The Chicago Cubs and a Reflection on the World and Society Today

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Let’s leave the current on-field performance of the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers to those communicators who get paid — and know a lot more than I do about sports — to offer commentary.

Rest assured Mr. Kaminsky, your childish actions may come back to haunt you.

Rest assured Mr. Kaminsky, your childish actions may come back to haunt you.

As of this writing, the Cubs are down two games to one, have been shut out the past two games and appear to have lost heart and how to win. But there’s a game tonight!

Anyway, this post will focus more on the state of our world and society today, rather than Chicago’s National League baseball franchise.  What prompted this post is an article from the Redeye, a free tabloid published by the Chicago Tribune Media Group and geared to the Millennial demographic.

The article centers on a “fan” of the Chicago White Sox, a Chicago area native named Frank Kaminsky, who is taking his self-professed hatred of the Cubs to an extreme, childish level. As noted in this Redeye piece published today, Mr. Kaminsky — a professional basketball player with the Charlotte Hornets — promises to wear a custom-made Cubs jersey bearing the name of a man who was never a Cubs player until the team is eliminated from the playoffs.

Providing of course, that happens.

As noted in the Redeye piece: “It’s my stance, how I feel about the Cubs this year. I don’t want them to win.” He also has launched an “attack” of sorts in the Twittersphere.

So what do Mr. Kaminsky’s actions have to do with the much larger perspective?

It’s a demonstration of a lot of things that are wrong with the world today.  Here are a few:

  • It’s Okay, No Cool, to Hate. Rarely a day goes by when we don’t hear of an atrocity in war-torn places overseas and in my home city of Chicago. To me, it’s hate that drives people to kill and hurt others. Why should hate be part of sports? Because, apparently to some, it’s appropriate and it’s become part of “cheering on” your team.
  • The “Power” of the Digital Arena. This blog, is, of course, part of modern online communications. I’ve published what I believe are informative, fair and ethical posts.  Others use the digital arena to spread lies and inflame hatred.
  • The Ability to Change the Conversation.  What’s happening in baseball today? The NLCS and the ALCS. With garbage news like Mr. Kaminsky’s rants, part of the focus of real sports news gets mixed up with nonsense that’s taking place off the field of play.
  • Continue to Bash Bartman. I can’t believe that anyone with any sense of scruples would continue to slander Steve Bartman, a fan who tried to catch a foul ball in a game 13 years ago. He did nothing wrong, but weak, petty cowards still hold him responsible for a Cubs collapse.

Cub fans and many in Chicago fly the “W” flag to promote and support the team.  So, fly the “L” flag Mr. Kaminsky, if you want.

But in my mind you’re the loser.


So Just What Do We “Public Relate?”

Several years ago, my cousin’s wife asked me what I did to make money. I told her I was a public relations professional.

“So, what do you public relate?” she asked. I never heard the practice called that before or used as a verb. The phrase stuck with me. But as I think about her question further, I’ve come to the realization that public relations is, indeed, one of the most misunderstood professions in the modern world, aside perhaps from the masterminds who create investment tools like financial derivatives, which are only known to a handful of very rich Wall Street types. The classic definition — building mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics — often gets lost or very distorted, especially by those who equate “good PR” with color photos in “People” and coverage on TMZ. To pure publicists out there, your job is to get clients covered in the media, and it’s an honorable pursuit; but it doesn’t encompass — in most cases — a long-term strategy.

In my current job search, I’m doing the perfunctory: Networking with everyone from long-term friends/colleagues to the mail lady. Opportunities will surface through expanding my existing network and taking advantage of who knows whom. But I’ve also registered for various online job sites, because, who knows: Somebody gets jobs posted.

It’s humorous and somewhat disturbing to see “public relations” show up on keyword searches for positions involving fielding inbound calls or selling insurance. True, these jobs and others do involve dealing with the “public” on a regular basis. But they do not fit the definition of a public relations professional. Wonder when the world will relate?