WASHINGTON — MLB.com is a very strange place when it comes to the Memorial Day Meltdown between Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland.
On the one hand, MLB does not condone fighting and moved swiftly to suspend both players involved in the brawl.
On the other hand, MLB.com’s content team didn’t miss out on one of the most clickable stories of the day. Video of the brawl was up on MLB.com in record time and undoubtedly drew lots of traffic.
In fact, MLB.com went all in on the story, uploading 22 videos over the ensuing 72 hours, focusing on every angle of the fight, from the history between the teams to postgame reaction from the players, managers, teammates, and every MLB analyst with a pulse.
Regardless of whether or not this brawl violated MLB rules, it was big business for the league.
Apparently, though, MLB draws the line when it comes to capitalizing for charity. The special Memorial Day jerseys were auctioned on Auctions.MLB.com after the game, and Strickland’s jersey was initially posted with a description reading “San Francisco Giants – Game-Used Memorial Day Jersey – Hunter Strickland #60 – Worn May 27-29 – Ejected from the game after fighting with Bryce Harper – (size 48).”
If that description doesn’t offend you, then perhaps it should.
With two hours left in the auction, and bids already more than $1,500, MLB removed the item, closed the auction, and killed the link. Then, just as abruptly, MLB.com brought the item back online with a new description that omits any mention of fighting or Bryce Harper.
Now, instead of raising $1,500 for charity, the jersey had a sold price of $200 and a bizarre number of bids: zero. This seems improbable.
Perhaps someone in the MLB offices panicked about the description and had the item removed, including all bids. Perhaps in another snap decision, the item’s page was returned with a low winning bid and no actual bids on the items.
Just to be clear, fighting in MLB is bad. Capitalizing with 22 videos on the topic is good. But selling jerseys for charity that mention the fight is bad.
Just so we’re clear.