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Marcus Stroman: His Brand, His Way

I still remember watching the 2012 MLB Draft (Ya I’m that cool), and seeing Marcus Stroman get drafted 22nd overall going to the Toronto Blue Jays. It amazed me listening to the comments from the analyst in that moment and immediately after. On hand he was praised as one of the most talented and MLB ready players in the draft. The other slapped back, his size is a projection issue, bullpen arm who could come fast. Without fail, he is really talented but kinda short.

I immediately liked Stroman because I totally got him in that moment. While not in reality short for a non athlete, I am the same height from a family of tall boys and I could feel the sting of those comments. It’s a simple comment, an easy go to, some kind of male ego, as if being tall defines a person. The Blue Jays were the other short guy in the room that saw the talent, projection and jumped at the value pick at number 22. You’re welcome fans.

If you know anything about Stroman these comments only fuel him, they give him the confidence to prove himself. He took his motto “height doesn’t measure heart” and created a brand with it. If you do follow him on social media it would be impossible to not notice his brand because it embodies everything he does. He is passionate about HDMH, seemingly half his family works on it. He is very active, he likes or retweets comments and messages from fans who show love to his brand. He is not the quiet or reserved type, he is the make yourself a brand kinda guy. He also uses it to at times when he isn’t so happy about things.

Here is the Stroman primer if you do not follow him. He went to Duke and is darn proud of it. His dad Earl is insanely ripped. He loves his mom and family dearly. #HDMH. Never Panic, Just Manage. He loves to travel. He works out often. He drives a sweet Audi. He just bought a house in Tampa on the water. Had a killer family Thanksgiving which included a private plane (pretty sick). He does a lot of outreaches for kids. He does motivation talks. His buddy Mike Stud is a rapper. They did a song and ate McDonalds. He raps while driving a lot. He also is close friends with teammate (former) Ryan Goins. Upon his sudden Non-Tender last week he tweeted the following:

Clearly he was upset that his good friend Goins was released suddenly without warning. What we do not know is if he was taking a stab at his brother or at the team. It has been assumed he was pointing said comment at the team management. If it was pointed at the team, it was a pretty mild and guarded comment. I don’t pretend to know what the team protocol is when you non-tender a player, but I would assume these things can happen quickly and word gets out. If management was bothered, I am sure they will reach out and have a chat, no big deal.

You would think the story ended there but it did not. Local media needs something to write about in a slow offseason. Enter Sportsnet (owned by Rogers, owners of the Blue Jays) radio host Jeff Blair. I happen to listen to Blair a good amount as he talks a lot of baseball, during the season he does Baseball Central and uses a good percent of his remaining hours on the topic of baseball. He is well known in the city as a long time journalist and sports analysis. I don’t recall him being anti Stroman previously but he is known for being blunt and opinionated which generally makes a good radio host. He also has been not objective to some emotion in the game, he is by no means a cranky old-timer, despite being older and often cranky. Because its a slow time he wrote this “gem” – Marcus Stroman’s Twitter Antics getting Tiresome.

This piece suggested in other words that he shut up as the team owes him nothing and his behaviour is being tolerated only because he is a good player. In all seriousness though, lets not make a story about nothing. Stroman was rightfully upset and you want all players to what, just keep their mouths shut and be good employee robots? Sorry, its 2017 and baseball is not the same as when the Montreal Expos where a big deal. Players are no longer vanilla, they toss bats, they smile and they might even give a guy a stare. Last year Stroman looked at another player and so many people where upset, literally it was a story. For real people, enough with these ridiculous unwritten rules. Baseball players are real people, some are funny, quiet, loud, emotional, jerks, arrogant pricks and come from all corners of the world. The real world has emotion and its about time baseball has some as well.

No one was mad at Stroman as he dominated the WBC, all the while showing tons of emotion. It was the exact opposite, his stock when way up and all around the game people forgot about the “short” guy and realized he is a damn good pitcher. He will shimmy and shake, he will pump his glove, he will stare you down and he will yell with excitement. The game is changing and I love the fact that its okay to play baseball and have fun while doing it. Lets enjoy the fact that we have a young stud, who by the way has back to back 200+ inning seasons in said small reliever body. In reality Stroman is all about doing things his way and for his brand. So keep creating silly narratives because it only will keep him going.

If you don’t like it, go ahead and click “unfollow” because he never panic, just manage!

Also special thanks to my dear wife who attempted to secretly order me a HDMH hat for Christmas.