Justice Is Served

May 28, 2010 1:06 PM

Rum and baseball: An ad campaign made by the devil

Everything in sports carries a price, and apparently integrity, too, can be bought and sold cheaply like an '84 Escort with bald tires and 540,301 miles.

Think this is a hyperbole? Think anew.

Just look at what Major League Baseball is doing these days. Yes, the sport might be crying for additional revenue streams, but its situation differs not one bit from the economic straits thousands of American families find themselves in, but would they pimp their first borne for a few dollars more?

Oh, but baseball would.


Calling all captains!

Baseball has teamed with Captain Morgan, the makers of a popular brand of rum, in a promotion called "The First Pitch." The swashbuckling mascot for the British rum-maker is hitting Major League ballparks across the United Stars this season and throwing out the first pitch. 

What the captain is also doing is exposing youngsters to an image, fostering an attachment to the rum brand that will carry over into their later years. Smart move for Captain Morgan, but isn't this akin to having the Marlboro Man leading a high-school pep rally?  

Doesn't this send a conflicting message to youth?

Without a doubt, to package baseball and rum together is disturbing. Already, boys and girls are exposed to too many TV ads for beer, wines and Mike's Hard Lemonade. The next Corona commercial I see this year will be No. 2,000, and only the Lord Almighty knows how many Bud and Miller Lite ads have been on the tube since 2009 turned into '10.

Mom and dad can screen TV commercials, but how do they go to the ballpark and explain to their son or daughter what Captain Morgan stands for? Can the saber-wielding Captain be explained away any more than Joe Camel?

It is sheer stupidity to think a reasoned explanation is possible, which should shock no one who has followed the bozo explosion inside the corporate offices of Major League Baseball. Remember, these are the motley fools who oversaw the "Steroids Era."

They corrupted the game on one hand, and now they risk degrading the sport farther with a promotional campaign that might work for rodeo, boxing or pro wrestling, three sports without a long, deep-seeded link to America's youth culture but not for baseball.

In baseball, the ad campaign reeks of naked greed, the kind that Americans have grown overly familiar with in these recessionary times. Nowadays, nothing seems in foul territory when it comes to increasing revenue.

It is, of course, all about the dollars and cents. Isn't it always?

Yet must common sense go out of style just to turn a buck or two? Does it take a room of Mensa scholars to deconstruct this unseemly campaign and see it as having a negative influence on the family-friendly environment the bumbling lords of baseball claim they covet?

The Captain will be in Progressive Field, Dodger Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Camden Yard and other parks before the ad campaign ends. But maybe some team owner will see the danger of tying baseball's brand to rum.

Maybe that owner will step to the plate and knock any thought of bringing the campaign to his fans out of the ballpark. He can trot out an ad campaign from society's yesteryear: Just say no!

Or, even better, he can amend it a bit to say: Hell no!







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