First things first: In the prophetic words of Meat Loaf Aday, "two out of three ain't bad," as long as you were wise enough go with Smarty Jones and Imperialism while ignoring the Footnotes in favor of a Lion Head during the Kentucky Derby. If I only had made it to the OTB... alas, it's still exciting that we have an undefeated horse heading into round two of the Triple Crown. Hopefully by next Saturday's race jockeys will be allowed to sport Spider-Man masks, that way Marvel and Sony can raise brand awareness of their summer tent pole among the youth of America who have thus far ignored the arachnidan superhero because they are so wrapped up in handicapping the ponies. I think Madison Avenue is missing a golden opportunity to spin their corporate web -- the Peter Parker Preakness. Can we get this done by May15th?

Ridiculous? I think not. In yet another plummet towards the bottom of the sports-advertorial-complex, major league baseball has decided to defile the infield by adoring the bases with Spider-Man logos on the weekend of June 11-13. And irony of ironies, guess what squad is opposed to the idea of the web slinger leaving his mark on the home bags? Those arbiters of subtlety and muzzled marketing opportunities, the New York Yankees. It's hard to imagine that George Steinbrenner finds the comic imprints tasteless and silly, so it must be one of three things: (1) he didn't come up with it first; (2) he refuses to work with Spider-Man, resident of Woodside, Queens, prime Mets territory; or (3) he was already in negotiations with Batman. But instead of refusing to participate, the Yankees are taking the high road and will only allow the Spider-man logo during batting practice and one game…while pocketing the $100,000. You want to make a statement in pinstripes, George? Donate your cut to stopping Dr. Octopus.

Of course, the marketing folks say this is necessary to bring in "the younger demographic" that is "looking for nontraditional breakthrough ways to convey 'Spider-Man' messaging. ...It's the future of how we generate excitement inside the stadium and about the game itself... " NO! NO! NO! The future of baseball does not rest on selling more crap. It rests on grown millionaires hitting a ball really far. And chewing tobacco. Rivers and rivers of chewing tobacco.

If it's the "youth demographic" they're after, I say we take the advice of Cubs manager Dusty Baker, "You've still got to touch base, whether they got spiders, scorpions or snakes on them." Watching Jeter go headfirst stretching a double into a triple only to be bitten on the schnozz by a tarantula...now that's something the kids would pay close attention to. Someone call the ad geeks.

Published on: May 6, 2004