It looks like Emery Worldwide air freight's latest pitch is a hit.
The company, capitalizing on baseball's notorious pine-tar-bat affair, took out full-page ads in newspapers around the country yesterday to boast that it was Emery that shipped the bat back to its owner, Kansas City Royal slugger George Brett, after league President Lee McPhail ruled last week that a home run Brett had hit against the New York Yankees on July 24 counted even though there was too much pine tar on the bat.
The one-time-only ad, showing a replica of the bat and the box it was shipped in, carried the headline: "The American League Had to Trust Someone to Deliver in a Sticky Situation."
The ad followed the company's advertising theme that businesses trust Emery to do their shipping. "It's a very successful campaign, and this sort of fit in very nicely," an Emery spokesman said.
Emery officials said yesterday they seemed to have won quite a few fans with the ad. "We're getting an extraordinary reaction. I'm amazed," the company spokesman said. "Our sales people love it. It's gotten enormous recognition."
That Emery got the bat was no accident. The company offered its pinch-hitting services to the American League as soon as it heard the bat had to be delivered last week from New York, where McPhail had inspected it, to Detroit, where Brett and the Royals were playing the Tigers.
"We didn't care who did it, as long as it got there," said Robert Fishel, secretary of the American League. "We didn't choose anybody, really. They initiated it. It was really very clever of them." Emery did not charge the league for the delivery, he added.
McPhail said the league did not ask for any compensation for the ad, although it got to approve the copy.
The Emery spokesman said that, although the bat flew on one of Emery's regular flights, "I'm sure it got special care."
Emery wasn't the only air freight company to take a swing at the American League's business. "After Emery called, another of the overnight outfits called to see if they could do it," Fishel said.
The competitor struck out.