Congratulations, Russell Wilson. You are officially a marketing gimmick.
Understand that I say that with the utmost of respect. Fans of the Seattle Seahawks will be forever grateful to Wilson for leading the franchise to their first Super Bowl victory. By all accounts he appears to be a genuinely great guy in addition to his skills on the football field.
It’s just that this Texas Rangers thing seems like it isn’t so much about actual sports.
Yes, Wilson did play baseball in the past and he has experience playing in the minor leagues. However, let’s be honest here. Wilson is not going to play.
I know it. You know it. The Rangers know it. Wilson knows it. At least, we assume that to be true.
Sure, Wilson could theoretically give up an opportunity to lead a football team that has the talent to chase a second straight Lombardi Trophy. He could trade his spot amongst the NFL elite for long bus rides between Double-A ballparks.
Why is he doing this spring training gig? Simple. Because he can.
Wilson can go to spring training. He can lobby to be on Dancing with the Stars. He can promote his sponsors. He can talk about owning a professional sports team someday.
All good projects and goals. All nice things to dabble with in the offseason. He is young and he can afford to enjoy a few days at a baseball field.
Let’s just keep this in perspective. The Rangers can print all the Wilson jersey they want with No.3 on the back. Texas can get away with using Wilson as a short-term marketing gimmick for one basic reason.
He agreed to show up.
Granted, he probably won’t stick around long. He’ll do some stretching, participate in a few drills, field a few grounders, sign some autographs, catch some rays and then…get back to work.
At his real job.
Enjoy the opportunity, Mr. Wilson. Just don’t lead those folks on too much.