Is MLB Missing Marketing Opportunity If Yasiel Puig Is Not Part Of All-Star Game?
MLB is "missing a big marketing opportunity" if Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig is not a member of the NL All-Star Game roster, according to ESPN's Marcellus Wiley. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will manage the NL squad, has indicated he is unlikely to pick Puig for the game since he has spent less than a month in the majors. But Wiley said that would be a "huge mistake." Wiley said of baseball, "It's a sport that needs some good marketing because the casual fan like me, they want to be brought back to the game of baseball. The way you bring me back is doing it with a great story like a guy like Puig." ESPN's Max Kellerman said MLB is "shooting itself in the foot" if Puig is not on the All-Star roster. Kellerman: "You see the demographics in baseball? They're skewing older and older. All this talk for all these years about how baseball is dying, it's always been BS. But it's starting to become true. You need a little injection of energy and youth and excitement, and here he is and they don’t want him in the All-Star Game?" Kellerman noted Dodgers games are "now appointment viewing" and asked, "You don’t want that in the All-Star Game?" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 6/25). MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal said, “If you want entertainment, you might want to watch this guy play and you might attract some viewers if he does.” Rosenthal added, “If I’m a fan, I want to see Yasiel Puig against Felix (Hernandez), against (Justin) Verlander. It would be a ton of fun” (“MLB Tonight,” MLBN,” 6/25).
LET HIM PLAY! In Phoenix, Paola Boivin writes Puig “belongs in the Midsummer Classic,” as he has “everything that game demands: excitement, popularity and production that is good or better than his peers.” MLB should be “happy to have him in the mix,” as Puig is “must-see TV, which is what the All-Star Game needs after last season’s record-low ratings” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/26). In California, Shad Powers writes if fans “consider the All-Star Game an exhibition to showcase the best and most popular players in the league, then Puig is a no-brainer.” Half of the country “probably has only heard about him and never seen him play.” The All-Star Game was “made for people like Puig.” Whether it is the “final five fan vote, manager’s choice, or injury replacement -- let Puig play.” If not, the All-Star Game “will not feature all the stars” (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 6/26). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "The fans want to see this guy. It's unbelievable when he comes to the plate -- I've never seen anything like it -- and it will be that way at the All-Star Game. You need this guy on your All-Star team if you want to showcase a baseball talent" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/25). ESPN L.A.’s Mark Saxon wrote, “Plenty of undeserving big names have been voted onto the team by fans, even some who spent a big chunk of the first half on the disabled list. So, why shouldn't a player who is deserving … make it?” (ESPNLA.com, 6/25).