By: Kurt Snyder
I guess people show their age when they discuss topics like character versus entertainment. Fans of today, the young fans, the fans all of sports need to draw to continue to advance their games, don’t think the same way as fans who have been watching for 40+ years. They demand more than just the game. They demand continuous entertainment.
In the height of the electronic age, music has never been bigger. Sure, music is still played on the radio, but you have more control over your music listening options than you ever had before. Automotive companies are all wisely catering to the new age by offering Wifi, satellite radio and the option to listen to your own music through any source.
You no longer need a radio and you know longer need to wait for advertising to end to resume your music listening pleasure. You can listen to music on your phone or your iPad. You can load your own music from iTunes or you can subscribe to Spotify or Pandora. The options are endless.
So music is woven into the fabric of people. It always has been. But maybe not like today. Music has become a large presence in sports. It’s played during timeouts and between innings and within the last 10 years, the “ever popular” walk up songs have emerged.
Baseball players before every season choose the song or songs they would like played when they come to bat. It seems silly and unnecessary. But fans love it. Today’s fans love it. And these are the fans you need to please, so I can see why this kind of entertainment has continued.
But it’s time for teams to reign in their players and get a little control over what music they are choosing. If you want to think about your young fans, you must continue to think about the very young, the kids, as well.
Walk up music has reached a new low as Bryce Harper introduced his new “song” in the form of rapper J. Cole’s “gem,” G.O.M.D. You can Google it, but I don’t recommend it. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Now I am no angel, but I cringe when fans around me throw around the F-bomb with no regard for children in attendance. But you do take a chance as parents that your kids are going to hear some surly language at a sporting event. Whether it’s profanity or just inappropriate talk in a family atmosphere, it’s difficult to control. But I would hope you could be relatively comfortable knowing that the walk up music chosen by a player would not be offensive. Bryce Harper has decided he would rather it be offensive.
This is not the first time this year I have chosen Bryce as a topic of discussion. https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-face-of-the-game/.
He is falling down my list of desirable baseball players. Already this season, he’s called baseball boring and describes it as a sport that does not allow him to express himself. And you know what? It looks like baseball needs to do a better job of suppressing his expression. He obviously needs it.
How on earth can the Washington Nationals allow even the slightest portion of a song with that kind of message? Kids are very inquisitive and I am sure many parents have cringed in response to their son’s or daughter’s question about what that song is or means.
I scanned all over the web for any amount of disdain over this latest Bryce Harper cry for attention. You could count on one hand how many writers spent more than 1 or 2 paragraphs on the topic. Nobody wants to touch it. Well, in my eyes, it needs much more mention.
There is so much great music that has been written over the course of history, so many great songs; there are so many great music genres. The options are endless for players in considering their “all important” walk up music.
But Bryce Harper has decided that in order to market himself better in America, he needs to draw negative attention. And sadly, it’s been a very successful approach for many athletes and entertainers. Who’s more popular? The squeaky clean or the brash and controversial? Sadly it’s the latter.
Bryce Harper is a great ballplayer. One of the best in baseball. But even if affordable (not likely), Al Avila has made it clear that good character will be a consideration for future Tigers, whether through free agency, trade or the draft. Going forward, it will be considered part of the “Tigers Way.”
Knowing that, you can count on Bryce Harper never being a Tiger. His act plays just fine somewhere else.