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How the Other Half Lives
by Derek Smart
One of the fun things about the playoffs for me is when I listen to other team's games during work hours over my MLB.com Gameday Audio subscription (that's not meant to be a promotion, and I know, I should probably get myself an XM subscription, but I just can't justify the expense to myself). I should do it more during the regular season, but I just don't, and in failing to do so I miss some good stuff.
It's an opportunity to get to know other places a little more, albeit in a cursory and superficial way, but even so there can still be some illuminating moments. Perhaps not surprisingly, these moments come less from the broadcasts themselves than from the commercials between innings.
For example, if someone from outside Chicago was listening to a Cub broadcast during the year they'd likely get the idea from the preponderance of Old Style adverts that this is a beer obsessed fan base, drunkards all, hopelessly addicted to lousy baseball and even lousier brew.
I could argue that such a thing is merely the nature of advertising during sporting events, and I'd be at least partially right, but sadly, all it takes is one trip to Wrigley Field in the middle of summer to confirm the inferred stereotype (or, I suppose, I trip to my living room, but that's not on the agenda).
Which leads me to what I heard yesterday on the Cardinal broadcast of Game 2 of their series with the Padres. I can't remember the brand, and I was unable to find a link, but please take my word for it when I say there was a commercial for a hand sanitizer between innings, and not only that, but it was billed as the official hand sanitizer of the St. Louis Cardinals.
I don't know that I've ever heard or seen an ad for a hand sanitizer during a sporting broadcast before yesterday, and it was the degree to which it felt misplaced that drew my attention to it. Perhaps not Summer's Eve misplaced, but out of its element nonetheless.
And truthfully, and while there are some easy, if likely erroneous, conclusions to draw, I haven't the faintest clue what that little radio spot might mean - I've never been to St. Louis so I'm not in a position to judge, and besides, while the parts of Chicago that the city government cares to acknowledge are really quite well-kept, it's still far from a clean-room out there.
So, I leave it to you, dear readers, to help me understand the deeper meaning attached to what I've heard, or to regale us all with stories of your own out-of-town-oddball-adverts. Fill the comments with your wisdom, and please, like hands all over St. Louis, keep it clean.
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Just a quick programming note: I plan to start some 2005 post-mortem soon (specifically, a position by position breakdown of what happened, and what needs to happen), but my intent right now is to hold off until after the playoffs, both to give me time to get started so that there isn't a huge publication gap once posting of the series begins, and in deference to the postseason itself.
In the meantime, while there will still be posting, it's likely to be light, if for no other reason than because there's little in the world of Cub to comment on at the moment. So, while there might be a dearth in the short term, know that there is work going on behind the scenes to ensure that the winter months here at Cub Town are not a baseball free period.