Take Me Out To The Billboards

Yeah, but what's the score?

Yeah, but what's the score?

There was a time, my young friends, when people went to baseball stadiums to watch baseball.  Sadly, franchise owners no longer assume that is the ticket-buyer’s objective.  They believe the reason you come to the ol’ ballpark is to put your dainty butt in a $100 seat and drink $10 beers.  They also helpfully provide many distractions to keep you from noticing that a game is taking place on the field.

After all, if you’ve forked over that kind of money — not to mention what you paid for parking — why would you want to be annoyed by something as mundane as a game?  So what if it’s a 2-and1 count and the hit-and-run may be on — who cares?  “Look all around you, fans,” Major League Baseball now says, “there are many shiny signs all over this facility that will tell you when to clap and when to ‘make noise’.  We even have electronic pictures of the players’ faces that are fifty feet high!  That’s better than watching them from far away, isn’t it?”

I’ve been following baseball for many years, but it wasn’t until a recent visit to Yankee Stadium that I became aware for the first time that French’s is the official mustard of the New York Yankees.  But there it was, on multiple message boards — a dietary preference that any true fan should know.  As I bowed my head in shame at having been so ignorant of baseball lore, I missed seeing Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer. 

Electronic cannons thundered and millions of light-emitting diodes flashed.  The runs were registered on the tiny part of the scoreboard that is actually devoted to keeping score.  Hidden in all the advertising for soft drinks and other chemicals, the numbers were posted — but in tiny print, as though management was merely complying with a legal requirement, like that tag on your mattress.

Amid all the visual clutter and the racket from the multi-megawatt sound system, I could hear my inner voice whimpering, “I just want to watch the game.”  These days, a stadium is a lousy place to do that.

5 responses to “Take Me Out To The Billboards

  1. Great post, Tom. Advertising has no place at a baseball game. I mean, there you are, stuck sitting in a plastic seat. It’s nowhere near as comfortable as the supple, hand-crafted leather you find in a Lexus. And the blight of billboards, please. It’s downright criminal when compared to the bird’s-eye maple accents that adorn the spacious Lexus cabin. I mean, c’mon, let people enjoy the excitement of the game – an experience that can only be compared to the rush of adrenaline that results from the Lexus LS’ silky-smooth 8-speed transmission and mighty V8 engine. Anyway, here’s hoping ballparks see the light and embark upon their own pursuits of perfection.

  2. Sounds like Lexus is the Official Luxury Automobile of at least one baseball fan…

  3. Hey, gotta put food on the table for Danny and Emily. 🙂

  4. John Alexander

    Just wait until they sell add space on the jerseys like the WNBA. The Seattle “Boeing” Mariners has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

  5. Now that you mention it, it does seem like the Red Sox and an athlete’s-foot remedy could form a marketing partnership…

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