Major League Baseball seemed determined to profit off the Memorial Day brawl that centered around Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper and San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. But due to a last-minute change of heart that will not be the case.
As the Washington Post reported, Strickland’s game-worn jersey and cap from that fateful day were up for auction on MLB.com. However, just hours before the bidding was to close on Wednesday night, the league wisely decided to close the auction down rather than reap any profits from a moment they couldn’t afford to promote or encourage.
Strickland was hit with a six-game suspension for his actions, which stemmed from a series of interactions that occurred way back during the 2014 postseason. He’s since filed an appeal that won’t be heard by the league until June 13. Strickland is holding out hope for a reduced punishment after Harper’s original four-game suspension was reduced to three games.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 14 bids had been placed bringing the jersey’s price up to $1,500. But just as quickly as many people noticed it was there, it was gone.
MLB taking down the Hunter Strickland off the auction block. https://t.co/TGhfimTZ7V
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 8, 2017
Fans and writers alike questioned the league’s motive and its wisdom to promote this item. Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post, which notes the jersey’s description.
Strickland’s jersey, as you might imagine, is by far the most coveted game-used Giants jersey from last Monday’s game. The item listing notes that “Strickland was ejected from the game after fighting with Bryce Harper.” An MLB Auctions spokesperson said that proceeds from the auction will go to the team.
The awkwardness might have been alleviated somewhat if the Giants decided to pay those proceeds forward to a worthy cause. Given that the uniforms were specific to Memorial Day, that gesture would make even more sense. But it still would have come across as an ill-advised marketing decision.
It’s also worth noting here that the Nationals jerseys from that game never made it to the auction block. There were definitely some mixed signals being sent, but it appears the league is doing its best to clear those up.
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