By Matt Ouellet
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman visited a Ryerson marketing class to discuss branding and brand management on Tuesday night.
Along with Mark Palmer, the team’s senior manager of corporate partnerships, Stroman shared his knowledge gained from his marketing minor at Duke University. The 25-year-old pitcher is known for his social media presence which, unlike many professional athletes, he maintains himself.
“Honestly I’ve always wanted to talk about marketing and branding,” said Stroman. “It’s something that’s interested me a lot. And obviously my relationship with [the] professor.”
Marketing professor Darryl D’Souza had no issues arranging Stroman’s first visit to Ryerson’s campus. As the owner of Lou Dawg’s restaurant on King Street West, he’s developed a loyal following among Blue Jays players.
Stroman recently released a rap single with artist Mike Stud (with more possibly on the way) and has trademarked the phrase “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart,” a comment on his status as one of the shortest pitchers in Major League Baseball. In addition, Stroman’s interest in fashion has made him a social media favorite.
“I think is a huge tool that a lot of athletes don’t use,” said Stroman, “and I think it’s something that allows them to reach out connect with fans. Obviously baseball’s my number one concern, but I have a lot of time to get to these things; I’m not afraid to explore.”
The pitcher believes that sharing his wide range of interests with fans can only help to bring young fans to a sport with an increasingly aging fan base. According to ESPN, the median age among MLB fans is 53, a troubling number compared to other leagues like the NBA, which has a median age of 37.
“I feel like we could get to a point where young kids are excited to come to the ballpark each and every day because they’ve associated with the brand that [Washington Nationals outfielder] Bryce Harper built,” said Stroman. “I think that’s doing everything they can to build a better audience.”