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NCAA’s Emmert disses minor-league sports; teams diss Emmert

St. Paul SaintsNCAA President Mark Emmert’s statement during a trial — that minor-league teams are not successful and don’t entertain fans — created waves of chatter among pro-baseball front offices, so expect a flood of promos mocking him, with the St. Paul Saints and Lake County Captains eading the way.

Emmert testified in the ongoing Ed O’Bannon trial Thursday, where the former UCLA basketball star is seeking back payments from the NCAA for the use of his image and name, among other things. Really, what’s on trial is the NCAA’s treatment of student-athletes and whether they’re being treated fairly. Emmert’s statement was pretty blunt:

“To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports,” Emmert said, according to the Associated Press. “And we know that in the U.S. minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”

Not very successful. Right. The chatter among front-office types was pretty blunt: how dare you call us unsuccessful!

Here’s the mocking response from the St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association):

ST. PAUL, MN (June 20, 2014) – Since 1993 the St. Paul Saints have provided fans with no memories, tons of depressing times and promotions that have fallen flat. As a matter of fact, no one outside of the Midway area has ever heard of the ballclub. The Saints, will continue their sad existence as they attempt to give fans “the worst experience” in the franchise’s history in hopes of gaining no support from their fans.

On Monday, August 18 the Saints will open their gates, but instead of charging their regular prices of $14 for infield reserved tickets, $9 for outfield reserved and $6 for general admission prices will be $70 for infield reserved, $45 for outfield reserved and $30 for general admission. For those die-hard Saints fans that have been around since the very first season they will receive a scholarship to enter the game for free. However, the scholarships will be taken away from certain fans if they aren’t cheering loud enough after each inning. Fans will also be given the NCAA rule book and must follow each and every regulation or they will not be allowed in.

The Saints are well known for their ushertainers, actors and actresses in character that interacts with fans throughout the game. The Nerd, Karaoke With A Real Japanese Guy, The Chef and the entire ushertainer team will be asked to stay home.

The Saints food and beverage department will serve a limited amount of meals and fans can only consume a restricted amount. Fans can consume bagels with butter, but are not allowed to add cream cheese, pasta will cost $3.83 and crab legs will be on hand.

Finally the Saints reserve the right to use all their fans name and likeness on the video board, in marketing materials and for commercial use, but no fan will be compensated.

For more information please contact the Saints automated answering machine at 651-644-6659.

The Lake County Captains (Low Class A; Midwest League) also announced a promo:

The Lake County Captains Professional Baseball Club, proud members of Minor League Baseball and Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, will be hosting Mark Emmert Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday, July 2.

The event will honor the great fans of Northeast Ohio in a way that only Emmert would find to be acceptable.

All fans who attend the game and do nothing but stay until the third inning will receive credit towards a future Captains game of their choice. In addition to this great benefit of just showing up, given the recent ruling in college athletics that will allow student athletes the opportunity to enjoy consuming food as they need it, four lucky college students will win an All-You-Can-Eat wristband and tickets to a future Captains game.

During the game, fans will be permitted to move from their seat location designated by their ticket, subject to a one inning waiting period, if they desire a different view.

Prizes will be handed out during the game, including “one and done” player basketball cards while others in attendance will receive copies of college football and basketball video games.

Copies of the publication “Undue Process – The NCAA’s Injustice For All” will also be distributed to select attendees.

Lucky participants who take part in the Captains in-game promotions will not be rewarded for their efforts, rather, they will have the satisfaction of just having the opportunity to participate. At the end of the game, a promotional participant will be crowned that evening’s BCS (Big Captains Superstar) Champion via a subjective vote taken by members of the media and a computerized scoring algorithm.

Fans who wear their “generic” college jersey that may or may not correspond to a famous athlete who may attend the same college may be awarded by a visit from a Captains Booster who greets them with a $100 handshake.

The Captains considered offering complimentary tickets to any local student-athlete for the July 2 Mark Emmert Fan Appreciation Night, however, due to regulations related to their amateur status, all local college students who show their college ID at the Classic Park Box Office will instead receive a $2 discount.

Finally, given that he has never attended a Minor League Baseball game, the Captains would like to extend an invitation to Mark Emmert to this evening in his honor. While at his first Minor League Baseball Game, he will have the opportunity to greet some of our hundreds of thousands fans who annually enjoy Classic Park, and he can participate in the Classic Chevy T-Shirt Toss, or Dizzy Bat Race during the game.

We know of at least one other team planning a promo around Emmert’s statement; more surely are on the way.

UPDATE: MiLB President & CEO Pat O’Conner responds to Emmert.


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