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Baseball purists cry foul over putting ads on jerseys

Baseball officials are talking to potential sponsors about displaying company logos on uniforms  

April 3, 1999
Web posted at: 9:08 p.m. EST (0208 GMT)

From Correspondent Cynthia Tornquist

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Major League Baseball is considering placing corporate advertisements on players' uniforms. But the notion of Mark McGwire stepping up to the plate plugging antacids is giving some baseball purists a major case of heartburn.

Baseball officials are talking to potential sponsors about displaying company logos on 1-inch-square patches, just large enough to be seen in photographs and television close-ups.

The only companies that would be barred from the program would be firms selling tobacco and alcohol, as well as media outlets.

Such advertising is not exactly new in the sporting world. NASCAR drivers wear suits peppered with ads, and soccer, golf and tennis players all wear caps and shirts bearing logos as they compete.

"It could be a tremendous revenue source," says Jared Weiss of Steiner Sports Marketing. "I can't image these guys are going to look like walking billboards."

But consumer advocate Ralph Nader is crying foul, firing off a letter of complaint to the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig.

"A lot of these big companies who would want to advertise on the backs or shoulders of players are in controversies. They're polluters. They're ripping off consumers," Nader said. "Does baseball really want to get involved in that kind of controversy?"

Some players don't seem to mind.

"We've been doing it since Little League, wearing stuff on our jerseys," says Michael Barrett of the Montreal Expos.

Baseball officials will not go into the details of the proposal. However, if it is approved, all 30 teams and their players are expected to get a piece of the revenue it generates.

y: The timelessness of America's pastime
April 1, 1999
McGwire's 70th home run ball being auctioned
January 12, 1999

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