Yesterday, I wrote about how the Home Run Derby isn't just the Home Run Derby, but officially the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders.
It turns out that the All Star Game isn't the All Star. Pathetically, it's the "All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile."
And, to say it again, pathetically.
I understand that in today's world we have corporate sponsorship of certain sporting events, most notably college bowl games, like the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl. But eye-rolling as those are, they're at least stand-alone games that require financing. A major professional sport's all star game (or home run derby) though is just an exhibition and, most importantly, part of the sport's already-financed corporate structure.
But even if someone makes a well-reasoned defense why it's all the same without distinction, there's the final trump card -- naming rights to an all star game just comes across as cheesy, stupid and offensive. And pathetic. Yes, yes, I know that's subjective, but it doesn't mean it's wrong.
But it's more pathetic than you think.
While it's one thing for an organization to name something in an idiotic way, that doesn't mean others have to refer to it that way. It's "the All Star Game," as far as most sane humans are concerned. If MLB wants to have a "The All Star Game presented by T-Mobile" log everywhere at the stadium at on the opening TV graphics, so be it. But the rest of human world can call it The All Star Game. The problem though is that all the official websites of Major League teams are under the umbrella of Major League Baseball and therefore are required to play by MLB's rules.
And that means when you read stories on a ballclub's official website, you get such inanities as this about Franklin Font, an assistant coach for the Chicago Cubs who has a team function at the festivities --
"Font is experiencing his first All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile since 1997, when he was..."
No, seriously. That's what it said.
Is that horrific linguistics, or what?! For a a few moments I honestly couldn't figure out what the sentence was saying. What is T-Mobile doing in there, I kept wondering?? And the thing is, even after I figured it out, it's not even accurate. After all, back in 1997, when Franklin Font attended the game in question, it wasn't sponsored by T-Mobile. So, this isn't his first "All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile" since 1967. It's his first All Star Game, period, since then!!
And every single time the game came up in the article, it had to be used --
"During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, fans can once again visit..."
And all the articles.
"Bryant won't get a break as he takes part in the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile."
"I's just about time for the 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile to showcase the talents of..."
And on and on and on.
Oh, please, dear God, spare us!!!!
(And again, it's not the "86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile." It's the first.)
You could tell that the reporter was getting annoying having to write that phrase over and over, let alone once, because a couple of time he referred to the game as "the Midsummer Classic." I also did notice a couple of plain, old "All Star games" sneaked in there, as well, so maybe there's a quota of T-Mobile mentions that are required. Or he forgot and the editor didn't realize it.
I look forward to tonight's broadcast to see how the announcer's handle it. Given that it's Fox Sports, I can only imagine.
7/29/2015 12:26:00 pm
The comic strip Tank McNamara did a wonderful satire on the naming conventions several years ago (I can't find when, but it was a Sunday strip) when an announcer calling an inside the park home run had to give the sponsor's name for every base, every field position, and so on. He needed oxygen at the end of the call.
7/29/2015 03:23:58 pm
Ha! That's wonderful. Spot-on. Thanks.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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