OF SLIPPERY SLOPES AND PIMPS
The Chicago Cubs announced on Wednesday that this season, advertisements for a brand of athleticwear would heretofore appear on the right and left field walls of Wrigley Field, stapled to the metal doors.
Not that we didn't already know this, but nothing's sacred anymore at Wrigley Field. Not with John McDonough in charge, anyway. Yes, John McDonough, a South Sider who instituted an irritating series of between-innings advertisments on all the Wrigley Field electronic scoreboards. John McDonough, who took a deal to rename the center-field bleachers after a brand of beer BREWED IN ST. LOUIS, as if Cubs fans didn't care about their intense rivalry with the Cardinals.
John McDonough, friend to cup-holder salesmen, sponsorship bozos, and hacks of all types. John McDonough, recently elevated from head of marketing to overall stewardship of the club.
Yes, let's hear it for McDonough, a man who'd sell tickets to the expulsion of his own bodily fluids if he truly believed that anyone would come to watch. And don't forget selling those cable rights!
It's not all McDonough's fault, of course. Beer ads were attached to the Wrigley Field center-field scoreboard in the early 1980s, to the disgust and disdain of press and fans. Those ads eventually disappeared, McDonough at that point playing the good guy. I guess it doesn't pay to be good any more, not with the team throwing tens of millions of dollars at replacement-level "talents" such as Glendon Rusch, Jason Marquis, and Mark DeRosa.
Of course, McDonough and the Cubs didn't sell ad space on the outfield wall as a RESPONSE to these multi-million-dollar contracts...business doesn't work that way. McDonough sells first and allots money later.
And for these guys, selling is second nature. They simply see the dollar signs and do whatever it takes. To paraphrase something someone once wrote about Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, who cheapened his characters by selling their images to any company who could afford to pay his fee, "You can't blame a salesman for selling out."
Therefore, the question is, is ANYTHING sacred to these people? What will come next year? We already have rotating billboards behind the plate. Will it be ads on the foul poles next year? Perhaps something etched into the center-field hitting backdrop? A big logo atop the scoreboard itself?
And don't worry. It WILL get worse.
This is just a little taste of what happens when you lay the stewardship of the Sistine Chapel in the hands of the community pimp.