Card teams and having teams pick who they play in the Wild Card round on TV. Now, he's taken things one step further, going full scorched earth in a YouTube video where he calls the MLB out for their strict social media policy around sharing highlights and not allowing players to express themselves through things like different cleat colors.
The entire video is actually great, but if you don't have time, here are some of the highlights:
- Bauer says that while the NBA turns around highlights immediately and share them on social media, the MLB, and their centralized content hub BAM media, restrict highlight sharing, which in turn limits exposure of star players. In a similar vein of exposure, Bauer mentions local TV blackouts hurt the MLB and its players.
"As the commissioner, figure it out man. How are we supposed to get them interested in the game when they can’t even see the damn game? And on top of that, they cant even go to Twitter, where all the young people hang out."
- Bauer thinks players should be able to wear custom cleats and the MLB needs to market player personality more than enforce rules (like those against wearing colorful cleats).
"Market the players. You have more players in baseball than any other league, with much more diverse backgrounds worldwide. It’s the least marketable because you make stupid decisions about how you market the players."
- Bauer also called out MLB for failing to come up with new ways to showcase the game to young players.
"Where’s the innovation in content? Where’s the next thing that’s going to draw fans in? Who’s identifying with the young fans?"
- Bauer offered to meet with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to help fix these issues.
"Hit me up. I’m sure you can contact me. I’m sure you’ll probably be fining me."
Bauer makes some fabulous points. The MLB has not done a good job of marketing its players and a big issue is the lack of distribution of its content. The focus on game length and creating a new playoff format are distractions from the real issues the MLB faces; namely, getting the next generation of fans interested in the sport.
Hopefully Manfred and the rest of the MLB powers-that-be listen to this and realize the truth: Bauer, whether you love him or hate him, loves the game and wants to help it improve.