By McKenzie Whiteman
Being the big Cleveland Browns fan that I am, I know firsthand what happens to fans that are brave enough to show up to a game wearing a an opposing team’s jersey. While I do respect their bravery and dedication to their team, you can’t help but wonder if they know the consequences they undoubtedly have coming. It’s always been this way. Show up to game wearing the enemy’s apparel, get ready for drinks to be thrown, violent words to be exchanged, and you better think twice about standing up and clapping with a sea of glaring eyes around you. Wearing a controversial jersey typically just goes to the extent of offending the home team fans, however I never thought this type of attire would ever cause front office personnel to take action. After all, it is supposed to be for the love of the game…right?
This World Series took on this concept, but with a twist. If you watched Game 1 of the World Series you HAD to have seen the bright orange shirt in the sea of royal blue behind the backstop. Now the orange was not that of the San Francisco Giants, but of a jersey baring the Miami Marlins logo. After doing more digging I found that Miami lawyer, Laurence Leavy, is an avid baseball fan and had spent over $8,000 in post-season tickets, totally disregarding the fact that the Marlins were nowhere near making it to the playoffs. However, this did bring about an interesting controversy.
Kansas City staff was so adornment about trying to set a certain scene for the country. They obviously didn’t want him sticking out like a sore thumb where the media captures the majority of its broadcast. They offered Leavy everything from a private suite to World Series apparel, but were declined on every offer. Instead of letting a true fan enjoy the year’s two best teams in baseball, they were distracted by trying to give off a persona that Leavy’s apparel obviously wasn’t fitting into. It wasn’t the person himself…it was simply his clothing, something that visually affected how the Royals organization wanted the nation to view their environment. It seems as if they wanted to depict an atmosphere where dedicated Royals fans flocked to in order to support the once lowly regarded team in their nearly undefeated quest for the World Series title. But at what point do organizations worry too much about “setting the scene” and not nearly enough about the love of the game?
While I agree it’s important for organizations to create a certain atmosphere, front offices are now going to extreme lengths in order for society to view them a certain way. As depicted by this recent event, they’re trying to persuade fans to take different action in order to achieve the atmosphere that they want to portray. I’m conflicted as to whether this action by the front office was ethical or not. It’s something, however, that should be in the back of an organization’s mind…when is it less about public relations and atmosphere and more about the pure love of the game? I realize that the atmosphere they create is what encourages profits, but it’s something to be evaluated.