NEW YORK -- A firestorm of controversy has spelled
doom for Major League Baseball's plan to place artwork for the
movie "Spider-Man 2" on bases in ballparks the weekend of June
One day after unveiling the plan as part of a reported $3.5
million marketing deal, MLB reversed itself and announced
Thursday that the promotion will be limited to signs in stadiums
and trailers that will be shown on video boards.
"The bases were an extremely small part of this program;
however, we understand that a segment of our fans was
uncomfortable with this particular component and we do not want
to detract from the fans' experience in any way," MLB president
and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy said.
The New York Yankees almost immediately scoffed at the promotion
and announced they would put the ads on bases at Yankee Stadium
only during batting practice and only for one game instead of
the intended three.
Baseball purists decried the plan, with former Commissioner Fay
Vincent calling it "inevitable but awful."
Just a day after DuPuy dismissed such criticism as "misplaced,"
Major League Baseball and Columbia Pictures reversed course.
"After some thought and input from fans and the press, we
decided not to place the logo on the bases," Commissioner Bud
Selig said. "Contrary to what people think, we are very
sensitive about what we put out there."
Describing himself as a "traditionalist," Selig noted that
advertising was all over ballparks in the 1930s and 1940s.
"At old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, there used to be a sign
advertising Abe Stark suits," the commissioner said. "If a
player hit the sign, he got a suit from Abe. I imagine that
Duke Snider picked up a suit or two."
"Spider-Man 2" opens June 30, and the June 11-13 weekend was
picked because it features interleague play, which typically
draws bigger crowds.