NCAA president Mark Emmert took aim at minor league sports while testifying on the witness stand last week in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust trial, and now one minor league organization is firing back. Fortunately, no organization is capable of manufacturing spur-of-the-moment promotion and themes the way minor league baseball teams do.
The single A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Lake County Captains, will host a “Mark Emmert Appreciate Night” on July 2. The special night is in response to a comment made during the trial last week while discussing the idea of paying student-athletes to play college sports. In explaining his rationale, Emmert suggested minor league sports “aren’t very successful.”
“To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports,” Emmert said Thursday. “And we know that in the U.S. minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”
So how does one go about planning a special “Mark Emmert Appreciation Night?” The Lake County Captains have it all planned out, and it is fantastic. For example, all fans will be allowed to transfer to a different seat subject to a one inning waiting period. Fans who participate in special promotions will not be rewarded with prizes but will have the satisfaction of having participated. The mascot “may or may not” be floating around the stadium giving $100 handshakes to any fan wearing a generic college jersey that may or may not resemble a current player.
There is plenty more planned by the minor league baseball team. The lesson here is never poke a stick at a minor league sports team.