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


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