Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MLB All Star Game Review

A week later, I'm looking back on the 2008 MLB All Star Game and am happy the whole thing is over. I am very pleased the game turned out so well, because everything else felt like a rip off. The "Fan Fest" had very little content that wasn't an ad, even though it cost $30 to get in. The tickets were priced exorbitantly, but the parade was pretty excellent.

More than any other time since I've been a baseball fan, MLB is marketing very aggressively and I think I've had enough. And I'm a fan of marketing! I like logos, street teams, contests, events, promo items AND the game of baseball, so to have been pushed to far is really saying something.

I currently go to games, watch them on cable tv, have an online subscription for MLB.TV I am usually asked to upgrade, play fantasy baseball w/my friends and horde memorabilia. I have stopped buying the swag, but that's another post!

The thing that got me was the "MLB Insider's Club," an official fan club licensed by MLB that focuses on a publication they will create from fan's written contributions. Of course they will get a credit towards MLB merch if their material is used. This magazine sinfully emulates many of the features we love about Baseball Digest, such as letters (MLB just stole the title -- "The Fans Speak Out" outright), history, "The Game I'll Never Forget," "Quick Quiz" and its general perspective on the game. "Warm Up Tosses" is something I look forward to reading.

Baseball Digest is down to 8 issues per year and I believe MLB should buy it and make it the official (old) fan's journal. The history of the game is its focal point, so everyone who goes to the Hall of Fame should get a subscription included in their admission price. I don't know why Baseball Digest is unable to market effectively (it may have just been a way to sell souvenirs all these years -- look at their ads). Are Golf Digest and their other publications suffering too?

MLB Insider Club is "ONLY $2 a month!" That's $24 per year in my book, more than enough to treat yourself to a Baseball Digest subscription and still have enough for a soda.


Anonymous said...

Hey man,

I just called MLB and they never heard of MLB Insiders Club. I was about to send off my bank details to, of all places Minnetonka MN, then I thought "wouldn't any MLB offer come via email and be based in NYC?"

I let them know and they confirmed this is not the real deal and has nothing to do with them. Just fyi.


earbender said...

Thanks for your comment Rob. I don't know what the people on the phone told you, but at the bottom of the letter from the MLB Insiders Club, it says "This MLB Insiders Club offer and the benefits of membership are managed by North American Membership Group, Inc., a licensee of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc."

Anonymous said...

I just received this offer packet in the mail, and I was suspicious too . . .even though it claims that it is affiliated w/ MLB, the language isn't quite right. .. plus every MLB logo (with the batter's silouette and ball) fails to have the requisite Registered trademark symbol next to it.

Steve said...

Received the package today. It looks pretty good. As I read thru the letter, I mentally debated how much the fees/dues would be? When I saw $24/year, I thought it was near reasonable. An attachment shows 4 publications for members, including a World Series program. In the letter, I find I get "an opportunity to purchase" the WS program. They are just a little too sneaky to get my money.

Anonymous said...

I got the envelope chocked full-o-junk in the mail yesterday myself. I was suspicious as well, like the other people who commented.

When I went online to see if there was more info on this "MLB Insiders Club", a search on Google brought up much of nothing. In fact, this blogger post came up first... then there was some eBay auction, where some poor soul who gave them his money was trying to auction off the magazine and fan guide like some kind of collectibles... but what interested me the most was an article I found on a direct marketing/mailing news site that mentioned the "Insiders Club" as being managed (perhaps) by a company called "Names and Addresses Inc". I knew then, without looking them up, that this was just pure junk. (you can read that for yourself here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/6kujay and come to your own conclusions ...I made it a tiny URL so it would fit on here)

I wonder how they got my info. I'm a subscriber to The Sporting News, and am hoping that's not how they got my info. However, other than that I'm not sure. If it is, I'm definitely not keeping my subscription.

Oh well, this is getting shredded and trashed. I'll just keep my $24 and opportunities to purchase other stuff to myself, thank you.

steve said...

Hmm. I just started with Sporting News magazine, and so far, I think I have heard from the NRA, Field & Stream and now the fine folks from MLB Insider. Post #4 above is mine.

Looks liks a slimey offer/company..

Anonymous said...

I also have just started with Sporting News, and have gotten this packet. I called Sporting News and it is legit. I'll try my luck:)

theroundrobin said...

Thought you'd like to know that I received my invoice dated 8/1 with a due date of 9/29/08, for an amount of only $6 per year, $12 for 2 years or $18 for 3 years. It was a "Thank You" Dues Rate - Save 50%. A "Thank you" apparently for letting them know I was interested in what they were coming up with from a letter I got from them several months agao. Appears people are catching on and it's their last gasp effort to get all the $ they can. Wonder if there'd even be a publication of the magazine for 3 years. Hmmm.

Now, I do remember getting a letter a few months ago about this new "launching" and asking for those that would be interested to answer a few basic questions and that we would be contacted upon launch. Apparently some of you have already seen a magazine from them, but I have not. Nevertheless, I've gotten this 50% off Membership offer which still includes the magazine, a Stadium blanket w/ your favorite team's logo, an MLB All-Star Game Program Custom Edition ("custom" probably the key word) and an MLB Fan Guide, whatever that is. Other "opportunities" are "included." All looking a little too "fishy" for me, especially after I examined the logo again per "anonymous."

I don't see on this invoice what "earbender" said was on the bottom of his letter. It may have been on the original letter, but it's not on the invoice.

Thought it was interesting what anonymous added w/ the "address list" aspect of MLB Insider Club. I have another idea how the MLB Insider got their addresses to send out offers. I think it's from signing up for the "Plus" fantasy baseball league thru Yahoo. One always gets a trial subscription to SI whenever the league your in goes "Plus." Of course, after the SI trial period is over, you get an invoice w/ warnings the your subscription is expiring. In reality, ANY baseball publication to which we subscribe, may be selling our names/addresses to anybody else w/ a baseball publishing idea. Who knows? So do we cancel subscriptions to all those b/c of it, or stay on our toes for these who may be suspect? Actually, for only $6, I'm going to go ahead and subscribe for 1 year just to see what I get. MAYBE it will be worth it.

aobrien said...

I just called MLB headquarters (212) 931-7800 to verify MLB Insiders Club which I signed up for for three years. According to the the person I spoke with MLB Insiders Club is a licensee of Major League Baseball Properties So it appears they are safe and have a pretty good deal going hopefully they can generate enough money to keep them going.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a legit company that does these kind of clubs for other companies, including the PGA.



Anonymous said...

Now I'm completely confused. :/

But due to the fact there seem to be few mixed thoughts here, I don't think I'll bother.

I get the feeling if MLB wanted to do something like this, they'd make a big announcement and put it out over the airwaves, not kinda just let it slip out.

But I'm certainly intrigued how they got my details and if MLB (as I have MLB.TV) are selling details on. That would suck.

I think I'll give MLB a call and also the "Insiders Club" and get it sorted out for once and for all.

Thanks for all the comments!


earbender said...

I never said it was illegitimate I just said it was an unnecessary ripoff, especially since I happen to love Baseball Digest, which seems to be where they got most of their feature ideas from.

BB Digest is essential reading to me and it feels like MLB Insider's Club is launching to the detriment of a magazine already cutting issues.

That MLB is backing it really irritates me as I feel they should be helping BB Digest instead of speeding its decline.

I say, save the money and please use it to subscribe to Baseball Digest!

Thanks to all who commented (or still may).

Anonymous said...

I just got the premiere issue today...and the stories were from the beginning of the season!! It's september 30th now. That does not bode well with me.

brady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stuartwill said...

magazine is good reading blanket took 4 months today I was sent a letter thanking me for joining the lifetime membership club when I told them no 2 months ago charge would be 27.00 monthly for a year
like others I think they got my name from sporting news I subscribe too glad I looked at these reviews may have saved me from getting ripped off

Subwayguy98 said...

This is not MLB. They never claim to be MLB.This is a club-not unlike any other organization. You become a member and pay your dues. You can opt for lifetime membership by paying the lifetime membership fee or you can opt to remain a month to month member. I joined and I am more than happy with it.
As for Baseball digest...I think that MLB should take it over or help Century finance it. The same goes for Football, Basketball and the other digests they publish.

Anonymous said...

I have already signed up for the lifetime mebership and i'm happy with it. And if MLB didn't support it, why would htey send out an email urging MLB Fans to join the MLB Insiders CLub?

Anonymous said...

Don't pay the $24, you'll be sorry. The "insiders club" magazine is a joke. I'm pretty sure by "Insider" they are referring to the hot dog vendor or maybe one of the ushers. Save your money and get your "Insider" information from some other source. I've gotten more "Special Offers" and "Rebate Certificates" than I have magazines. Oh, they'll make sure the "Trial Magazine" they send you is worthy. But once you pay, you'll see that they are the biggest joke, and unfortunately it'll be on you.

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Anonymous said...

I am now an MLB Insider Life Member and I love it! I get the magazine. I got a Jacket, a Blanket and a whole bunch of other goodies. $24 in my book is worth it. Better than Publishers Clearing House. No one ever really wins that!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, i'm not even a baseball fan, I subscribed to sporting news because my son who is to young to purchase, loves the game and anything to do with it, that's the only way they could have gotten my info, lol. I'm not saying is a good or bad thing, I am only posting this for all you guys that have sporting news and don't know how insider's club got your info. That's the only sporting anything I'm affiliated to and they called me a baseball fan! That being said, in my humble opinion if that's the way they have my info for marketing purposes, it's called outreach and it's not really hurting anyone, it's your decision to join or not, and if you do and don't like what you purchased, well it's a risk you took and you learned from. i don't think anyone is doing money back guarantee anymore plus anything is only worth what you are willing to pay for it

matthew said...

hey i have had this magazine since about a year ago. I love this magazine and it is very lagit. I also get baseball digest and read boh of them. I think they are equally good. I did turn down the lifetime member thing too. Also the books they offer you are great even thouh they are ten bucks. But hey, I would spend 20 bucks on books of these quality at books-a-million.