A basic tenet in baseball is that chicks dig the long ball. So, historically, have marketers. But given the ongoing questions over steroids and their use by the biggest of boppers, sponsors may be in need of a new kind of hero. Step up to the plate, Craig Biggio. The Houston Astros second baseman is on pace to break the all-time record for being hit by a pitch. Going into Friday’s action, Biggio had taken one for the team 262 times, only five short of the modern-day record of 267, held by Don Baylor. (The all-time record for getting plunked is 287, held by Hughie Jennings, a Hall of Famer who played in the 1890s.) While lacking the drama and beauty of the home run, taking a 90-mph fastball to the back is certainly worthy of its own measure of respect, given its inherent connection with admirable qualities like self-sacrifice and toughness in the face of pain. Sponsors ought to be lining up. How about Maaco (“My car’s been dinged almost as many times as I have, but with Maaco, it still looks brand new”) or Advil (“A couple tablets before the game, and I don’t care if Nolan Ryan drills me”). It’s time for the quintessential “scrappy infielder” to cash in on commercials, if not chicks.
—Posted by Trevor Jensen