One Hollow Gesture Deserves Another

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cheesecurds.jpgOf all the half-hearted crap fans of professional sports teams are expected to swallow with a smile, the "open letter to the fans" from the departed star is easily the cheesiest.

Everyone from Rocco to Roy Halladay to Lebron James pens a solemn and heartfelt ode to the city in which they drew their paychecks. A great way to satiate the braying masses and distract yourself from the grueling process of deciding between "tile mosaic of own face" or "indoor komodo dragon habitat" for your new stately manor.

The full page ad in the local rag is a great bit of charity: it forces your P.R. team to earn their checks and it represents the first new ad sales in months for the Palookaville Times. Fans seem to like it because it makes it seem like they're rooting for an actual breathing human, not a cyborg trained to play baseball.

Unfortunately, the gesture has become very mechanical indeed. A rote branding exercise aimed at keeping old fans while showing humility to the potential new ones. All in all, completely unnecessary.

That hasn't stopped the good people of SB Nation Rays blog DRaysBay from starting a fund to take out their own ad, thanking outgoing outfielder Carl Crawford for his contribution to the team and community as a whole.

Somehow, blowing even more smoke up the asses of guys who have smoke blown up their asses every day of their lives seems excessive. Putting a full page ad in a local paper thanking a professional athlete for playing baseball? I'm not sure if my feelings are mixed or just turned off.

He's only a baseball player. You thank him by showing up to watch games (Rays attendance joke goes here) and supporting the team with a online shrine. Does Carl Crawford really need to be thanked again?

Maybe, just maybe, if you squint your eyes just cynically enough, this looks like it might be more about DRaysBay than Carl Crawford. I find it hard to believe that anyone is this maudlin, this sentimental about a baseball player after 9 years.

I've written some pretty sappy things about Roy Halladay. I make an effort to celebrate his successes no matter the color of his laundry. But at no point did I feel the need to match his adspace with my own. I appreciate Roy Halladay's ability to play baseball at a very high level and wasn't about to let his move to the Phillies interfere with that appreciation.

This seems a little too self-aggrandizing and a lot like misplaced generosity. Take out an ad to thank someone who deserves praise and recognition, not someone on the cusp of signing a seven-figure contract because he's good at catching flyballs.


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15 Comments

In a similar move, Walkoff Walk is going to solicit contributions so we can take out a text ad on Google thanking the soon-to-be-retiring Chipper Jones for providing the blog with such amazing content over the years.

No, no! Donate to me, and we'll thank the late Air Bud for all his service to the game of baseball!

I'd like to see an athlete take out a spiteful newspaper ad. After Cliff Lee signs with the Yankees he should take out an ad in the Boston Globe: "thanks for the offer, you mick scum, but I'd rather die than live in your fixed-gear paradise."

Pretty sure Mark Teixeira took out a similar ad in the Baltimore Sun in 2008. All it said, though, was "Really?"

Personally, I think the way that Manny Ramirez left Boston was pretty cool.

Well, so much for my idea of taking out an ad pleading for Derek Jeter to re-sign with the Yankees.

I was gonna take a page out for Uribe. Maybe I'll hire a sky writer instead.

I think a cake decorator is more apt for Juan Uribe.

Good call, Drew. The cake could read "TANKS FOR EVERYTHIN JUAN UREEBAY" and it'd still be cool...

I'd like to take out a full-page ad on WoW. In return, I promise to do Catshirt's laundry twice (wash and fold). I'd like to thank my neighborhood deli for their tender, moist roast beef.

@MDT
Is "deli" a euphemism for whore house?

Because nobody comments on websites anymore, check out the Google Buzz on Drew's missive if you want to read what Jonah "The Extra 2%" Keri has to say.

That "tile mosaic/komodo dragon" line made me LOL hard.

I once asked Carlos Silva to "cram it with walnuts" on my tumblr, so sort of the same thing as a newspaper ad.

check out the Google Buzz on Drew's missive if you want to read what Jonah "The Extra 2%" Keri has to say.

I'd rather shoot my computer with a revolver.

Two things.

1) Cheese curds fucking rule.
2) Google Buzz? Really?

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