The baseball world woke up to the crushing news Sunday morning about Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez passing away. So many wonderful things have been said and written about him, and you should go read them all — he was truly one of the game’s best and brightest.
The sad reality in the passing of Fernandez is that many fans rarely, if ever, got to watch him pitch and are now having to resort to highlights of him pitching. Many baseball fans knew who he was but weren’t entirely familiar with him as a player or person. That’s not their fault. Major League Baseball needs to find ways to showcase all the superstars currently playing and let fans get to know them on a more personal level to help them become household names.
Here are a couple of proposals to help MLB market the game and their players.
- Hard Knocks Baseball Style: The popular training camp show the NFL does each year gives you behind-the-scenes access to what happens during training camp and the preseason games of an organization. This seem like a perfect fit for MLB Network to pick one or two teams each spring training to follow. Let people hear what managers and general managers discuss after workouts and games. Let people see the guy drafted in the 23rd round who is battling for a roster spot. Do features on the stars of each team you are following. How cool would it be to see a day in the life of Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Clayton Kershaw and others? This is a great way to possibly bring in new fans and a new following for certain teams or players.
- Baseball Gameday: This would be similar to ESPN’s College Gameday. Each Saturday morning, have a big setup outside the MLB park for the game of the week. Let fans come out and give a fun atmosphere to get ready for that day’s big game. You can talk about all that’s going on around MLB including postseason, trade rumors, and standings, and show features on different players, managers, or teams each week. The features ESPN runs on College Gameday are great because they allow fans inside the lives of athletes and teams they love. It’s another way to help build your base, make your fans more knowledgeable and hopefully bring in new fans.
Those are a couple of ideas to try to help promote not only baseball, but the great people inside the baseball world who fans might not know much about. I’d love to hear some of your suggestions to help promote not only the stars of the game but MLB as a whole.
After Sunday, I now have a void in my baseball fandom knowing I’ll never get to watch Jose Fernandez pitch again. Through highlights and feature stories he will gain a sea of fans after they witness his amazing talent and see the joy and passion that he played the game with.
It’s time for the world to get to know and follow the stars and superstars that make the game great before it’s too late.
RIP Jose Fernandez.