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:
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.