Mary Jane Watson will coach third base

After an unexpected break in the action, I now return you to my regularly scheduled outrage. Thank you for being patient.


This news article from disturbs me. I’ve written about my love of baseball. Enough so that I suspect everyone can decipher how I’m going to feel about this prospect: (I’m a level-headed person, so I’m not reacting just to react. Seriously. Stop laughing.)

As part of a marketing alliance between Major League Baseball Properties, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, webbed logos of the upcoming film “Spider-Man 2” will appear on bases and on-deck circles in 15 stadiums of teams playing host to interleague games June 11-13.

I enjoyed Spider-Man. I’ve seen previews of Spider-Man 2 and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it. However, I’ve also been to baseball games and I know I enjoy that without advertisements on the bases.

There are ads all around stadiums. Stadium names are ads. Every empty space in the stadium has a logo slapped on it. There are even ads on the outfield walls. It’s no secret that sports fans are saturated with information overload to the point of ignoring the advertising. That doesn’t mean Major League Baseball should inundate us with more logos so that we “participate” as consumers.

The announcement Wednesday comes a day after presidential candidate Ralph Nader called the placement of Ricoh logos on the uniform and helmets of players during the season-opening series between the Yankees and Devil Rays in Tokyo “a greedy new low.”

I thought the same thing when I watched the season-opening series from Tokyo. I didn’t wake up at 5am to see logos on the players’ uniforms. I don’t want to see logos when I watch Jim Thome touch second base on a home run trot. Major League Baseabll isn’t Nascar. There has to be some sanctity to the history of the game. But all is not lost… Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball’s president and chief operating officer, attempted to ease my fears.

“This is not a step toward wallpapering the ballpark.”

I don’t believe that. This is just the next step and any reasonable person has to assume that.

Never fret, though, because Mr. DuPuy has the perfect response to the purists:

“This does nothing to impact the play of the game,” DuPuy said. “The base doesn’t know that it has a corporate name on it, nor does the foot that hits the base.”

But the dollar wins every vote between purity and prosperity. It’s easiest to think short-term, with no thought given to respecting the game, respecting the players, and respecting the fans. This makes sense, thanks to the $100,000+ that teams like the Yankees and Red Sox will receive. They buy Alex Rodriquez, so I have to see Spider-Man 2 while eating my $4.50 fries and $3.50 bottle of water.

Finally, consider this logical quote from Geoffrey Ammer, president of worldwide marketing for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group:

“This is the perfect alliance between two quintessential national pastimes — baseball and movie-going.”

I know whenever I think of the Phillies, my next thought is “Holy crap! I can’t wait to go to the movies!” If the “perfect alliance” really wants to do something interesting, put video screens in the back of seats and show movies during the game. Wait, nix that idea. With seatback video screens, we’ll just get 3 hours of commercials. Instead, I think I’ll just watch the game.

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