If you follow MLB on Facebook, you may have noticed that the above picture was posted by their account at about 9 am this morning. There is nothing new about making light of baseball teams, but I would expect to see this type of thing on a specific fan site, not posted and endorsed by MLB itself. Yes, as Yankees fans, the Rays are our AL East rival and we spend much of the season rooting against them. But when the league itself starts making fun of teams, effectively rooting against them, things have gone too far. And this isn’t an isolated occurrence – MLB posted this picture following the Red Sox collapse:
Since when is MLB in the business of mocking its own teams? Does MLB think that the Rays, Red Sox, and their fans don’t already feel bad enough? Or does MLB just not care?
If you’re tempted to think this is just a harmless joke, ask yourself this: Would MLB have done the same to the Yankees? The Phillies? There doesn’t appear to be a “movie poster” commemorating the Braves’ collapse, so perhaps it’s just the AL East that is being targeted. Regardless, it needs to stop.
Some Facebook commenters have stated that they are OK with such posters so long as MLB is consistent and does one for each team. But the exclusion of the Braves has already put a hole in that caveat. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but to me it seems that the Rays (along with the A’s) are one of a small number of teams that MLB will hype and exploit when it benefits MLB, but relegate to second-best the rest of the time. As for the Red Sox poster, well I have no explanation for that other than poor taste.
MLB’s job is not to provide baseball-related comedy; leave that to the fan sites. MLB’s job is to promote the game of baseball, and the Rays and Red Sox are as much a part of MLB’s product as any of the other 28 teams. There is a long list of things MLB needs to be doing (and it seems to get longer by the day), but mocking its own teams and their fans is not one of them.