Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let 'Em Hit Gold

'My Man Godfrey' poked fun at the wealthy.
Baseball is serious about playing with gold.
Let 'em hit gold.

No, that is something Marie Antoinette said. It's what Major League baseball said today when it announced gold-infused baseballs would be used in this year's Home Run Derby the night before the All-Star Game.

Maybe it shouldn't surprise me that a sport played by millionaires on teams owned by people who are really wealthy would have lost touch with the average fan. You know, the ones who are struggling is this economy to make ends meet. The one who love the games, who spend the money on tickets, memorabilia, apps, and cable and computer subscriptions to see games.

The final round of the Home Run Derby on Monday night will be played with baseballs with 24-karat-gold-infused covers. The balls cost about $150 each, and MLB proudly points out that the lucky fans who catch the one will have a great souvenir. (Soon to be available on eBay!)

To me it seems absurd in the middle of the worst economy in more than seven decades to play a game (and one designed by the marketing department at that) with baseballs covered in real gold. Yes, I understand that the Boys & Girls Clubs of America gets a nice donation for every one of the balls that is hit over the will. But that charitable tie-in is not new.

What is new is playing a game with a symbol of greed and avarice.

The image of golden baseballs being launched into the stands seems like something out of a Depression-era movie. You know, like "My Man Godfey," where a rich guy pretends to be a bum and gets scooped up as part of a scavenger hunt. But that was a parody. Rich people searching for poor people to win a contest. The very idea!

But I suppose any sport that would think playing with gold baseballs is a good idea probably would not realize how silly it looks.

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