Beast Mode vs. The Claw and Antlers

The standard line of thinking suggests that Major League Baseball would like to see a World Series matchup featuring the large market Yankees and Phillies. After all, when the Nielsen ratings come in, this would be the most likely to produce big numbers. If members of MLB’s front office hope for this outcome, they don’t know how to get out of their own way. A Rangers vs. Brewers World Series would be the best thing that could happen to baseball.

“Baseball doesn’t do a good job of promoting its star players.”
“Baseball doesn’t market itself well to African-Americans.”
“Baseball players aren’t as personable as their NBA and NFL counterparts.”
“Baseball teams can simply buy championships.”

Over the past decade or so, baseball fans have been beaten over the head with these complaints. A Texas / Milwaukee Fall Classic would tackle each of them head-on.

This scenario would be a battle of two star-laden, ultra-charismatic, organically built, and entertaining teams who have never won a championship. Both teams have managed to fill their rosters with stars while straddling the middle of Major League payrolls – Texas was 13th, and Milwaukee 16th in total spend.

The best way to market the game to casual fans is to introduce them to star-caliber, everyday players with whom they might not already be familiar. Fans need to become acquainted with everyday stars, who five years from now will still be everyday players.

The 2010 Giants? Ugh. Brian Wilson and his beard made a nice temporary story. As nice as it was for the Giants to win a World Series last year, they were completely lacking in this department. Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand, Aubrey Huff, and Juan Uribe? Hardly worth getting to know.

In contrast to the champions of yesteryear, these two teams are filled with star players who should be entertaining for years. Including:

Prince Fielder
Josh Hamilton
Ryan Braun
Ian Kinsler
Rickie Weeks
Elvis Andrus
Corey Hart
Adrian Beltre
Nyjer Morgan
Mike Napoli
Nelson Cruz
Michael Young
C.J. Wilson
Yovanni Gallardo
Neftali Feliz
Zack Greinke

The charisma inherent in these clubs comes through in their celebrations. Fans became aware of the “claw and antlers” the Rangers used to celebrate hitting or baserunning successes. This year, the Brewers introduced fans to “Beast Mode”. Prince Fielder claims that the signal originated from his kids imitating characters from the movie “Monsters, Inc.”

Centerfielder Nyjer Morgan has showcased his alter-ego, Tony Plush, during post game interviews. Maybe it’s me, but it seems to be a play on Bryant Gumbel.

And the classic video in which Morgan admitted that he didn’t know that he had the game winning hit:

And a new classic. Nyjer Morgan drops the f-bomb on TBS following his game winning, NLDS winning, RBI.

While Texas has mostly let the “claw and antlers” go by the wayside, they have introduced a new set of gestures this season. Players have been tight-lipped as to what they represent, but observers have taken to calling the new signals “the Cobra”.

A matchup between these two teams would mean bringing a trophy to local fans who have never seen one, and introduce masses to entertaining players they might otherwise only read about. Furthermore, it would put many of the tiresome compaints and stereotypes about baseball to rest.

5 Responses to Beast Mode vs. The Claw and Antlers

  1. Michael says:

    Actually, the Giants were very easy to grasp onto. If you didn’t, I guarantee it’s because you didn’t give them a chance. How do I know they were awesome AND entertaining?? The Bad News Bears. It’s a movie. Watch it. Then actually pay attention to the Giants and their whole season. Aubrey Huff, an amazing player with a rally thong who never made it to the playoffs. Do you know anything about Cain, Bumgarner, or Romo? Tim Lincecum, really, nobody to like? Pat Burrell and Wilson’s The Machine bit? Look that up too, on YouTube. Then try to get a clue.

    • chickenfriedbb says:

      I agree that a lot of what the Giants did were entertaining to baseball purists. Brian Wilson is a star. I loved the rally thong.

      What I’m talking about is appeal to the 12-15 million people who watch the World Series. How many of them know anything about about Cain, Bumgarner, Pat Burrell, or Romo today? I feel like they’ve already been forgotten by casual fans. That’s the problem.

      • Michael says:

        Agreed. Sorry for the harsh reply but I loved last year’s playoffs and World Series, as well as this year’s. I think a big problem is the media controls what we see. We aren’t taught to believe the Giants, Rangers, or Cardinals are exciting. We are taught that the team with the ‘best’ rotation would be here, the phillies. Thank you Sports Illustrated. We are taught the Yankees and the Red Sox are giants among mere mortal teams, we see them play on ESPN against each other or other teams 40 times a year.

        They should do a better job at showcasing more teams. Get more players out there. Don’t just keep promoting what you KNOW will get ratings. The sexy teams in the 3 or 4 biggest markets. Cuz you know what? If they started to promote teams like the Rangers, the best team in baseball the last two years, people would then get excited about them too! They would start to recognize names like Kinsler, CJ, and Hamilton. It only takes one game or two for me to get to know a team’s entire (or near entire) lineup, cast of characters, how the fans are, etc.

        The Giants won the Series last year, sold out every home game, they have likeable players, they are the 6th biggest market in MLB, yet where was their promotion and excitement? Talk of their rotation? You know the ones that dismantled every single hitter on this years sexy pick the phillies. Cain and Wilson had 0 ER in last year’s playoffs, Timmy beat the ‘best’ Halladay once on the NLCS and the other ‘best’ Lee in the World Series twice. Bumgarner, a 21 year old kid, threw an 8 inning shutout in a World Series game, on the ROAD! Where was the talk about this pitching staff? It was all about the phillies, anyhow amazing the new kids were on the yanks and sox.

        I don’t think you have to be a baseball purist to enjoy the last 2 years of World Series action. People just need to get to know what the actions going to be about before it starts. But the media doesn’t show you these other teams and players. That’s the funny thing, is the ratings are bad because people aren’t grasping the teams, yet how can they if the Giants rotation doesn’t get an SI cover? Or ESPN doesn’t drone on about how great the Rangers bats are. We can’t like something we don’t know about because we aren’t being taught. We aren’t being given the knowledge. The fan base is there, trust me. In my recent travels, you wouldn’t BELIEVE how much Giants gear and champion gear people in Hawai’i, Georgia, and Texas are wearing. Of all places. You wouldn’t believe how many Pirates, Reds, and A’s hats and gear get worn everywhere too. But we aren’t meant to be excited about these teams because ESPN says not to by never showing them. Notice anything about where teams like the Giants, Cards, and Rangers are located, and where the Yanks, Sox, and Philly are? Eastcoast Sports Preferred Nationally, ESPN.

        The appeal to the casual fan is not there because we are told that others are more appealing. To say that the last 2 Series really weren’t is sad. If they got airtime like the ones we are told ARE appealing, then the casual fan would be able to like them too.

        • chickenfriedbb says:

          I’m with you. I think the national media’s focus is a big part of the problem. The World Series is still Baseball’s biggest promotional platform, and I think it’s great to introduce fans to charismatic and talented everyday players who will have a shelf life. Promoting Jeter, Ortiz, and A-Rod might get instant ratings, but those guys will be out of the picture before long. From a marketability standpoint, I think Lincecum, Sandoval, and Wilson are great, although I worry about the staying power of relief pitchers. Posey should be a star player. I’m just not that confident in the futures of many of the other position players on last year’s Giants team.

          A couple of posts from last fall:

          • Michael says:

            Once the weather agrees, I hope the Rangers can finish off what they missed last year. I’ve never seen a team with so much humility and respect after falling just short. Texas got there with class last year and went out with it too, unlike the Yankees fans saying that Texas shouldn’t have beaten them last year and that the Giants wouldn’t have beaten them in the Series too. Texas was a better team than NY last year and this year. And don’t get me started on the phillies, their fans, and their lunatic manager. The last 2 Series didn’t feature an East Coast team. In fact, no East Coast team made it past the first round this year. People should wake up, there are more than 4 teams in baseball, and a lot of them are exciting. As a Giants fan, I’m rooting for the Rangers. Go get em!!

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