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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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