Major League Baseball’s biggest week has arrived! The Houston Astros hosted the Atlanta Baseball Team for Game 1 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Commissioner Rob Manfred got the championship series started on a sour note by characterizing the National League champion Atlanta franchise’s culturally appropriative branding, which incorporates the racist “tomahawk chop” cheer, as a marketing strategy.
More Manfred on the Braves name: "We don’t market our game on a nationwide basis. Ours is an everyday game. You’ve gotta sell tickets every single day to the fans in that market. And there are all sorts of differences between the regions in terms of how the teams are marketed.”
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 26, 2021
Is MLB willing to tolerate racism if it sells tickets? Sure sounds like that’s what Rob is saying here.
The Cleveland franchise dropped the Chief Wahoo mascot, and eventually announced a name change, following years of pressure and criticism. Some of this pressure even came from Commissioner Manfred himself, although he denies awarding the 2019 All-Star Game to Cleveland in exchange for discontinuing the use of Wahoo. Why hasn’t Manfred used his leverage on the Atlanta franchise?
As MLB’s core fanbase ages and team owners weather liquidity crunches resulting from COVID-19 pandemic health measures, it’s also noteworthy that the Commissioner has admitted that the league is uninterested in developing a national marketing strategy for the national pastime.
It’s a difficult feat to sound the call of “play ball!” when your foot is firmly inserted in your mouth.
Atlanta leads series 1-0
Jorge Soler made his mark on World Series history by drilling a leadoff homer into the left field seats, the first time this has occurred in the initial plate appearance of the Fall Classic.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 27, 2021
Soler finished the game 2-5 with one run scored and two RBI.
Atlanta added one more run in the inning on Austin Riley‘s RBI double.
Atlanta starter Charlie Morton exited the game in the bottom of the 3rd. It was later announced that he had suffered a broken fibula in the 2nd inning after Yuli Gurriel‘s ground ball deflected off his right leg.
Braves announce Game 1 starter Charlie Morton will miss the remainder of the World Series with a right fibula fracture. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training in 2022. https://t.co/XZ38RyEhDg pic.twitter.com/UX09e1Dq71
— MLB (@MLB) October 27, 2021
This will be a major loss for Atlanta if the series is extended past four games. It would be in their best interest to get a deep outing from Game 2 starter Max Fried and end the series as quickly as possible.
The Astros were unable to overcome the early deficit, and the visitors cruised to a Game 1 victory.
Game 2 will air from Houston at 8:09 PM on Wednesday and offers a matchup between Fried (regular season – 14-7, 3.04 ERA; postseason – 1-1, 3.78 ERA) and JosÃ© Urquidy (regular season – 8-3, 3.62 ERA; postseason – 0-1, 27.00 ERA).