MLB Wants Your Lunch Money Too

Baseball is awesome, we’re agreed on this. However, MLB: you need to stop being a giant douchebag of a corporation. The latest example is a Little League in Tinley Park, Illinois that was recently sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening a lawsuit if the league didn’t remove all MLB team names from the uniforms of the kids. It seems that for MLB, the fact that these freeloading little kids wanted to have their team names be things like the Phillies or the Cubs is absolutely ridiculous. They should be paying MLB thousands of dollars instead, obviously!

For Dave Glenn, the man responsible for making the Tinley Park uniforms, this whole situation is ludicrous. “Does a league have a right to name a local team? Baseball is saying no. That’s flying in the face of 100 years of tradition. I go out of my way to make sure we use town names, so we make it clear this isn’t a major league jersey. Now we’re told we can’t even do that. What it boils down to is the interpretation of the trademark.”

In 1992 MLB as an enterprise made approximately $1.2 billion in profits, last year they made over $6 billion, so I can certainly understand the absolutely inherent need for such lucrative moneymaking machines like Little League to start paying thousands and thousands of dollars for licensing fees. I mean, Bud Selig did only make $14.5 million last year and he probably is in the midst of a making a certain part of his body something respectable, and that kind of work simply doesn’t come cheap.

“Soon it will be THIS big!”

TThere is simply no way that Bud can be kept in all his various pills and prescriptions unless these dastardly thieving little piss-ants are crushed. After all, who needs little kids to like baseball? I mean why would MLB want to attract little kids to become life-long fans of the game? That seems like a poor waste of resources. It seems like MLB is going out of their way to push kids away from the game and towards the NFL. All the playoff games go super late now, often not ending before midnight, during the week, which means that most kids can’t stay up and see them, thus taking the games that are on the biggest stage and making them completely inaccessible to the youngest subset of fans.

But who needs little kids? After all, MLB has record attendance figures, people aren’t staying away from the game, so to MLB the chance to screw some small-town folk is just a fine way to spend an afternoon. For the kids of Tinley Park though, now they can’t go up to bat pretending to be Derrek Lee or Carlos Quentin. They can’t stare down from the mound channeling their inner Cole Hamels or Jamie Moyer (god I hope little kids pretend to be Jamie Moyer). When they make a great diving stop they can’t imagine that for a moment they know what it feels like to be Asdrubal Cabrera.

A solution may have been found, according to Steve Bowles, the league president, “We can’t have a (Major League) team name or logo on the uniform unless we buy it from Majestic. When we did a cost comparison of what we had versus that, we can’t do it for the same price. We were going to look at college names, because the licensing [cost] is different. We looked at names like the Fighting Irish and the Trojans, etc. About a third of the parents really didn’t mind the college names.”

That sounds terrible. Way to go MLB, you took the opportunity to take an entire group of kids into lifelong fans, people who will pay to help set those record attendances, people who will buy the MLB packages on TV and the authentic licenses apparel and turned them into fans of college sports instead. When I was a little leaguer I was SO excited to be a member of the Red Sox. It was (maybe still is) the greatest thing to ever happen to me. One year I was on the Reds, you know what I did, I became totally into the Reds, I even became a giant fan of Chris Sabo, whose cards I collected relentlessly and traded with my friends to acquire. All because the team I was placed on was named the Reds. But now the Tinley Park youngsters are not going to get that opportunity, instead they’re going to learn about how big corporations are assholes and fuck over the little (leaguers) guy at any opportunity possible.

Of course, it isn’t just the little leagues, earlier in the year MLB sued the Cape Cod League and tried to force them into buying much more expensive licensed apparel instead; because, those dirtbag college kids who want the chance to play with wood bats and get scouted by MLB teams were otherwise totally taking advantage of MLB. Nevermind that some of those teams predate the actual MLB ones, nah, that’s unimportant. Any chance to squeeze a buck.

LLeagues like the NHL which have recognized the power (and need) to expand their sports through mediums like Youtube and such have found that new fans and more casual fans have gotten interested and involved. MLB, instead, has tried to make everything about baseball completely closed off unless you pay for it. First they tried to sue fantasy baseball providers, saying that MLB “owns” all of the stats that have occurred in baseball’s history. Then they took all the footage from games and made them completely unavailable to fans unless you pay them fees, just to watch the highlights or great plays on MLB.Com. Now granted, I like the MLB.TV stuff,stuff, (mostly, sometimes it totally blows) but the fact that I can’t see something and try and highlight it in order to further people’s appreciation of the game,

, without the MLB gestapo coming down is asinine and unproductive. Why keep the fans of the game further away from it? You think all those big advertising dollars will continue if fans don’t come to the games? You think people who have been pushed and punched in the gut for years by MLB will want to grow up and become fans?
This whole situation is disgusting and pathetic and I wish MLB would stop being SO money-grubbing and instead work on expanding the game’s fans. They have all the time in the world to promote MLB in Japan or China, but to the little kids of Tinley Park who just wanted to be named the Phillies there isn’t anything possible for them besides a smooth kick to the junk.

Nice MLB. Real classy.

1 Response to “MLB Wants Your Lunch Money Too”

  1. June 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    It’s a sad day when America’s Favorite Pasttime looks to potect its financial interest before working to heal the wounds caused by recent scandals. Even more sad is the fact that their foe is a bunch of kids who thankfully are unaware of the petty ways of the mega-industries…for now.

    MLB Grow Up!

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