Friday, January 25, 2008

Major League Baseball (brought to you by the highest bidder)

As Chicago is experiencing a 40-degree temperature drop today, I tried to warm myself with some news about my favorite summer pastime. Unfortunately, these five items just left me feeling even colder.

1. Welcome to Wal-Mart Field, Home of the Chicago Cubs
I know this is old news, but I have to address it. I don't care how much blood money Sam Zell could acquire by selling the Wrigley Field naming rights, that is something you don't even think about considering. Doesn't he understand the level of passion inherent in Cubs fan nation? He is lighting a match next to a powder keg by merely hinting at such an atrocity. When the Tribune Company owned the Cubs, they began the slippery slope of forsaking history for profitability by installing Under Armour ads in the outfield, adding more seats, creating a center field stadium club and whipping up various other ploys to squeeze a few more cents out of the Friendly Confines. But renaming the place? Even if all the original Wrigley trappings went unchanged--the manual scoreboard, the ivy walls, the familiar red and white marquee--it would still be morally wrong for the Cubs to cross the foul lines in a place that's no longer called Wrigley Field. (Plus, I can't imagine that a company would buy the stadium without plastering its wretched logo all over the field.) Don't bait us, Mr. Zell. The fans are your meal ticket. So why do I feel so powerless right now?

Be Alert For Product Placement
2. The Wrigleyville Hyatt Hotel
As long as we're renaming Wrigley Field, we might as well completely commercialize Wrigleyville as well. Bring on the Wrigleyville Hyatt Hotel and Apartment Complex! If there's one thing Wrigleyville needs, it's more congestion and commercialization. With the way Wrigleyville residents have put the kibosh on most expansionist plans proposed by the Cubs, I'm hoping this hotel idea will be met with similar disdain. A few years ago there were plans to build a parking garage and a Chicago Cubs museum across the street from Wrigley. Whatever happened to those blueprints?

3. Your Ad Here
The Boston Red Sox--who seem intent on becoming the slightly poorer man's version of the New York Yankees--will be wearing advertisements on their uniforms when they open the 2008 season in Tokyo. Apparently this is common practice in Japan, but against the rules in the MLB. I was going to make a really witty joke about what will happen when the Cubs discover this potential revenue stream, but apparently they already did this back in 2000. Maybe Zell will start peddling the Cubs to Japanese financiers and move them to a league where they can sell their jersey sleeves to corporations. Though, the absence of the Cubs would probably make the hotel entrepreneur pull out of Wrigleyville, so there could be a silver lining here.

4. Barry Bonds and the Quest for the Dropped Perjury Charges
Bonds' lawyers say that the charges in the indictment detailing his alleged perjury during the BALCO probe are so vague that Bonds can't figure out which lies he should lie about not having told. The only way this situation could get any worse is if his lawyers resorted to using lame baseball analogies. Oh, wait.
The motion asks U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to consider the argument Feb. 29, urging her to either toss out the case or order prosecutors to rewrite the indictment to clarify the charges.

"Even Barry Bonds cannot be expected to make contact with a fastball, slider and knuckler thrown to him simultaneously," Bonds' attorneys wrote.
Guilty as charged.

5. The Roger Clemens Report

I've got to be honest: Roger Clemens has always kind of annoyed me. He was one of those pitchers who was so good for so long that he appeared superhuman and he was a sure thing for whichever team he played for. He came out of several retirements to annihilate the Cubs with the Houston Astros and his buddy Andy Pettite, which I found very annoying. Even his Sega Genesis baseball video game was annoying to play, as baseball video games go.

What I'm trying to say is that the steroid allegations don't surprise me and his incredible career stats make it difficult for me to believe that he wasn't injecting himself with something. Now we'll have to endure months of he said/she said. Since a 60 Minutes interview wasn't enough to clear his name, the Clemens party has now released the Clemens Report, which presents their version of why his career statistics are so superhumanly excellent. It turns out that Clemens is just the latest in a long line of mutants who have pitched with great success well past the ripe old baseball age of 40. Go pick on Nolan Ryan and leave the Rocket in peace.

Remember when baseball was just a game? Me neither. But I'll bet it was nice.

1 comment:

Joezilla said...

"Even Barry Bonds cannot be expected to make contact with a fastball, slider and knuckler thrown to him simultaneously," Bonds' attorneys wrote.

Although I do like the quotes, it seems like a rather obvious statement for them to make. I mean, of course he can't hit them now—he's off the roids!

And yes, it's funny that even back when you and Chris were playing RBI Baseball '93, Clemens was already piercing his butt with a needle.