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 #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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