Topic: Sports & Entertainment

Spiderman Whiffs!

Six-tenths of a bravo to the baseball fans of America for making a strong statement about the increasing rate of “value warp” in our society. Baseball’s ridiculous plot to turn all the bases in every home park into red and blue “Spiderman II” logos on the day of the movie’s release was foiled when fans erupted in a flood of outraged e-mails decrying baseball’s willingness to sell its tradition and integrity for the almighty dollar. But fans, and the American public, have been accepting a corrosive measure of greed and commercialism in equally egregious forms for quite a while.

A few of many, many, examples:

  • “Historic Fenway Park,” as the Boston Red Sox like to call it, was topped with 50 foot high coke bottles in exchange for advertising dollars.

  • The San Diego Padres, who had named their park “in eternal gratitude” after the sportswriter who led the fight for major league baseball in the city, Jack Murphy, changed its name to the euphonious “Qualcomm Field” in exchange for a couple million dollars. Their new stadium is named after Petco.

  • Alex Rodriguez’s attempt to give up some of his salary to escape the Baseball Hell of Texas was vetoed by baseball’s player union, which said that it was a violation for a player to give up salary dollars without receiving compensating enhancements to his contract, making the clear statement that quality of life and the ability to work and live where one wants was not sufficient to offset the inherent glory of several million dollars.

We could go on, but it’s too depressing. Baseball and its fans have been gradually embracing the message that tradition, honor, gamesmanship and professionalism are all on sale for the right price. Occasionally someone or somethingÂ…Pete Rose, SpidermanÂ…will provoke a principled stand, but these are just blips, barely registering a head wind as America barrels toward complete venality.

If anything, even values, is for sale if the offer is rich enough, then there is no protection against corruption. Now America’s most idealistic sport is ready and willing to sell its hallowed image as a billboard for the Web-slinger, Kirsten Dunst and Doctor Octopus. Just because it’s so stupid doesn’t mean it isn’t ominous.

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