Baltimore Orioles: Should public opinion matter?


Should the Baltimore Orioles and other teams take the opinions of fans into account?

The Baltimore Orioles and other teams are now forced to admit that we live in a world driven by social media. I mean that in the sense that anyone and everyone can have an opinion. While that’s always been the case, social media is the avenue that allows anyone and everyone’s opinion to in effect be valid.

There are lots of people who would argue that can’t be a bad thing. Maybe it can’t for all I know. However I also think it’s toeing a very fine and danerous line – be it in sports or any other business. And it’s a line that should concern people – heck, it concerns me.

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  • Late last week a story broke that LSU head football coach Les Miles was coaching his last game for the university on Saturday night. It was unclear how this news came out, however it did. Now let me be very clear; I’m a fan of Miles, and the fact that he was going to be let go was indicative of the cut throat nature of college football. When a guy as accomplished as he is on the hot seat, there’s a problem.

    So I was not in favor of letting him go. However after LSU played and won their game, the AD announced that Miles was going to be retained as head coach next season. Again, I obviously thought that was the right move. However it was the reasoning that really gave me pause and in fact scares me a bit.

    Yesterday morning one of the stories I heard was that LSU had decided to retain Miles in the third quarter of the game Saturday night because public opinion had changed. (The university also would have owed Miles $11 million had they fired him.) First off, are we comfortable with employment decisions on any level being that fickle? The way I read that is if they can decide to retain a man in the third quarter, they can decide to fire a man in the third quarter. And thus any job status of any person could be decided on a whim like that.

    Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Speaking for myself, I’m not comfortable with that. Should a manager like Buck Showalter be forced to accept that he could be fired literally during a game? (That might be a bad example since he worked once for George Steinbrenner.) You get the point I’m sure. And with that said, public opinion?…REALLY?!

    Public opinion should mean somethin – maybe. I’ll grant you the fact that it’s a fairly coy and nebulous line to begin with. Nobody said that university officials were scanning twitter to see what fans were saying about Les Miles. But let’s say that they were for just a moment – is that in and of itself fair?

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    Again in this case I feel that LSU got this one right. But fans should have no say and thus no relevance in hiring and firing decisions when it comes to coaches or anyone. Again, let’s relate this to the real world; if you get poor service at a well-known restaurant and start some sort of twitter campaign about it which catches on, is it really fair that you now have a potential say in whether or not the manager stays or goes?

    That might be a bit extreme, but…is it really? The ability for something that’s seemingly so small to go viral in today’s world is well-documented. Non-stories turn into national headlines so quickly, and given the fickle nature of corporate America they want no part of any sort of controversy. So the scrutinzed person ends up losing his job, and the masses lining the streets with pitch forks and torches feel that there’s once again peace in Gotham. (Mind you, be it in sports or the real world, sometimes people do in fact deserve to get fired. I just disagree with the methodology of how it’s done and why.)

    Some people will say that of course fans should have a say; they’re the customers, right? Yes, that’s a valid point. But they aren’t professionals in that particular field. My Dad owns an auto-repair shop, and has since the late 1970’s. If he listened to public opinion and took the advice of his customers all the time, he’d be doing all of his labor and selling all of his parts at cost. That means little to no profit for the company.  

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Could MLB go to a 154-game schedule?

    The point here is once again that this is toeing a fine line. If all it takes is a social media push to oust or retain someone, I think that the masses are going to start realizing that they have more power than they’ve ever known.