By Ken Reed
Madison Bumgarner had a World Series for the ages. He was named Series MVP after winning two games and pitching five innings in relief on two days rest to save Game 7. His World Series ERA was a minuscule 0.43.
Job well done Mr. Bumgarner. However, I’m sorry you had to endure that awkward MVP ceremony with “Chevy Guy.” Rikk Wilde, who was sent by Chevrolet to represent the company at the awards ceremony, was a nervous wreck during his presentation. At one point, he said the new Chevy Colorado truck that was given to Bumgarner for his MVP performance was loaded with “technology and stuff.” He stumbled and stuttered through an award speech that was much too long to begin with. Wilde’s excessive nervousness might have come from knowing he had to cover several talking points that were clearly crafted for him by the marketing or PR folks at Chevy headquarters.
The whole scene was very uncomfortable — for Wilde, Bumgarner, Fox’s Erin Andrews, baseball commissioner Bud Selig (even though he has “Kiss sponsors’ butts” as a primary job responsibility), and millions of fans watching on TV.
This certainly isn’t a shot at Wilde, who deserves some empathy for being put in a tough position by his employer. It is, however, a shot at the over-the-top blatant commercialism that tainted what should’ve been a baseball-based ode to Bumgarner’s great performance.
A simple, “Congratulations Madison. On behalf of Chevrolet, I’m happy to present you with the keys to a brand new Chevrolet Colorado (screen shifts briefly to a photo of the shiny new truck) for winning the MVP. Great job!”
That’s it. At that point, Mr. Wilde should’ve taken his Chevy Colorado marketing brochures and gotten out of Bumgarner’s spotlight.
Instead, the suits back at Chevrolet’s corporate headquarters decided the MVP ceremony was an appropriate time for Wilde to go over a long laundry list of the truck’s product features.
Here’s a hearty congrats to Bumgarner. A big dose of empathy to Wilde, from all of us who have had to struggle through an awkward situation. And a big, long, loud “Boo!” to the Chevy marketing folks who — through their overt commercialistic approach — made a mockery of Bumgarner’s MVP ceremony.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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