May 5, 2004
Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Commissioner of Major League Baseball
New York, New York 10167
Dear Commissioner Selig:
I am stunned by today’s reports that Major League Baseball is injecting advertisements onto baseball diamonds in ballparks across the country. For decades, fans have tolerated advertisements that encroach closer and closer to the baseball diamond, but to put ads on the actual bases goes one step too far.
Little leaguers deserve to see their heroes slide into bases – not ads. As a former minor-league baseball team owner myself, I believe such aggressive advertising undermines the character of America’s pastime at every level. Major League Baseball has a duty to keep baseball pure for future generations of Americans. By intruding on the baseball diamond itself, baseball’s profiteers are sacrificing too much.
The U.S. government recognizes the special contribution of baseball to our nation by granting MLB special anti-trust exemptions. This over-the-top commercialization of baseball undermines its value to our nation and potentially questions the need for MLB's special monopoly status.
At a time when so many Americans are risking their lives to protect our values and traditions, I would hope Major League Baseball would do everything possible to protect our national pastime. Before haphazardly placing advertisements on the baseball diamond, I hope you engage in a dialogue with fans. Please let me know if I can do anything to help you facilitate such a discussion.
George R. Nethercutt, Jr.