Tony Clark Says MLB Does "Poor Job" Of Marketing Mookie Betts
MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark believes a "poor job has been done of marketing" Red Sox RF and reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts, according to Ronald Blum of the AP. Speaking at his annual press conference with the BBWAA yesterday, Clark said, "Mookie should be a household name. Mookie should be a one-name guy. You say Ronaldo. You say Messi. You say Mookie. You should know who Mookie is, and outside of the baseball world, I don't know how many do." Clark: "I want to be able to turn on the TV and see players on products with sponsors, licensees, up and down the rows of the streets, whether you're in a big city or a small city. ... Promoting our guys on baseball channels is not going to get us there. Baseball fans know who Mookie is. Non-baseball fans deserve to know who Mookie is." He added that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred probably "would be in position to answer what is required to increase Betts' recognition" (AP, 7/10). In Boston, Julian McWilliams cites a source as saying that MLB has "tried to push Betts, but the majority of time Betts has declined." The source alluded to its “Let The Kids Play” commercial as one of the promotions MLB "tried to involve Betts in," yet he "chose not to participate" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/10).
NO SHIRT REQUIRED: In Massachusetts, Chris Cotillo noted Betts "turned some heads at the All-Star Game red carpet parade with his outfit" yesterday. He wore a "fedora and a jacket without an undershirt as the All-Stars paraded down the streets of Cleveland" (MASSLIVE.com, 7/9). MLB Network's Heidi Watney noted Betts is "always one of the best dressed ... and he did not disappoint" (MLB Network, 7/9). NESN.com's Dakota Randall wrote Betts showed he is "one stylish dude," as he wore a "seriously aggressive outfit." Randall: "Fedora? Check. Bling? Check. No shirt? Check. Check. Check. Take a look: Swag" (NESN.com, 7/9). NJ.com's Mike Rosenstein wrote Betts was "feeling old school" but asked, "Where is his shirt?" (NJ.com, 7/9).
THE REAL ISSUE: In Columbus, Rob Oller writes MLB's "lack of household-name star power is not the game’s biggest issue." The main problem "lies more with MLB trying to be something it is not, in hopes of trending younger." MLB needs to "embrace its strengths instead of apologize for its weaknesses." MLB will "lose if it tries to keep up with the NBA." The league "needs to advertise itself as the anti-NBA by selling substance over style and promoting its slower pace as an antidote to the rush and bustle of our 24/7 information age" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 7/10).