Marlins Hit PR Homer While the Cubs Drop the Ball

Cubs fan Matt Liston created to get Adam
Greenberg one more shot in the Major Leagues.

There are so many crises in the world of public relations, so it’s great to be able to tell a PR feel-good story for a change.

A few weeks back, we wrote about the baseball player Adam Greenberg, a baseball player who—seven years ago— was struck in the head by the first pitch he ever faced in a Major League game and who, at a result, never made it back to the big leagues.

The resulting concussion was a huge setback for Greenberg and he has never been able to regain the form that brought him to the majors in the first place. He officially has never had a Major League at-bat.

The Greenberg story, you may recall, touched the heart of filmmaker and fanatical Cubs fan Matt Liston. Though not a PR pro by profession, Liston did a textbook job of promoting Greenberg’s story and providing Greenberg with the ultimate PR outc


Liston created  a petition on asking any and all ML teams to give Greenberg a chance to have one at bat. He also launched his own a Web site,, to tell Greenberg’s story and to solicit signatures for the petition.

The Chicago Cubs, the team Greenberg was playing for at the time he was hit in the head and a team desperately in need of some positive PR, dropped the ball on this one, refusing to give Greenberg his shot.

Into the void stepped the Miami Marlins, a team desperately in need of some positive PR. The Marlins, a team with a brand new stadium, a huge payroll and a last-place record, made the decision to give Greenberg his shot. With the approval of Commissioner Bud Selig, the Marlins offered Greenberg a one-day contract. He will play against the Mets next Tuesday, facing the likely National League Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey.

The Marlins have already gotten a much-needed shot in the arm. The publicity surrounded the Greenberg signing shows the team has a heart and will most likely result in a larger crowd attending next Tuesday’s game.

“I’m extremely proud to extend this opportunity to Adam,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a news release. “He has earned this chance as his love and passion for the game never diminished, despite his career tragically being cut short.”

This is a brilliant PR move for the Marlins and a horrible one for the Cubs.

The real PR kudos, though, go to Liston. He showed that anyone, with passion, creativity and perseverance, can take a small, but compelling story and bring it to the attention of the world. Even before the Marlins decided to give Greenberg this opportunity, the Greenberg story was featured in dozens of major outlets.

Among other things, Liston got over 18,000 people to sign his position and enlisted the support of current and former MLB players, including Hall of Famer George Brett. Greenberg credited Liston with giving him the will to continue in his quest to make it to the majors.

Follow Jon Gelberg:


1 Comment

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

  • Adam

    It wasn’t as simple as just giving him an at-bat with the big league team. Bringing in Greenberg could have severely hindered the Cubs’ roster flexibility and potentially could have cost them a prospect on their 40 man roster. Selig only allowed the one-day contract after the Cubs deemed it logistically impossible.

    It wasn’t as simple as the Cubs passing up good PR.