On-field Ads: The Next Big Thing, For Real


Advertising, as a form of either clever marketing or blatant mind control that robs individuals of their decision-making sovereignty while consigning them to a groupthink circle jerk to which radically independent hipsters apply the delightfully clever and not at all hivemind-y epithet “sheeple,” has been around for a very, very long time. Examples: The Lascaux Cave paintings were part of an ad campaign for Grak’s Real Pit BBQ. Leonardo’s Mona Lisa served as an ad poster for Luigi’s La Bomba Lip Gloss. And Wagner’s Ring Cycle was a lengthy jingle for Günter’s Chainrings Und Sprockets.

Indeed, the history of advertising is a long illustration of coercion disguised as art – or, at the very least, persuasion concealed in an interesting-to-look-at form. It has always been this way, including that time when Warhol marketed soup. Two weeks back, however, advertising took on an entirely new dimension – specifically, a dimension measuring 20 yards by 53.3 yards – when, in the midst of the Ravens-49ers preseason game, a Toyota Red Zone logo appeared onscreen in what is typically just “the Red Zone,” sans any sort of corporate sponsorship that makes viewers want to gouge out their eyeballs and serve them between a pair of poppyseed buns to Roger Goodell.

This got me thinking: I am kind of hungry! While eating I had a second, non-food thought: What if advertisers were to employ a similar strategy on big league baseball fields? One possible plan: Whenever a player makes an exceptional play, be it offensive or defensive, the advertiser’s message appears in the area of play where the player made that play, no exceptions.

What follows is a list of proposed player-advertiser relationships.

Mike Trout/Leatherman Multi-Tools

Billy Butler/Jimmy Dean’s Breakfast Sausage

Hunter Pence/Awkward Family Photos.com

Evan Gattis/Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems

Aroldis Chapman: JW Tumbles: A Learning Playground

Nick Swisher/Bromo-Seltzer

Rougned Odor/Febreze

Michael Pineda/Pine-Sol

Freddie Freeman/Huggies Disposable Diapers

Freddie Freeman/Hugs Pet Products

Freddie Freeman/Tree Huggers of America

Josh Beckett/International Animal Rescue’s Adopt A Slow Loris Program

Jose “Joey Bats” Bautista/Bat Conservation International, Inc.

Jayson Werth/Bigfoot Discovery Project and Museum

Mike Napoli/James Beard Cooks with Corning

C.J. Wilson/Orange County Continuing & Adult Education

Troy Tulowitzki/Metro Denver Pain Management

Derek Jeter/Manhattan Gift Baskets

Derek Norris/Oakland Animal Services

Brian McCann/New York State Sheriff’s Association

Brett Gardner/Mt. Baldy Lodge (Mount Baldy, Calif.)

Scott Kazmir/Dan’s Auto Parts & Salvage (Emeryville, Calif.)

Pablo Sandoval/Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy (San Francisco)

Coco Crisp/Cap’n Crunch

Ichiro Suzuki/Honda Motorcycles

Carlos Santana/van-halen.com

Ryan “The Hebrew Hammer” Braun/Shmuley’s Kosher Hardware*

Tim “The Freak” Lincecum/“Freakonomics: The Musical!”*

David “Big Papi” Ortiz/International Consortium Of Opium Cartels*

Yasiel Puig/The American Museum Of Misdirected Outrage*

Bryce Harper/Practical Pat’s Barber Shop: Practical Cuts For Practical Men*

Ian Kinsler/Trash Talk: NPR’s Weekly Discussion Of All Things Garbage*

Tyler Flowers/Tyler (Texas) Flowers, Corsages ’N Big Ol’ Boutonnières*

A.J. Pierzynski/How To Win Foes And Influence Frenemies, Inc.*

Melky Cabrera/Selky Melk: Milk For People Who Mispronounce Vowels*

Austin Jackson/The Midgame Trade Co.*

DJ LeMahieu/Colorado Center For Sampling And Turntable Scratching*

Matt Carpenter/American Woodworkers And Wipers Of Feet Local 459*

Adrian Beltre/Scalpies: Scalp Protectors For Men*

Randy Wolf/Canis Lupus Spay & Neuter Centers Of America*

Robinson Cano/The International Center For Effective Nonchalance*

Drew Smyly/Dr. Funkenlifter’s Good-Time Happy Pills*

* indicates that I might have made it up

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John, who has also written under the pseudonym "Azure Texan," writes for both The Hardball Times and NotGraphs.

20 Responses to “On-field Ads: The Next Big Thing, For Real”

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  1. John Paschal says:

    For the record, the Big Papi item is a play on the word “poppy,” nothing more. Also for the record, Internet Humor Weekly rates it the No. 1 joke of the Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. EST publishing slot (NotGraphs Division).

    Carry on.

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    • NotGraphsForeverCistulliNever says:

      Was it also the only joke of the Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. EST publishing slot?

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      • John Paschal says:

        Well, gee, that’s not a nice thing to say.

        But it’s par for the course – lots of hate lately.

        I will now do you a favor by taking my remaining 11 jokes and leaping forthwith off a very high cliff. Unfortunately for you and the rest of the readers, I have already scheduled my next three posts. My legacy: You will just have to live with it.


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        • Kris says:

          Paschal, if you’d like someone to take over for you and produce guaranteed comedy gold, vitriol-infused but totally warranted comedy gold, I might know a guy.

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          • John Paschal says:

            My body ain’t even cold, and already you want to replace me with Shecky Greene?

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          • John Paschal says:

            Oh, hey, and also, I just realized: My publishing slot is actually 2:30 p.m. EST, not 1:30. (I get confused because I live in the Central Time Zone, home of people who get confused by Eastern Standard Time.) I guess the joke’s on NotGraphsForeverCistulliNever!

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          • Kris says:

            I wanted to post as Jonah Keri more anyways.

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    • A Reasonable Bostonian says:

      It’s a good thing you shoppened that point. At fust I thought you wah saying he was a wicket lodge chinaman, who maybe employs some sweet dink ass, when he is awbviously some kinda docky.

      I was gonna be awfended.

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      • John Paschal says:

        Heh. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t directing that light disclaimer at Bostonians or Papi fans. I was directing it at Papi’s lawyers, who are currently circling the block. Some people can’t take a joke, even a bad one.

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  2. Andrew says:

    Werth also comes up to bat to a Game of Thrones song. And he looks like he is from medieval times.

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  3. Tim says:

    I suppose selkies are mammals, but that still seems a bit outre.

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  4. Simon says:

    Well done! Elicited many chuckles here.

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  5. John Havok says:

    Love the article.

    The Blue Jays are already doing thing at their home games with superimposed ads down the foul lines and in the batters eye in CF. While I doubt they’re the only ones doing it on home broadcasts, I find the CF batters eye ads annoying as the ball gets lost on the screen if it passes through that area.

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    • John Paschal says:

      Thanks, Mr. Havok.

      And wow, I didn’t know that about Blue Jays broadcasts. When I conceived this piece I considered the premise a farce, but hey, maybe I’m prophetic — or, as it turns out, slightly behind the times.

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  6. Paul G. says:

    “Melk” is “milk” in Dutch. It comes from a “koe.” I think “moo” is the same in Dutch as English, which makes sense since that is a loaned word from Coweigan.

    What this has to do with this article I have no idea. I just like sharing.

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  7. Kalopsia says:

    Couldn’t finish post; too busy adopting a slow loris

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  8. Rusty Kuntz says:

    I’m just going to add this because it’s not here already.


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