MLB’s “Let the kids play” Campaign Has Not Been Embraced by All, and it is a Problem

Back in October Ken Griffey Jr. narrated MLB’s new motto “Let the kids play.” The commercial references multiple unwritten rules of baseball such as “Don’t stop and stare…. Don’t flip your bat…. No celebrating, keep your head down.” while many of the top players in the game showcased raw emotion.
It was a brilliant marketing campaign by the league as they try to attract the younger audience. The game needs to promote their stars, allow players to show their personalities, and allow for celebrations in the grandest of moments.

As Griffey Jr. says “No more talk,” in the commercial, you hear old commentary in the background “You don’t have to do that…. That’s something you do not do in baseball.” All things Griffey himself heard as a teenager back in the ’90s for simply wearing his cap backwards for batting practice. The commercial ends with “Its a new world,” but it is not completely true. Though the game has certainly became more lenient, some of those unwritten rules remain to run the game today.

And that is where the issue lies with the MLB’s campaign to “let the kids play.” Those unwritten rules reared their ugly head just 18 games into the regular season, nipping “let the kids play” in the butt, as White Sox Tim Anderson got drilled with a fastball after hitting a monster homerun which was followed by an enthusiastic bat flip.

The MLB backed Anderson via their official twitter account with a simple tweet.

The quotes by Anderson are exactly what the MLB is looking for. They want the players to display their personalities, and have fun. What the MLB ignored however was how the Kansas City Royals handled the situation. If as a league you are pushing for the “pimpin homeruns,” aggressive bat flips, and celebrations, then you have to discipline the pitchers who proceed to throw hitters because their feelings got hurt. Here is an idea, suspend the pitcher for an extended period of time, and let tell them to do their job better and not serve up pitcher that get smashed 450 feet.

If the MLB continues to push the let the kids play campaign without enforcing players to change their retaliation ways, then players will get hit more frequently, resulting in more brawls and injures, which will then result in suffocating the “let the kids play” movement. Just an idea, suspend the pitcher for an extended period of time, and let tell them to do their job better and not serve up pitcher that get smashed 450 feet.

In the end, I get it. The exuberant showboating isn’t for everyone. I don’t expect the Mike Trout’s and Aaron Judges to all of a sudden turn into Yasiel Puig and Bryce Harper. The MLB nor I expect players to act out of character to promote the sport, but we have to allow those who are vibrant to be who they are. Allow the Puig tongue, Jose Bautista Bat flips, Luis Severino fist pump, and Javy Baez flashy tags. Allow it all without having them having to worry about a 100 MHP fastball drilling them in the rib cage or even worse their heads. It will take time for sure, but the MLB can expedite the process by enforcing penalties to those rouge pitchers who tend to head hunt every time their feelings are hurt.

So let the kids play, after all it is a kids game at heart.

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