Friday, November 18, 2011

The Best Baseball-Reference Sponsorships, 2011 Edition

Is it that time of year already? Well, the calendar says mid-November, so clearly it is! Yes, friends, it's time for Baseball Junk Drawer's annual list of the best Baseball-Reference sponsorship messages! Two years ago the first one earned me my 15 minutes of fame, and its followup last year fared respectably on the old hit counter. Regardless of how many readers they get me though, I love putting these things together, because they're just so doggone fun.

As always, entries that made the cut in previous years' editions are ineligible this time around. Fortunately for us, this year's crop of newcomers stepped up to the plate and delivered. Let's see what fine treats 2011 brought us, shall we?

10. 2009 New York Mets
MetsChokeAgain sponsor(s) this page.

At least this team decided to blow the season BEFORE Sept 1. We missed the drama and the obligatory September collapse and choke. M(y) E(ntire) T(eam) S(tinks)
The first time I read this it sounded to me like the ranting of a bitter Met fan. In that sense, the message works. After being eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the season two straight years, the 2009 Mets mercifully decided not to dangle any hope in front of their fans. This frustrated Citi Field loiterer bemoans his situation where a 70-win mediocrity of a season is in some ways preferable to a winning one. You have to feel for the poor guy a little.

After reading it again, I realized it could've been the work of a smack-talking Met-basher. In that sense, this message is just immature and pathetic. Since I can't be sure though, I'll choose to regard it as the former.

9. Eric Hurley
Breast Enlargement Dallas sponsor(s) this page.

Enhance your appearance today!
Obviously this is a generic ad which doesn't demonstrate any particular wit. The sheer absurdity of it, however, caught me off-guard. What exactly could've been the reasoning behind it?

This ad doesn't approach you with a business-like handshake humbly requesting your interest, it invites, nay, exhorts, you to "enhance your appearance today!" And just how do they propose you improve your looks? Why, with breast enlargement, of course! Now obviously, if you happen to be male, the likelihood of you needing this particular service is pretty slim. No issue here, though! There are tons of women who want to check the statistics of a former Rangers pitching prospect who made five starts and had his career derailed by injuries! Right?

8. Ryan Braun
Willard Meier sponsor(s) this page.

What's to say? This guy's just a fabulous player.
What's to say indeed? We can all agree Ryan Braun is one of the best players in the game today, so why on earth should this sponsorship be recognized as anything but a straightforward, unremarkable statement of fact?

Oh...wait a sec. You thought he was talking about the guy on the Brewers? The MVP candidate? The Hebrew Hammer? Nope. Not that guy. The other one. Yeah, there's another Ryan Braun. This other one pitched for the Royals in 2006-07 and put up an ERA of 6.66. I think we can all agree that he is not, by any definition of the word, a fabulous player. Pretty sneaky there, Willard.

7. Tony Campana
Matt sponsor(s) this page.

Brett Gardner ain't got nothin'. Well, except the ability to get on base.
The comparison is striking. Both are lefty speedsters. Both play strong defense in mainly left and center fields. Both hit .259 this year. Indeed though, Gardner has the advantage in that all-too-crucial on-base percentage category, as he knows how to take a walk (and gets the occasional extra-base hit too).

Life as a Cub fan is never easy, and sometimes all you can do is cling to whatever similarities exist between one of your guys and a better player on a more-heralded team.

6. Pretzels Getzien
Dave Velazquez sponsor(s) this page.

Pretzels is an unfortunately-forgotten player. In addition to once winning 30 games, his nickname was Pretzels. That is awesome. I want to name my future dog Pretzels.
Like so many men once they reach a certain age, Dave here has gotten that twinge of desire to be a dog owner. As do all men at this stage of life, he's taken to dreaming about the name he could bestow on this canine companion, and what it would symbolize to posterity. His choice? Pretzels. It has an air of fun to it as well as a salty, rough texture. Surely this pooch will be a rugged, rambunctious little fellow who frequently comes home covered in dirt, yet maintains his endearing lovability with every flea bath. Such a heartwarming message, this.

5. Eric Bruntlett
Dan Mitsakos sponsor(s) this page.

Thanks for the '08 World Series, the game-ending unassisted Triple Play, and spending Summer 2010 in Scranton.
Scoring the winning run in two World Series games and accomplishing a rare in-game feat are pretty darn cool. They don't, however, necessarily make one a worthwhile occupant of a roster spot. Despite Bruntlett's semi-noteworthy place in Phillies history, he probably still has to pay for his own drinks in the City of Brotherly Love.

4. Bowie Kuhn
Al Fansome sponsor(s) this page.

In the neck and neck race for worst commissioner of all time, Selig has forged a little ahead of Kuhn.
I used to defend Selig to some degree. I thought he was too-often maligned because he made an easy target, and that many of his critics were simply knee-jerk blamers of the guy at the top. With the recent move of the Astros to the American League (necessitating year-round interleague) and the expansion of the playoffs, I'm fully and permanently in the anti-Selig camp. All I have to say to this message is "Preach it, brother!"

3. Fernando Rodney
Michael Shea sponsor(s) this page.

Fernando, save everyone their time. Next time just walk up and place the ball on a tee.
So I think what he's trying to say here is...Fernando Rodney is not a very effective pitcher. Tony Reagins' legacy lives on!

2. Bobby Cox
Robert B sponsor(s) this page.

I wouldnt let him manage the night shift at a day care center
Lost amid the Bobby Cox lovefest last year were the complaints he faced throughout his career about his teams frequently underachieving. Much of it was undoubtedly a case of polite people not wishing to speak ill of the soon-retiring. Now that Cox's farewell tour is over, he's become fair game, and guys like Robert here aren't afraid to take it to the online statistical resources. Old Bobby shouldn't feel too bad about this rather scathing comment, though. Lots of great managers would've made lousy security guards.

1. Ozzie Canseco
Baseball's first 40/40 man! sponsor(s) this page.

Canseco was a feared hitter and a great Celebrity Apprentice contestant. Err..wait. The Canseco brothers have fooled me again!
This one wins the award for making me laugh the hardest, which pretty much means I have to put it at #1.

I beg to differ about The Celebrity Apprentice though. Jose Canseco (or was it Ozzie?) was not a great contestant by any stretch of the imagination. The only thing that redeems his appearance was that immortal scene where he played catch with Gary Busey.

Sigh...another week of wading through BB-Ref sponsorships for my annual post, and it's already all over. Time flies when you're having fun. I realize that the prices on Baseball-Reference have gone up in the last year, but there are tons of reasonable options out there for those on a budget. If you want to keep the ultimate resource for the greatest game ever invented going, please consider sponsoring a page. Who knows? You might see yourself here next year!


  1. Nice to see the annual update! Maybe not quite as many gems as in the past few years, but good nonetheless. The "Ryan Braun" would be my #2, but I just LOVED the '09 Mets one! The was the best, in my opinion.

  2. I'm glad you liked it, David! Whenever I put these lists together I wonder if other people will find humor in the same things I do, and if some of the lower-ranked ones wouldn't be particularly funny to most readers. It's good to know that's not the case here!

  3. By the way, have you seen Justin Verlander's sponsorship lately? Pretty amazing. I was looking at it just now. It's from SB Nation Detroit, and it reads:

    "Because Mike Maroth retired."

    That's classic stuff. Any time we get a good reference to Maroth, it's worth noting, I think.

  4. Yeah, I saw that one. It's pretty good, but I didn't think it was quite good enough to make the list.

    Time sure flies. It seems like just yesterday that Tigers were one of the worst-run organizations in baseball. That 2003 season was brutal.