February 12, 2020

Sports PR expert: Sign stealing, ‘juiced’ balls and scandals in the MLB

boyd-josh Josh Boyd. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe) Download image

WHAT: As pitchers and catchers report this week, Major League Baseball is approaching the 2020 season under a cloud of controversies, from the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal to allegations that the baseballs are “juiced,” or designed in a way that benefits batters.

WHO: It’s not the first time MLB has been faced with rebuilding its reputation, said Josh Boyd, an expert in sports public relations and corporate rhetoric in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University. Boyd, a professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, said that whether they are scandals involving gambling, cheating or performance-enhancing drugs, professional baseball has been there, done that.

QUOTE: “Baseball has more experience recovering from crises like this than any other sport, and one reason is that it’s been around the longest. For good or for ill, baseball pretty much gets to experience every challenge first, and how they deal with it then becomes a pattern that other sports imitate closely or do anything to avoid.”

MORE INFORMATION: Boyd also can discuss:

  • The integrity of the game: “It sounds very old-fashioned, but it still matters because people are paying, in part, to consume something that they believe is not predetermined; that it’s skill versus skill.”
  • Is any publicity good publicity? “Even if baseball knew what was going on the past two to three years, would they have been in a hurry to stop it? The Astros were an exciting team that was winning a lot of games and generating a lot of fan interest.”
  • Technology changing the game: “It’s great to use new technologies and ways that fans can be watching and interacting with their phones and at home. It creates excitement, but it also creates these opportunities for cheating and malfeasance.”

Writer: Joseph Paul, 765-494-9541, paul102@purdue.edu

Source: Josh Boyd, 765-494-3333, boyd@purdue.edu

 

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