Now their uniforms say, `This space available'

April 08, 1999|By Kevin Cowherd

Major League Baseball is considering ... selling tiny advertising space on the sleeves of the players' uniforms.

-- USA Today

GOOD EVENING, and what a beautiful night for baseball here at Yankee Stadium, where the Orioles take on the defending World Champions. Leading off for the O's: Brady Anderson ...

"Brady wearing a patch for Ford Ranger 4-Door SuperCab: `Ranger: America's best-selling compact pickup for 11 straight years.'

"On the mound for the Yanks: veteran right-hander Roger Clemens, who's shilling tonight for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts: `Feel the Hyatt Touch.' Here's the pitch: low and away, ball one ...

"Brady, by the way, is 0-for-12 since wearing the `Built Ford Tough' patch and may be shopping around for a new corporate sponsor ... Clemens into his windup, the pitch ... and Brady lashes a base hit to right!

"That'll bring up shortstop Mike Bordick. Bordick flacking today for America Online. `AOL: So easy to use, no wonder it's No. 1 ...'

"Some fans along the first base line giving Brady a hard time now. One's holding up a sign that says: `Like a Rock. Chevy: The most dependable, longest-lasting trucks on the road.' Oh, man, that's gotta hurt!

"Bordick takes a called strike ... Mike's off to a slow start, 2-for-16. But he stopped me today in the hotel lobby and said he's really become a big fan of AOL and loves surfing the 'Net ...

"Clemens sets and delivers ... and Bordick lifts a soft blooper that falls in for a base hit! Runners on first and second.

"That brings up first baseman Will Clark. Clark wearing the familiar outline of a Sprint digital phone on his sleeve. `Sprint: the clear alternative to cellular ...'

"Uh-oh, what's going on here? Clark steps out of the batter's box. He's jawing at umpire Ken Kaiser. The two are really going at it! No mystery as to what this is all about!

"With Kaiser wearing a facemask logo for Bell Atlantic Mobile, you can bet there's no love lost between these two.

"Now Clark steps back in. Clemens deals ... and Clark sends a drive to deep right field! That ball is ... gone! A three-run homer for Will Clark!

"Now look at this! As he crosses the plate, Clark is smiling at Kaiser! And now he's pointing to the Sprint sign on the scoreboard, the one that says: `No annual contract required, first incoming minute free, Voicemail, Caller ID' ... Unbelievable!

"Anyway, that brings up new Orioles cleanup hitter, Albert Belle. Belle, you may have heard, was listed as `doubtful' for this game, apparently having trouble with the Delta Air Lines patch on his left sleeve during batting practice.

"But O's equipment manager Fred Tyler was able to change the logo from `Delta: On Top of the World' to `Delta: You Don't Need to Play Like a Pro to Fly Like a Pro.' So big No. 88 is back in the lineup!

"Here's a breaking ball from Clemens ... Belle swings, and bounces a grounder to short that Derek Jeter fields on one hop and throws to first. One out.

"Fans, don't forget this Friday is `Shill Like the Pros Night' at Camden Yards, with all fans 95 and under receiving an authentic `This Space Available' advertising patch, just like the ones your favorite big leaguers wear on their uniforms!

"Now, at school, at work, or just hanging around the house, you, too, can be a pitchman for McDonald's, Hewlett-Packard, Oldsmobile, IBM, Tostitos ... the list is endless!

"Stepping up to the plate now: designated hitter Harold Baines ... Baines is an interesting story this spring. He's wearing the distinctive shoulder patch of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter -- `Measuring success one investor at a time.' But a lot of people forget Baines broke into the big leagues with T. Rowe Price.

"Clemens deals ... Baines lifts a pop fly to shallow center for out No. 2.

"That brings up the Iron Man himself, third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken again leads the league in ad space per uniform. Milk, Chevrolet, Esskay Oriole Hot Dogs, Coca-Cola ... he looks like a NASCAR driver out there with all those logos on his uniform.

"Ohhhh, look at that! He rips a Clemens' fastball, but right at first baseman Tino Martinez for the third out!

"As we head to the bottom of the first, it's the Orioles 3, New York 0.

"And now a word from our sponsors ...'

Pub Date: 4/08/99

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