In pretty much the most random thing ever, former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader has now turned his everwatchful eye to the important issue of... obnoxious commercial sponsorship during baseball games. Specifically, Nader does not appreciate the seemingly endless array of sponsorships and advertisements during the broadcast of New York Yankees games on WCBS radio in New York. So, he did what Grandpa Simpson would do, and wrote a strongly worded letter to the organization. From Richard Sandomir in the New York Times...
In a letter Friday to team executives Randy Levine and Brian Cashman, Nader listed 22 in-game ads that ran during the June 1 Yankees-Tigers game; he said they served to “disrupt the flow and excitement of the game broadcast and undermine your responsibilities as a guardian of the national pastime.”
WCBS is paying the Yankees $14 million this year to carry the Yankees, which puts pressure on the station to find advertising revenue in every nook of its broadcasts. The in-game ads are nothing new and have become almost de rigueur on radio and television sportscasts.
Incredibly, there's nothing in the Times that makes note of Nader's thoughts on John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman as broadcasters. If you're wondering what in the world Ralph Nader has to do with sports, he is the founder of the fan advocacy group League of Fans, described as "a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to encourage social & civic responsibility in sports industry & culture." Who knew? Nader has campaigned or advocated for nearly everything under the sun, so maybe this story shouldn't be all that shocking. He does have a point with some of the ridiculousness of the advertisements, like Geico sponsoring the 15th out of the game and the National Anthem even having a sponsor. However, reading advertisements is a part of every single sports broadcast in every single medium, so this is never changing any time soon.
It is nice to dream about a potential Ralph Nader vs John Sterling debate though.