Amid Criticism, Baseball Drops Plans for Ads on Bases
Nethercutt, who is running for the U.S. Senate, said "such aggressive advertising undermines the character of America's pastime at every level. Major League Baseball has a duty to keep baseball pure for future generations of Americans."
The New York Yankees, who will earn about $125,000 for their share of the promotion, announced Wednesday night that they were not going to follow through all the way with the movie pitch. The team said it would allow the four-inch "Spider-Man 2" advertisements to be placed on the bases and pitchers mound before the games, but not during them. The sweeping "Spider-Man 2" logo that covers the on-deck circle can stay during the game, said Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost.
"If we think it's something that's not good for the Yankees and Yankee Stadium, we're not going to do it," Trost told the New York Daily News.
Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane said he had "mixed reviews" to the advertising plan, according to the Sports Business Journal, but added that the on-field branding is "something we'll adjust to."
Earnings from the $3.6 million promotion are to be divided among the teams based on the club's market size.
Fans in a chat room on the Washington Post Web site seemed less tolerant than McLane -- but were resigned to the inevitable.
"Spider-Man on the bases . . . bah humbug," wrote another. "I hope they all choke."
Other baseball purists were equally vehement in their opposition to the idea. Former commissioner Fay Vincent called the plan "inevitable but awful."
"There has to be a line drawn somewhere," he said. "I'm not sure where it is."
Heath reported from Washington. Staff writer Greg Sandoval in Washington contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company