Not long ago, a couple of guys got together and started printing up shirts with stylized likenesses of Ron Washington on the front, and a Ron Washington quote — “that’s the way baseball go” — on the back. Seems that Major League Baseball doesn’t take kindly to that sort of thing, and they’ve sent a cease and desist letter shutting it down.
This happens a lot. Happened with that Los Doyers thing not too long ago. Happened to Phillies blogger Zoo With Roy recently when he made up shirts with Roy Halladay’s quote about it only getting “funner” from now on. Every other year or so you hear about this sort of thing. And I get it, because that’s the way the law go.
Still, I get a little sad every time some native enthusiasm gets squished by the IP lawyers. Maybe it’s impractical, but I wish the first impulse of baseball in these instances was to strike a deal with the creators of these kinds of products where baseball gets to protect its copyrights and stuff, the creator gets some nominal compensation for his inspiration and the fans get to buy a fun, quirky shirt or bumper sticker or whatever that captures the zeitgeist of the moment.
And really, these things are ephemeral. Ron Washington is going to be fired one day because all managers are fired. The whole “funner” thing with the Phillies probably died the moment Ryan Howard struck out looking. Would anyone really have been harmed if, in the meantime, some people had some fun?
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.