Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Shot Not Heard Round the World

If you're anything like me, you were brokenhearted when you heard the recent news about Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz's wrist injury. Not because of the effect on the Red Sox offense, mind you, but rather because of what this portends for one of the goofiest sports promotions of the year. State Farm Insurance teamed up with Major League Baseball to offer a sweepstakes where one winner gets a trip to the midsummer classic and an opportunity to call David Ortiz's shot at the Home Run Derby. That's right -- you get to point somewhere and have Big Papi attempt to hit a ball to that location. But now with Ortiz on the disabled list, will this mean no "called shot"?

Well, that possibility certainly hasn't stopped State Farm from talking about their promo. Here are screen grabs of this four-phase banner ad (found on espn.com today, click for larger view):

You know the place where calling Big Papi's shot meets. . . making a childhood dream come true.

Actually, I'm not familiar with that place, State Farm. In fact, that's kind of one of the most absurd sentences I've ever read.

I'm there.

This is a sloppy tie-in with State Farm's commercial campaign. Taken literally, it's pretty stupid, "I'm there"? No. You're not. One person who wins this sweepstakes is "there."

You could win a trip to the MLB 2008 All-Star Game and tell David Ortiz where to hit one at the Home Run Derby.

Okay, few things:

1. Is this really a "childhood dream"? Isn't the archetypal baseball dream calling your shot while actually playing baseball? Instead, according to State Farm, your childhood dream is standing next to David Ortiz (which, by the way, would make you look tiny) in front of 60,000 people and awkwardly pointing somewhere in the outfield stands. Thank you, State Farm, for granting my greatest wish! I sort of, in a small way, impacted a potential home run from David Ortiz, who is, apparently, my childhood hero. Wow!

2. Can David Ortiz just, like, hit a home run at a designated spot by sheer will? I know he's getting batting practice pitches here, and he's averaged almost 42 dingers/year in the last five seasons with the BoSox, but is he really that good? He's never finished better than fourth in the Derby. Like, what if I win and I want to point to the far corner of left field? What's he going to do about that? Just crank one the other way when he clearly isn't able to do that whenever he wants? Seems pretty nutty. Maybe if he gets like 30 pitches for that one homer?

3. Babe Ruth's famous called shot did not, in fact, take place at Yankee stadium. It was in a World Series game at Wrigley Field. So, why, exactly, is this promotion featuring a player not on Ruth's flagship team taking place at a stadium that isn't Wrigley?

The only upshot is that it's pissing off Yankees fans. Some are complaining that this demeans the legacy of Ruth, or The Stadium, or whatever. Bugger off, Yankees fans.

Finally, let me share a couple promotion details from the State Farm web site:

Grand-prize winner will meet David Ortiz* and call their shot at the State Farm Home Run Derby® for a chance to win a Chevy Tahoe hybrid & a 2009 MLB ticket package

Wow, that Chevy Tahoe sure as hell has nothing to do with baseball or insurance. Pretty random -- but wait! Is that an asterisk I see right there?

*Actual athlete to participate in "Call Your Shot" event to be designated by Sponsor and may not be athlete mentioned

"Note: David Ortiz Home Run Derby Contest does not actually feature David Ortiz."

So I guess that answers the question of whether they had a contingency plan in case Ortiz went on the DL, or if he sucked and didn't make the AS Game (see: "Minnesota, David Ortiz's career in".) I mean, they're an insurance company, so of course they thought of something, right?

And, to the future winner of the State Farm/David Ortiz Home Run Derby Contest: Enjoy calling Carlos Quentin's shot at the All-Star Game.

1 comment:

Windier E. Megatons said...

Just think of all the extremely recognizable players sure to feature in the Home Run Derby for the AL this year. Quentin... Josh Hamilton... maybe they can call where exactly Milton Bradley is going to punch the umpire after he strikes out.