Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Bay campaign

Charlie is taking a bit of heat from his normally respectful readers for his admonition to stop voting for Bay. I wouldn't go as far as to tell anyone else to stop voting for a favorite player--doing so is the reason why we have fan voting for the All-Star Game--but I have to agree with Charlie that the PR campaign being conducted by the Pirates is cynical and unseemly. And the motivation for it is transparent.

The Pirates held a press conference yesterday about the phenomenon not only of Bay moving into first place among outfield candidates, but also the high standings of Jack Wilson, Castillo, Casey, and Sanchez. In the midst of what is now the worst losing streak in modern Pirates history, accompanied by an increasingly visible and viable fan revolt (kudos to iratefans.com for that, by the way), the Pirates PR/Marketing staff is actively diverting attention away from the bad news and promoting this feel-good story about our dedicated fans and their love for our players.

And are they ever promoting. We've all heard the non-stop admonitions from the announcers to vote as frequently as possible, but in addition, Bay revealed in the post-press-conference interview that the Pirates have a campaign going in Canada to get Canadians also to vote 25 times a day for Jason Bay. Is it just me, or does the vigor of the PR campaign somehow taint the achievement? So how real is this feel-good story if the phenomenon being described is not so much a groundswell of support from loving fans as it is a creation fabricated by a PR department with the sophistication of the government of Kim Il Jong.

I am a big fan of Jason Bay, but if I were to participate in this exercise by hitting "Send" 25 times a day, I think I might feel like taking a shower.

8 Comments:

Anonymous KPatrick said...

3 points, maybe related, maybe not:

(1) I wouldn't use the word "unseemly" to describe Charlie's post, and I don't think "cynical" works either, but even in these dark times, I don't think that a thing ought to be opposed just because the Pirates' front office might indirectly benefit from it. That seemed to me to be the thrust of the post -- without going back and reading his first post on the subject, I recall that this was a theme there too. There may be good baseball reasons that Bay shouldn't start -- I'm kind of surprised Charlie hasn't laid them out yet, but if history is any judge, he will soon -- but the PR campaign isn't one of them. And anyway, holding it against PR people for doing stuff like this is like holding it against a rattlesnake for being poisonous. It's what they do.

(2) If this distracts from the fan revolt, the distraction will be short term.

(3) The fact that anyone is explicitly allowed to vote more than once is the problem, not the fact that people are doing it. There's no shame in exploiting an explicit rule to the greatest extent possible.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Billy said...

KPatrick: When I used the words "cynical" and "unseemly," I was referring to the campaign itself, not to Charlie's post.

I agree with you that the multi-voting is the root of the problem. It was just a matter of time before someone exploited it to this extent.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Billy said...

And anyway, holding it against PR people for doing stuff like this is like holding it against a rattlesnake for being poisonous. It's what they do.

There are ethical standards that apply to the PR profession--if the Pirates PR department takes actions to create an occurrence that wouldn't have happened without their intervention and then bases a PR campaign on the occurrence that they themselves have created, that's dishonest and unethical.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Gavin said...

This was extremely well stated, I agree wholeheartedly with both your premise and your argument. Something seems incredibly contrived and political about the recent ballot-box stuffing and the whole campaign surrounding it, mostly because it has been a direct and overt effort from the organization itself, as opposed to a fan group or outside source. It highlights generally why fan voting (in practice, the way it actually operates) is an absurd method of selecting all-stars.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous KPatrick said...

"When I used the words "cynical" and "unseemly," I was referring to the campaign itself, not to Charlie's post."

I understand that and agree with it.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Rory said...

At a Cardinals game early in 2003, the ushers handed out all-star ballots, continuous reminders ran during the inning breaks, and their PA announcer even got in on it.

I think its obvious based on the voting the the Mets, Yankees, and Red Sox fans make no qualms about stacking their votes.

It may be more manufactured, but the Canadian support for Bay is very similar to Japanese popularity that made Ichiro the lead vote getter a couple years back.

I just don't find what the Pirates are doing to be any more contemptable then what other teams have done.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I posted this on Charlies site and will be posting it on my site.

Not only do I think he shouldn't start, I think he shouldn't even go.

Thr guy had about a 20 game spam. Outside of that he has been average or less then average. In June he is hitting .239 with 3 homers and 10 Rbi's. How many times did he K in a key sitaution? How many meaningless homers has he hit? The sad thing is Freddy is by far out best player and has been all year, and he will not be there. Pirates will have 1 guy go and it will be the Starter in LF.

This also means a much more solid player like Beltran, Soriano, or Holiday will not make it.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

There may be good baseball reasons that Bay shouldn't start -- I'm kind of surprised Charlie hasn't laid them out yet, but if history is any judge, he will soon

No, I won't, unless things change. I think Bay has probably been the second-best outfielder in the NL this year. In purely baseball terms, he is deserving.

8:28 PM  

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