Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MLB Merchandising: Play Ball

Now that the season is upon us - that's The Season, by the way - I'm getting a lot more e-mails from MLB and the Red Sox making sure I know about all of the wondrous merchandise I can buy.

Personally, my favorite items so far as the multi-lingual Red Sox caps and t-shirts.I would, in fact, probably go and pick up a Gaelic something or other this Sunday, since I have tickets. But they're predicting heavy rain, so I may have to take a raincheck on getting that Stocai Dearga cap. Or the Italian one: Calzini Rossi. Or the Spanish: Medias Rojas. (I can't do the Japanese or Hebrew ones justice here, but they're very cute.)

Whatever else you can say about Major League Baseball (in general), and the teams (in particular, I tip both of my current Red Sox caps - classic "B" and the one with the little red sock logo on it -  to the Home Town Team): THESE FOLKS KNOW HOW TO PUSH THE BRAND.

Not that I don't know how to push the brand, but in B2B technology (especially in smaller companies without a lot of means for brand-building), there just aren't as many fun opportunities as there are when it comes to baseball.

Admittedly, I've ordered (and used) my share of logo-ware over the year. I still carry my Softbridge tote from LL Bean, and wear the swell denim shirt we got everyone in the company when we unveiled our new logo. I use my Genuity backpack most days, and my husband has a nice long-sleeved IP Services polo. I still have an Interactive Data Corporation notepad with my name on it. Sure, the paper is yellowing, but I occasionally come across it and scrawl a note to myself on it.

But I can't hold a candle to MLB when it comes to the sheer, exuberant volume of team stuff there is out there.

I am in possession of the Spring catalog, which just arrived in the mail.

I'll admit I was a bit miffed that I had to get all the way to page 3 to find any gear with Boston on it. (The Yankees made it on page 2, with a little picture of Derek Jeter in an add for their premium TV and alerting service. I did take some fine-print comfort here. The "alert" pictured had a score of Bos 6 NYY 3 under it, and Jeter appeared to be flying out.)

The stuff you can buy! Camo t-shirts. Bobble-headed dolls. Schedule watches. Silk ties. Flip-flops. Boxers. Pencils. Pens. Bedding.  Street signs. Mr. Potato Head. The world's most hidesou reclining chair. Tiffany lamps. Lava lamps.

(Hey, I had a Genuity Black Rocket lava lamp at one point. It now belongs to my sister Trish. So: B2B Tech can be as much fun as MLB after all.)

I'll have to get me one of those Mr. Potato Heads for the Red Sox. Or should I get the Yankees one and let the potato rot?

My all time favorite MLB merchandise, however, was not in this spring's catalog.

It's the Major League Baseball themed caskets and urns from Eternal Image.

For many baseball fans, rooting for that special team was a lifelong commitment. That is the inspiration behind Eternal Image’s extraordinary line of urns and caskets, each individually reflecting one of the 30 Major League Baseball™ teams.

If you're not into baseball, they also have merchandise deals with the American Kennel Club, Precious Moments, and the Vatican. Something for everyone.

I posted on this last fall, in Playing Ball in the Great Beyond.

What can I say?

I love this game.

Hey, wasn't that the MLB tag line last year?

Jeez, they've even got me using their old tag line.

I told you these guys were good.

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