45th Annual CMA Awards  - Arrivals

Glenn Beck uses MLB’s video platfrom to spew his bile. So what?


I’ve been trying to avoid this — and other outlets have been talking about it already, including my compadre Rick Chandler over at Off the Bench — but the PR guy from this group keeps emailing me about it so why the heck not.

The group in question is Americans United for Change* and the change for which they have united is to get Glenn Beck off whatever airwaves will still have him.

Major League Baseball has become one of their targets because the interactive arm of the league — MLB Advanced Media — provides the streaming video platform for Beck’s loopy webcasts.  The goal: to get the owners and GMs meeting in Milwaukee this week to dump Beck.  They’re running radio ads in Milwaukee this week and have a petition drive going, trying to get MLB to act.

I think Beck is one of the biggest clowns on the planet. That’s not even a partisan thing. If I was a hardcore conservative I’d find him awful because he does a terrible job of advocating legit conservative views.  That’s because he’s not terribly interested in them. He’s just an unhinged attention-seeking freakazoid who is laughable at best and downright toxic at worst, but does not seem to care as long as he can sell some books and snag a paycheck. He could be in favor of a cancer cure and he’d probably do a horribly counterproductive job of pushing his agenda.

But that’s America, right?  There are all kinds of people like Glenn Beck, even if they’re not as (decreasingly) popular. They send out their silly newsletters and show up on radio shows and reserve time on cable access television. And we don’t seek to have the postal service, Kinkos, WBUT radio and the Hooterville Municipal Cable Company boot them from their client lists.  They’re the medium, not the message, and as the saying goes, don’t kill the medium provider.  At least that’s how I think it goes.

I hate Glenn Beck but I love that Major League Baseball takes his money and uses it to make their stats page better. And to work on the research that one day may allow MLBAM to unlock the secret to letting people embed videos from last night’s game (one day soon, I know it!).  Their doing so doesn’t constitute an endorsement of Glenn Beck. And even if you can spin it that way, it’s not a really significant endorsement. Heck, the most famous baseball player in the world spoke at a Glenn Beck rally last year and that didn’t help Beck stay relevant. I’m not sure that some boring video platform agreement is going to do any better.

So good for Americans United for Change for doing something they believe to be important. I just have a hard time seeing it being all that important.

*Note: the name of any piece of legislation or any political action group is almost 100% guaranteed to be misleading in the extreme. If a bill is proposed called the “Everyone Gets Free Pizza and Hugs Act,” watch out because it likely hides horrors behind its euphemistic name. If a group speaks of “united” Americans, rest assured that it only represents a motivated but small number of folks who are absolutely not united with the folks who think about things differently than them.  Just sayin’!  

Ohio Governor John Kasich Says Baseball is dying, you guys

COLUMBUS, OH - MAY 4: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks to the media announcing he is suspending his campaign May 4, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. Kasich is the second Republican candidate within a day to drop out of the GOP race. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
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For reasons that are not entirely clear to me the governor of my state, John Kasich, was on The Dan Patrick Show today. He had some bad news, unfortunately. According to Kasich, “baseball is going to die.”

It’s based mostly on his belief that, because some clubs are rich and some clubs are not so rich, and because players make too much money, poor teams cannot compete and fans cannot find a basis for team loyalty. He cites his boyhood rooting for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the ability for fans to root for players on the same teams year-in, year-out and claims that, if you don’t root for a high-payroll team, “your team is out before the All-Star Break.” Which is demonstrably not true, but he was on a roll so Patrick let him finish.

The real issue, Kasich says, is the lack of revenue sharing in the NFL-NBA mold. He makes a reference to “my buddy Bob Castellini,” the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, and says stuff about how the Reds can’t compete with the Cubs on payroll. His buddy Bob Castellini, by the way, is worth half a billion dollars, purchased the Reds for $270 million, they’re now worth an estimated $905 million, and they just signed a lucrative new TV deal, so thoughts and prayers to his buddy Bob Castellini and the Reds.

Kasich is right that baseball does not have straight revenue sharing like the NFL and NBA do. But he’s also comically uninformed about the differences in financial structure and revenue sources for baseball teams on the one hand and other sports on the other. He talks about how NFL teams in small towns like Green Bay can do just great while the poor sisters in Cincinnati can’t do as well in baseball, but either doesn’t realize or doesn’t acknowledge that local revenue — especially local TV revenue — pales in importance in football compared to baseball. If the Packers had to make all of their money by broadcasting games to the greater Green Bay area their situation would be a lot different. Meanwhile, if the Yankees had to put all of the revenue they receive via broadcasts in the greater New York area and give it to the poorer teams, it would something less than fair, would it not?

Wait, that’s it! I realize now why my governor did not do as well in the Republican primaries as he expected to! HE’S A COMMUNIST!

Billy Williams, Bill Murray and . . . Fall Out Boy!

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 08:  Former players Ferguson Jenkins (L) and Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs throw out ceremonial first pitches before the Opening Day game against the Milwaukee Brewers during the Opening Day game at Wrigley Field on April 8, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball has announced the on-field ceremonial stuff for tonight’s Game 3 of the World Series. There are a couple of good things here! And one bit of evidence that, at some point when he was still commissioner, Bud Selig sold his mortal soul to a pop punk band and now the league can’t do a thing about it.

The ceremonial first pitch choice is fantastic: it’s Billy Williams, the Hall of Famer and six-time All-Star who starred for the Cubs from 1959 through 1974. Glad to see Williams here. I know he’s beloved in Chicago, but he has always seemed to be one of the more overlooked Hall of Famers of the 1960s-70s. I’m guessing not being in the World Series all that time has a lot to do with that, so it’s all the more appropriate that he’s getting the spotlight tonight. Here’s hoping Fox makes a big deal out of it and replays it after the game starts.

“Take me out to the ballgame” will be sung by the guy who, I assume, holds the title of Cubs First Fan, Bill Murray. It’ll be wacky, I’m sure.

The National Anthem will be sung by Chicago native Patrick Stump. Who, many of you may know, is the lead singer for Fall Out Boy. This continues Major League Baseball’s strangely strong association with Fall Out Boy over the years. They, or some subset of them, seem to perform at every MLB jewel event. They have featured in MLB’s Opening Day musical montages. They played at the All-Star Game this summer. Twice. And, of course, they are the creative minds behind “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” (a/k/a “light ’em MUPMUPMUPMUP“) which Major League Baseball and Fox used as incessant playoff bumper music several years ago. I don’t ask for much in life, but one thing I do want is someone to love me as much as Major League Baseball loves Fall Out Boy. We all do, really.

Wayne Messmer, the former public address announcer for the Cubs and a regular performer of the National Anthem at Wrigley Field will sing “God Bless America.”

Between that and Bill Murray, I think we’ve found out the Cubs strategy for dealing with Andrew Miller: icing him if he tries to straddle the 6th and 7th innings.