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FIELD OF DREAMS OR SCHEMES? EVEN MARKETING PROS HEAD FOR EXITS WHEN BASEBALL PLAYERS DON ADS

By Published on .

Even marketers cried foul when asked to imagine their favorite diamond heroes trading in traditional pinstripes for promotion-studded uniforms.

An informal Advertising Age fax survey found three-fourths of the respondents thought Major League Baseball players should be pitchers, not pitchmen.

"Absolutely not!"

"No more ads!!!"

"They'd look like race car drivers."

"Enough is enough!"

"Why not tattoo the players' foreheads?"

Respondents also said the league already has two strikes against it: Three-fifths of those surveyed said baseball has become too commercialized and that on-field signage has tainted the game's purity.

"Most annoying are all of those idiotic promotions on radio broadcasts that keep the announcers from giving listeners any insights as to what is going on," declared one executive.

Another wondered: "Why should anyone want to pay more to a bunch of millionaires who spit in public?"

Some respondents acknowledged baseball needs new revenue, but hesitated to give carte blanche to a league not known for its Gold Glove performances in fielding marketing opportunities.

"A single advertiser might be acceptable if tastefully displayed, but that might be too much to hope for," said another respondent.

There were those among the 84 respondents who thought the tactic would be a hit.

"All sports are becoming more commercialized with the salaries increasing the way they are. Owners are forced to create extra income, why not charge advertisers rather than the fan?"

Another compared advertising on baseball jerseys with endorsing basketball shoes. "Of course putting logos on uniforms would work. Basketball shoes have thrived using this premise in conjunction with certain stars recently."

The cynics especially responded in favor of commercializing players. "Why not? Maybe we could put logos on their soles? Or souls."

Another added that Major League Baseball owners have twice been fined millions of dollars for collusion, which has "removed any sense of moral, ethical or fairness in the conduct of the sport."

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