Sports Law Blog
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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

You Can't Sue Over This, But Don't You Wish You Could? Major League Baseball has agreed to sell promotions for Spider Man 2 ON THE BASES. The bases will be adorned with Spider-Man logos to promote the new movie, with some teams getting up to $100,000 for desecrating their field.

And that is exactly what they are doing. I understand the economics of sports and the need to generate revenue. Outfield signs are signs behind home plate are one thing. But this is on the field of play. The terms used to describe baseball fields include "diamonds" and "green cathedrals." There is something magical, and yes, unspoiled, at the simplicity and elegance of the green, brown and white interacting together and forming a union of nature and sport. Baseball fields have taken this same format since the game was formed, with subtle variations in dimensions over time. Yes, astroturf was used at one time, but with one very brief exception, it has always been green, brown and white.

This latest move has spoiled one of the last sacred parts of sport. What's next? Advertisements painted on the fairway at Augusta? The "Old Spice" rubber on the "Bud Lite" pitching mound? Unlike a basketball court or a sheet of ice, a baseball field has a character about it that screams "Leave me alone!" For major sports to be successful, the "game" and the "business" must learn to co-exist, so that fans do not forget why they love the sport they are paying tons of money to witness. If baseball sells out the field, there truly is nothing sacred left in sports and the "game" will be forever lost to the "business."


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