Before the "rolling rally" parade for our beloved Red Sox, let us pause for a moment to lament the crass highjacking of the World Series by the relentless forces of cheap commercialism and down-our-throats branding by Major League Baseball.
Having teams wear uniforms is a part of the game. Having singers wear them is absurd. Yet there was Sunday night's performer of the national anthem, a country singer (who the Rockies P.A. announcer assured was very famous but with whom I was not familiar) wearing a World Series jacket as she honored America. Ditto for the foursome that warbled "God Bless America" the night before. (Whether he refused to don one of MLB's silly jackets or wasn't asked, James Taylor handled the Anthem duties before Game 2 at Fenway in a dignified blue blazer.) To all the Really Smart People at Major League Baseball: We know this is the World Series. That's why we're watching. We don't need every person who appears on-screen to be wearing a placard telling us that.
Speaking of of advertising placards, we also all know that Chevrolet is a big MLB sponsor and that they put up big money to have their name attached to the World Series Most Valuable Player award. The TV announcers could have even told us when the winner was announced last night that the MVP award is "sponsored by Chevrolet, maker of the hottest new car for 2008, the [fill in name of newest innanely named model and cut to camera shot showing the same]." Why in the world do they have to give the MVP recipient not one, but two, brand new Chevies for his outstanding play? None of this is to disparage MVP Mike Lowell, who is completely deserving of the honors -- and seems like a great guy to boot. But I'll bet dollars to donuts that he and the missus already own a car or two. And if they need a new one, they can probably spring for it on their own. Lowell makes $9 million a year. Why not announce that Chevrolet is donating a van or two, in his name, to some worthy youth clubs in Boston?
There is something more than a little off-putting about the unyielding commercialization of the American pasttime, and the showering of millionaire ballplayers with cars they don't need. But I guess we're supposed to feel like we're all in on the action now: Tomorrow we get our taco.