The Rundown: Boycotts Usually Fail, Rizzo Looks Good in Return, Cubs Plan Unified Stand Supporting BLM, Baseball May Increase Playoff Field

A boycott of Major League Baseball by some of its fans seems like pure folly to me.

A number of fans intend to “strike” against MLB  players, including some of the game’s biggest stars, because some have opted to kneel during the National Anthem in support of Black Lives Matter. I touched on this yesterday evening in a truncated version of The Rundown and caught some flak, not unexpectedly. One idea posted in the comments section really gave me pause and some incredible insight regarding people who oppose such demonstrations.

“Maybe then you gain some respect from others with differing viewpoints instead of unilaterally deciding that consumers of entertainment have no choice too [sic] decide whether they want uninformed views being shoved down their throats while they’re trying to enjoy the one thing that have [sic] them pleasure from the pressures of family, jobs, health issues and more.”

Entitlement is a downright ugly word when it invokes race. Like boundaries, we recognize entitlement chiefly by its effects on us: envy, anger, and frustration. I hate using that word, because pejoratively labeling an individual as eminently deserving can be misguided and mean-spirited. I suppose it works both ways, too, i.e. a player is labeled as entitled for kneeling in protest while a fan may seem overly entitled for walking away from a sport because he/she feels such an act is disruptive and defiant.

Generally speaking, a boycott should only serve to deliver a message. Boycotts usually fail when the aim is to hurt sales, but if the goal is to undermine a brand that stands in the way of a movement, there is a greater chance of its success. Often, inability to sustain the effort will lead to its failure. For that reason, a unified stand in support of a cause, such as kneeling during a time of perceived patriotic reverence, is far more likely to succeed than one that consists of a minority of consumers professing their intent to turn their backs on a brand, all for the misconstrued act of social defiance.

Inevitably, the number of people choosing to remain in an active consumer boycott diminishes in a short period of time, and lack of media support will generally suppress its unilateral strength. Not to mention, boycotting a sport because you are unhappy with the actions of a few passionate players seems nothing but self-serving. If you’re that hurt by a statement on racial injustice, how big of a fan are you?

I’d question whether some fans are cognizant that a boycott sends no real message to the players who are allegedly offending them. If the goal is to force the hands of the owners into prohibiting such activity, the complaints are likely to fall on deaf ears. Considering current events, a stand against racial injustice is more likely to increase the appeal of the sport than not.

Outrage comes and goes, and so do boycotts. Brands may suffer short sales dips, but social media boycotts seldom hurt the bottom line of an organization in the long run. And in a case of stupid is as stupid does, how much impact will a public strike against MLB have while fans are unable to attend games anyway?

Rhetoric and activity are two completely different animals, so misguided vitriol really amounts to nothing more than a curmudgeonly complaint by those who are uneducated to the actual meaning of the silent protest. As I said yesterday, it’s probably best to just get over it. The decision by many players to take a stand against injustice changes your life neither for the better nor the worse, but by creating a social talking point, it’s already succeeded in its intent.

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

The fact that there is a 2020 MLB season must be attributed solely to the players. I think I speak for most fans of the game when I say thank you. I still have trepidation, so please be careful: mask, test, distance, and practice good personal hygiene. We want to see everybody back in 2021, including the fans.

Odds & Sods


Apropos of Nothing

I realize that I probably have an audience that skews a little older than the other writers here at Cubs Insider, and I’m okay with that. Because I have off-budgeted streaming music, I am now making Dad Rock CDs and blogging about that project. I hope you will take a minute or two to enjoy my snappy music banter.

Sliding Into Home

My esophageal dilation was a success and I can now eat solid foods. You’d probably be shocked that my first meal choice was a plate of Nutter Butter cookies and a glass of Oberweis milk. For some reason, medicines used to anesthetize me often give me odd cravings. Tonight I plan on a dinner of chicken kiev and steamed veggies. Also, my daily prescription intake has now been reduced by two. Baby steps.

MLB News & Notes

Opening Day has finally arrived! The Yankees get the marquee game, facing the Nationals in D.C., while the Giants travel to Dodger Stadium to square off with their Los Angeles rivals. Celebrate responsibly, please and thank you.

The mega-deal has returned to baseball thanks to the new contract Mookie Betts has signed with the Dodgers. The outfielder will receive $392 million over 13 seasons.

Considering some owners have stated that profits are minimal, even without a pandemic, Betts’ deal is financially significant and a decent argument that things might not really be that tough after all.

Former Cubs reliever Justin Grimm has earned an Opening Day roster spot with the Brewers.

White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez enters 2020 brimming with confidence.

Allow me to introduce you to the new designated hitters of the National League.

This is a recent development, but per Reuters, the league and the players union are reportedly discussing increasing the number of playoff teams to 16 for this season.

Extra Innings

Believe it or not!

They Said It

  • “We’ve had multiple meetings on the racial injustice topic, and we’ve got a plan in place for opening day that these guys are unified with.” – David Ross
  • “We’re here for equality. We’re not here saying we’re perfect. Everyone has their struggles and differences. We’re here to speak up.” – Jason Heyward
  • “The main point is that we’re all together in this. We’re a family here. We’re going to be unified and moving forward together.” – Kyle Hendricks

Thursday Walk Up Song

Kite by U2 – This song from the 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind has become somewhat of a spiritually pivoting anthem for me lately given my infirmities, but it feels much more powerful when applied to current events.

“Who’s to say where the wind will take you?
Who’s to say what it is will break you?
I don’t know which way the wind will blow
Who’s to know when the time has come around?
Don’t want to see you cry,
I know that this is not goodbye.”

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