Like most things, Major League Baseball’s decision to install instant replay now (in the middle of the season) got me thinking about PR. For one, erroneous homerun and fair/foul calls this year were creating a PR problem for MLB. So they addressed it. Quickly.
But, secondly, I think PR practitioners and their clients can learn something about responding to consumer demand and righting a ship that has veered off course.
The convenient (and even acceptable) thing to do would have been to announce a plan to incorporate instant replay next season, as most rule changes are instituted in the offseason. But would that have addressed the PR situation as teams approach the World Series playoffs this year? What if TV replays were to show that a game-deciding call was botched, in the World Series of all things? Disaster.
So sometimes we need to forego the convenient and acceptable in favor of the proactive and practical. Why not institute it now? If it’s the right thing for the league (debatable), why would it be the right thing next year but not this year? If it could be done now, why wait?
I have to commend MLB’s decision to move forward in the manner it has. The league took decisive action and didn’t use bad timing as an excuse. This gives us something to think about, whether in terms of running a business, responding to a crisis, or managing a communications plan.