If you're covered in wrinkles, whiskers and cobwebs, perhaps you fondly remember haberdasher Abe Stark's Hit Sign, Win Suit billboard at the base of the right-field scoreboard in Brooklyn's legendary Ebbets Field. Chances are you feel more fondly about it than the ads that assault the senses in today's arenas.
Hey, don't get us wrong. We love advertising. Advertisers keep this space in pork 'n beans, and baby always needs a new pair of shoes. But there's no denying that on the sporting landscape, advertising is like kudzu. It grows and spreads and eventually covers every available square inch. From an aesthetic point of view, one may find this development a tad unfortunate.
In the last 100 years or so, we've progressively gone from quaint signs on walls to Ballantine Blasts to the Members Only out-of-town scoreboard to "this throw to first brought to you by Bughouse Pest Control" to massive billboards and stadium names that change every 15 minutes to accommodate a new sponsor, not to mention screens that allow the home viewing audience to see constantly changing ads.
The ad creep continued this week as the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury announced a deal to put sponsor LifeLock's name on the front of their jerseys and warm-up suits. Now, this is no big deal in that Nike and its ilk are on jerseys in all sports, soccer teams have been bedecked with logos for some time, and race cars have long been rolling billboards. But wethinks this is merely the beginning of the final frontier for the traditional Big Four sports leagues. Though the Yankees balked when MLB wanted to put ads on the bases for Spider-Man 2 five years ago, such placements won't remain sacrosanct much longer.
As salaries continue to rise, or at least remain stratospheric, and fans struggle to afford tickets and valuable merchandise in our, ahem, challenging economy, teams will have no choice but to continually grab more revenue streams. The most obvious udder to squeeze harder is ad sponsorship and there's plenty of blank space on them there uniforms, not to mention the athletes themselves. Hey, online casino GoldenPalace.com created a stir a few years back by tattooing boxers. And if national sponsors are ever limited, there are always those charming ads for local sponsors like Abe Stark.
And so, thanks to the wonders of PhotoShop, Getting Loose presents a glimpse into the not-so-distant future, beginning with the photo at the top of this space and running down the side like dewy tears of nostalgia for a simpler time gone by.
Oh, dear. It seems that the new Yankee Stadium can't seem to stay out of the news. If it's not piggy-bank-busting prices, tumbleweeds in the best seats, and wind propelling balls over the fence, it's politicians getting up in arms about the fact that taxpayers have apparently helped fund a shrine that most can not afford to go to.
Two local lawmakers are raising a stink about nearly $4 billion they say the public will ultimately cough up to fund the new wind tunnel. When asked to produce internal documents pertinent to the matter, the Yankees said "Make us!" and pointed out that the cost of putting a subpoena to their heads will soak John and Jane Q. Public for another $5 million.
"If he wants the documents, the standard rule is he pays for them,'' a legal beagle employed by Yankees declared to local newshounds. "That's the law in New York. That's the case law. I hope they're spared. I hope the bill isn't put on the taxpayers.''
This space, too. Being the community-minded literary event (of sorts) that it is, Getting Loose suggests the Yankees raise the dough by selling the urinals from the old stadium. Apparently, they're much sought-after (public restrooms are scarce in New York City and carrying your own can be a handy solution). Now that's what you call your revenue stream!
In other ballpark news, it appears that the last hunk of Tiger Stadium has been slated for the wrecking ball. Nothing puts a lump in the throat quite like watching sports history reduced to dust.
Thus we present this collection of demolition videos:
Tiger Stadium, Shea Stadium, Kingdome, RCA Dome, Veterans Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field, Fulton County Stadium, Comiskey Park, Ebbets Field
When ever-gracious WFAN radio spawtstawk host Mike Francesca blew a gasket recently, the spectacle was turned by the good folks at tiricosuave.com into a highly-entertaining and instructive video clip that this space believes will be used by broadcasting schools for years to come in imparting the finer points of articulate passion and public relations. Roll tape. And take notes.
Who says no one watches hockey? With the Stanley Cup Final in full swing, a team of British scientists is reportedly following the Penguins with high-powered satellites -- which are often needed by fans to locate game broadcasts when they aren't on NBC. "We can't see actual penguins on the satellite maps because the resolution isn't good enough," said mapping expert Peter Fretwell. "But the ice gets pretty dirty and it's the guano stains that we can see."
There was a bit of a conflagration at the NFL Players Association's offices in Washington on Tuesday, and it apparently started in the can. Cue the track Smokin' in the Boys Roomby Motley Crue...or if you're a purist, by Brownsville Station. However, according to SI.com'sPeter King, the fire was likely started by a candle. This space therefor feels compelled to state that it is our understanding -- thanks to our acquaintance with a source who has "intimate knowledge of the plumbing over there " -- that union boss DeMaurice Smith enjoys candlelit bubble baths while plotting labor negotiation strategy with his toy submarines and battlships, and he was likely called away suddenly to make an important trip to San Francisco, hence the additional water damage when the tub overflowed. Gotta remember to turn them taps off, sir...
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