It wasn’t initially reported among the major points, but MLB’s latest proposal to the players’ union contains something even more pearl-clutchingly egregious to old-schoolers than the universal DH. Accoring to Trevor Plouffe, who lost a little credibility a while back when he reported that “Spring Training 2” would open June 10 with Opening Day following on July 1, owners would like to sell ads on jerseys in 2020 and 2021.
One thing that “the purists” are gonna hate:
The owners have proposed being able to sell commercial advertisements on uniforms for 2020 and 2021.
Again, it’s in the proposal, which as many have reported is not a done deal.
— Coach Trev (@trevorplouffe) June 18, 2020
As with the DH, it’s pretty clear that this is a way for owners to basically pre-negotiate certain aspects of the next CBA. It’s also inevitable, since we’re already seeing it in the NBA. Hell, European soccer clubs have sponsors plastered on their kits in lieu of team names. I personally don’t follow footie, but I know their fans aren’t any less rabid as a result of rampant capitalism’s obvious encroachment.
Hey, maybe selling ads will allow altruistic baseball philanthropists like Tom Ricketts and Bill DeWitt Jr. to finally turn a nominal profit with their multi-billion-dollar enterprises. I tell you what, it sure would be a relief to think that they’d be rewarded for their hard work rather than having to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into ballpark-adjacent infrastructure for nothing more than the betterment of their respective cities.
Exactly how this would all play out, if it does at all, obviously isn’t known at this point. NFL teams have advertising patches on their practice gear while NBA teams contract with sponsors, typically with local ties, on fairly unobtrusive patches worn on their game jerseys. So it’s entirely possible that this would be something just for BP jerseys, though you have to think the real money is in the game-worn gear.
One way or the other, I can almost guarantee you the ads are here to stay if they’re approved as part of the proposal. Owners aren’t going to be giving up that additional revenue source and the objection from fans will have eroded by 2022 anyway. Even if ads aren’t approved for this season, you may as well go ahead and start getting used to their presence in the near future.
As for me, well, I really couldn’t care less either way. Every Little League team I played on was sponsored by a local business, same for different summer and winter leagues in basketball and whatnot. My kids’ old soccer and baseball leagues had jerseys emblazoned with Land O’ Frost, and they managed to play just as well as if they’d not been carrying around the extra weight of that screen-printing.
Listen, I get that laundry is sacrosanct, but I think I’ll be able to find it within myself to continue watching even if something other than dirt or grass should blemish the purity of those 100% polyester Nike jerseys. My only question about this is whether the Brewers’ sponsor will pay them double when Ryan Braun wears Christian Yelich’s jersey under his own.