Friday, September 12, 2008

Corey Hart clearly didn't ace PR training

Apparently Corey Hart thinks the fans at home should be more supportive of the team. Over at Brew Crew Ball, they point out the three reasons many of us often boo seem to have a common denominator:

A) Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost.
B) Bad decisions made by Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost.
C) Negative outcomes immediately stemming from bad decisions made by Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost.

I was going to respond, too, but Adam over at Bugs and Cranks has an awesomely well-written response to Corey:

Dear Mr. Hart,

As you may be aware, the Brewers are in the midst of the late-season malaise that their fans quietly feared all summer. To be sure, your season is far from over. If you can simply win 8 of your last 15, that will place you at 91 wins, a total that has been good enough to win the NL Wild Card in all but two of the twelve 162-game seasons in the Wild Card era. We still think you’ll do it, but now you’ve given us a moment of anguish that cannot be readily dismissed by our collective, inner-Sabermatrician.

You’ve had to put forth less effort than almost any Brewer to be a fan favorite in Wisconsin. As a late-round draft pick who has exceeded expectations throughout your minor and major league career, and as a guy with country roots who is already well into fatherhood, you are someone that Brewers fans from Kenosha to Superior can relate to and admire.

But your comments about Brewers fans have now become a pattern that is impossible for self-respecting and long-suffering Brewers fans to ignore. After the four game sweep at the hands of the Cubs, local media reported that you said “it’s embarrassing that the hometown fans don’t come out more,” and “maybe one day the fans will stick up for us.”

Um, here’s the thing. Chicago is near Milwaukee, the Cubs have a ton of self-described “fans,” and they tend to have more disposable income and vacation days than we do. They bought up a lot of tickets. After you drop three straight at home to a team that you were even with in the standings just days before, some Brewers fans who had planned to attend the fourth, weekday game probably decided not to take a vacation day after all, took a pass on the game, and turned a profit by selling off their tickets to some Cub-loving lawyer from Kirkland & Ellis who feels guilty that he hasn’t done anything with his son all summer, what with the big federal case and all.

Corey, did you miss the news about Milwaukee being the smallest market in the major leagues but somehow still pushing the Brewers franchise over 3 million tickets sold this year for the first time ever? Did you never happen upon the ESPN attendance page showing that Brewers fans have have cracked the top 10 in MLB attendance, surpassing big-market fans of the Astros, Giants, Braves, White Sox, and Rangers? Did you forget who put you in the All-Star game on the last day of balloting, over a guy named David Wright who plays in New York?

Even after your regrettable, excretory moment with a reporter after the Cubs series, we still came out and got behind you, in numbers that even Yount and Molitor never enjoyed.

Which is why your latest comments, with the Crew at 3-8 and you at .205 for the month of September, were so reflexive, thoughtless, and ill-timed. Playing in Philadelphia is more comfortable for you because you didn’t hear anyone booing you? Philly? Where even the songbirds curse? Where the friendliest voice visitors ever hear is the Ben Franklin impersonator outside Independence Hall?

It’s time to have a sit-down with your agent about public relations, and about diminishing your value among the fan-base that supports both your contract and whatever endorsement value you still have.

Brewers fans have waited 26 years to watch their team celebrate a postseason berth. Now that Les Expos have joined the Ensglish-speaking world, no group of fans has waited longer. You should know how long that is, because you were born in 1982. If a few dead-enders with nothing else to do want to boo when you ground out (or, perhaps, when Bill Hall strikes out on three pitches out of the zone), why do you even care? They do not warrant more attention or acknowledgment than the other 40,000+ that have been behind you since your first call-up. You think you’ve been treated unfairly by some fans? Go tell it to Aaron Rodgers, then watch how he handles himself this year.

If you win 8 of your last 15, you will win the Wild Card and be a hero to the people of Wisconsin forever. No other group of fans in baseball could ever show you the kind of love that Crew fans will show you for just one postseason berth. You could get swept in the NLDS (you know, like the 2007 Cubs) and still get a bigger parade than whatever team ends up winning the whole thing.

But, more importantly, even if you don’t make it, the vast majority of us with lives, careers, friends, and dignity will still support you so long as you wear that uniform. So don’t ever lump us in with the a**holes again.

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