The 2009 MLB American League Championship series game two, between the Anaheim Angels and the New York Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium, should have been a classic.
In a pitching duel for the ages, the playoff game remained tied going into the 10th inning. Mariano Rivera took the hill after pitching four previous outs, and Major League Baseball fans, of all teams, licked their chops and rubbed their hands together to see if the infamous legend of a closer could whip his cutter in such a fashion that bats once again fell to his superhuman feats of physics. Rain brewed in New York.
The future Hall of Fame closer, Mariano Rivera, got the strikeout to end another amazing inning of edge-of-your-seat tied baseball, and as the ball was caught ‘- amidst the celebratory fist pumps of catcher Jorge Posada ‘- a tremendous Whistle went up on the loud speaker. It was the P.C. Richards classic, decades old, advertising slogan of a Whistle, and it played so loud that it was heard over the sound of the crowd, even on one’s television, before the inning ended in a commercial.
There was a modest hope, through sporadic watching of Yankees games throughout the season, and the playoffs, that the whistle was not really there. There was a part of the subconscious that shouted, it must be in your head, or be some loud fan sounding off after the Yankees get a strikeout. No, it was clearly the P.C. Richards ‘Whistle’ advertisement polluting what was almost a classic moment in a playoff baseball game.
In order to keep the integrity of the New York Yankees organization the Steinbrenners built a new stadium and refused to auction off the name, instead calling it Yankee Stadium. In order to keep the organization’s integrity, the Yankees owners instead sold off the integrity of the sport itself. Every time a base is stolen by a Yankee player, ‘You Gotta Go to Mo’s Modells!’ is blasted over the loudspeakers, and every time a Yankee pitcher gets a strikeout the P.C. Richards ‘Whistle’ slogan sounds too.
The Yankees have flaunted advertising to a despicable degree, because signs one can look away from, but noise pollution is in your ears no matter what. This desecration of the game is bad enough in regular season play, but to pollute the playoffs as well? It is sacrilegious.
In an ironic twist, the commissioner’s office banned bases from being tagged up by ‘Spiderman’ advertising to save the game’s integrity, only after the Yankees refused to use them. How about Bud Selig reprimands and stops the Yankees multi-billion dollar business from further ruining classic baseball for the rest of us.