Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best Baseball-Reference Sponsorships, 2010 Edition

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen! Last year my humble little blog received national attention for a post I made called "The Best of Baseball-Reference's Sponsorship Comments." It was linked by Big League Stew, Rob Neyer, Baseball Think Factory...shoot, the sucker went viral! It was one of my proudest moments, because after several quiet months of independent blogging I suddenly had readers as well as commenters! I'm eternally grateful to those who linked it, and to the sponsors whose cleverness I was privileged to spotlight.

That post went up exactly one year ago today, so I decided it was time for Part 2. Some of the sponsorships from last year's list are still around, while others have expired, but either way, none of them will be eligible this time. Reruns are boring, and besides, there were a ton of great new ones this year.

Since my "honorable mentions" post didn't get as much attention as I'd hoped, I thought I'd include the ones that barely missed the cut here. Though there are many more I could've listed, in the interest of space I'll limit it to my favorite eight. Here's the Just-Short Crew:

Eric Gagne
Review WCW Anonymous Sponsor sponsor(s) this page.

It is time to give Chris Sabo back his goggles Eric. CAREER OVER
Nice. Pro wrestling-style trash-talk and an old-school ballplayer reference. Two early-30's flameouts for the price of one.

Bobby Keppel
kcchia80 sponsor(s) this page.

If nothing else, he will always be remembered for winning Game 163 against the Tigers. Sure, he probably hit Brandon Inge, and sure, the pitch he got Gerald Laird to swing at for strike 3 was a mile out of the strike zone. But, hey, you won the game.
Sheesh. Talk about damned by faint praise!

Steve Adkins
I have no recollection of your existence. sponsor(s) this page.

Questions: Why was I so devoted to a team this terrible? Why do I have no memory of this guy at all? And why did he think the best use of his Ivy League degree was walking more than a batter per inning?
In the 20 years since Adkins stunk it up for the Yankees we're still waiting for a good pitcher to come out of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jeff Liefer
A broken door handle sponsor(s) this page.

"I don't want to be remembered as the guy who got stuck in the bathroom."
It would appear to be pure nepotism for me to include this one in the top ten, as Mr. Door Handle commented on last year's post to tell me I'd inspired him. Still, you can't deny that it's pretty funny.

John Lackey
Benedict Arnold sponsor(s) this page.

John Lackey won game 7 of the World Series as a rookie, and game one of the 2009 ALDS to begin a 3 game sweep. Then he betrayed the Angels for an 82 million dollar payout.
When even America's most infamous traitor thinks you're a dirty double-crosser, you know you're in bad company.

Corey Patterson
Walkoff Walk sponsor(s) this page.

Corey Patterson does a lot of things well. Batting leadoff is not one of them.
As adult narrator Kevin on The Wonder Years would say: "And there you have it."

Jason Schmidt
Darryl Abbate sponsor(s) this page.

The guy was an ace for the Giants, then signed with the Dodgers and got paid $45 million for just 3 wins. What's not to love?
Come to think of it, that did work out pretty well!

Rheal Cormier
Nofe sponsor(s) this page.

[To the tune of “King of Pain”] I grew up playing hockey but I changed my game I came south of the border to pursue my fame I’m the French-speaking lefty with the circle change And it is my destiny to be Rheal Cormier... Cormier... I will always be Cormier....
And now it's in your head. I couldn't resist mentioning this one because, well, who comes up with a Police song parody for a journeyman reliever? This Nofe person must be a true original.

So bravo, guys (or girls, for all I know). Maybe next year you'll find your way into the top ten! Speaking of the top ten, let's get to them now!

10. Willie Keeler
Phil Dellio sponsor(s) this page.

My whole problem when I used to play: I hit it where they were, if at all.
As a fellow terrible athlete, I know exactly how Mr. Dellio feels. How clever though, to take Keeler's famous quote ("Hit it where they ain't") and present the flipside so many more of us are familiar with. Hey, some of us were born to play the game, and some of us were born to pass on our appreciation of the game to others. It's not so bad on this end.

9. Brian Wilson
Mitch Williams sponsor(s) this page.

I'm still picking the Phillies to win in 5 games
I've noticed something in recent years: The San Francisco Giants just might have the funniest fans in baseball. I'm serious. It seems like every time I come across a Giant blog, website, BB-Ref sponsor, etc. I find myself chuckling. I hope they don't lose their edge now that their team finally has a World Series trophy. Self-deprecating pessimism can go a long way.

This message brings back memories of 2005, when we Sox fans fed off much of the same media disrespect. We also got Steve Perry to sing "Don't Stop Believin'" at the victory rally and busted a substantial drought, so the whole experience must've been déjà vu for Aaron Rowand and Juan Uribe.

8. Ryan Doumit
An Anonymous Supporter sponsor(s) this page.

Even though it's his position, let's be real; calling Doumit a "catcher" is like calling diarrhea "constipation"
Doumit's never had much credibility as a backstop, and it looks like he'll have to change positions before too long if he hopes to remain in the majors. This anonymous fan, employing a colorful simile, takes it a step further by claiming that Doumit is the exact opposite of a catcher. What is our friend Ryan then, if he's the acid to catching's base? Let's see...it means he can't call pitches, handle balls thrown his way, guard the plate, throw out baserunners...I guess he's either a designated hitter or a pinch-runner, then?

7. Joe McGinnity
Breckerplace sponsor(s) this page.

There's no Iron Man 2
Ideally, we'd have a unique appreciation for each of our Hall of Famers. It's more special when a player represents something extraordinary, whether it be a superlative achievement or a rare attribute that makes him induplicable. Joe McGinnity may be a lower-tier Hall of Famer, but be does have one thing that distinguishes him from the pack: the nickname "Iron Man." Why, it conjures up the image of a superhuman stalwart whose arm could be pushed far beyond the limits of realistic expectation! Indeed, McGinnity was a workhorse, pitching over 40 games and 300 innings all but one season of his ten-year career, exceeding 50 and 400 twice.

Cal Ripken may share the nickname, but in this era of pitch counts we look back on a hurler who could wear the "Iron Man" moniker with awe. McGinnity's place in baseball history is secure because unlike his cinematic nicknamesake, there is no much-hyped sequel.

6. Eugenio Velez
The McCoven sponsor(s) this page.

When sponsoring a profile, I have to be focused. I was focused. The thing is, it happened.
Confused? So was I at first. Seeing as how this message linked to the legendary McCovey Chronicles though (sponsors of last year's #1), I knew there had to be a really funny joke in there somewhere.

Fortunately, I got to the bottom of it: Back in April, Velez misplayed a Shane Victorino fly ball in extra innings which allowed a crucial insurance run to score. When discussing it with reporters afterwards, Velez's comment was: “In that situation, I have to be focused. I was focused. The thing is, it happened.”

It all makes sense now. To lose is one thing, but to lose because of such an embarrassing miscue? Maddening. There's not much a fan can do about it, except...sentence the player to a year of humiliation by posting a variation of his inarticulate, borderline-nonsensical postgame remark on his BB-Ref page! Like I said above: Giant fans are a witty bunch.

5. 1903 New York Highlanders
Burlin White sponsor(s) this page.

What could be worse than stealing another city's team? Fitting start for such a "classy" organization.
Before you say anything, yes, I know there's some debate over whether the New York Highlanders were in fact connected with the old Baltimore Orioles. I'm also aware that the Baltimore franchise was a mess and that moving it to New York made financial sense for the American League. Still, we non-Yankee fans have been beaten over the head with this notion that the Yankees epitomize "class" for such a long time that you can't blame us for wanting to puke every time we hear it. Sometimes a questionable-but-not-completely-meritless accusation is a small counterargument we can cling to. To this sponsorship message I say: Ich bin ein Burliner!

4. Gustavo Molina
Howard Megdal sponsor(s) this page.

WARNING: This is not an authentic Catching Molina Brother.
It's brilliant because it provides a necessary service. I still remember the first time I became aware of this player's existence. I was following a White Sox game on MLB Gameday and a name in the live box score caught my eye. "Molina? Catcher? Could it be?" I thought. Excited, I immediately scoured the internet until I received the disappointing confirmation that there wasn't a fourth Molina sibling in the big leagues. In the event of any future misplaced excitement, one need only visit Gustavo's BB-Ref page to see the distinctive yellow certificate of inauthenticity.

3. Brad Mills
A Friend in the Bronx sponsor(s) this page.

General Mills and Minute Maid Park. First in cereal, first in juice and fifth in the NL Central.
I love it. Clearly it's a play on the old Washington Senators vaudeville joke: "First in war, first in peace and last in the American League." It's a shame the Astros finished in fourth place, or it would've fit perfectly. We have to rank the Central teams by their Pythag if we want Houston to come in fifth. Perhaps "General" Mills is on his way to becoming the new Mike Scioscia.

2. Kevin Joseph
James Kunz sponsor(s) this page.

Without your clutch hold on 8/15/02 (2 runs in 0.2 innings of a 11-5 STL victory) we may well not have won the division. Go Kevin Joseph!
Just drips with sarcasm, doesn't it? This long-forgotten middle reliever, with only eleven big league appearances to his name, earned his one career "hold" in what ironically may have been his worst outing for the 2002 Cards. Is it any wonder no one really gives a crap about that superfluous statistic? Oh, and in case you were curious, the Cardinals had a four-game division lead that day and went on to win the NL Central by 13 games. With this sponsorship message, Kevin Joseph's little-viewed page becomes a shrine to his inconsequentiality.

1. Pat Bourque
Grant Sbrocco sponsor(s) this page.

In 1972 at the tender age of 9 I heard Jack Brickhouse say "and Pat Bourque is looking for a bat" to which I shouted at the television "I hope he doesn't find one" to this day I still get tickled when I remember this great moment in Cubs History
Oh, the joys of self-amusement. I know many a joke I've told can now be found in the "ones only I laughed at" file. Judging by the description here, little Grant's joke was of the same variety. No matter. I don't blame him for being proud to this day of that spontaneous rejoinder (and elevating it to the level of a landmark moment for the Chicago Cubs franchise) because, well...I'm still proud of my own wisecracks too. Even when no one else laughs, deep down you know that if someone with the right sense of humor had been present there would've been guffaws all around. I know I laughed when I first read this message, so Grant, if you're reading this: You're not alone, buddy.

It was a lot of work putting this post together, but it was worth clicking through an endless number of pages to uncover these various gems. Think you can come up with something better? Sponsor a page on Baseball-Reference and you just might see it here this time next year!


  1. Fred McGriff's is pretty funny for its absurdity.

  2. TheCount: Indeed it is:

    "His stats below are wrong. Fred McGriff hit one million home runs in his career. I believe that makes him the all time record holder."

    There were several I could've included for their absurdity. I think it's more fun when there's a joke in there to get though. If McGriff's does have a joke attached to it and isn't just a silly non sequitur, it went over my head.