So, let's just say that Barry Bonds does break Hank Aaron's home run record this year. It's not that crazy of a notion, you know; he needs 48, which is fewer home runs than Andruw Jones hit last year. How will you react? OK, let's rephrase that: If you had a multi-million dollar advertising budget at your disposal, how will you react? Do you celebrate? Do you want your name attached to Bonds?
Right now, it looks like the corporate sponsors are shying away, big time. Bank of America, one of MLB's biggest sponsors, says it wants no part of it. "We are longtime partners of baseball, and with their perception on drugs, I could stand on the roof and scream that this issue has to get resolved," said BofA's Cathy Bessant said at a Sports Business Journal conference yesterday. "Baseball has got to get the perception of drugs out of the sport. It matters. Cheating matters. It isn't OK to cork a bat. Cheaters shouldn't prosper."
irony amusing notion, for the moment, of someone in the financial services industry lecturing anyone on cheating, the reluctance — particularly in lieu of the news that MLB does plan on celebrating Bonds' achievement, if it happens — leads to an considerably bizarre situation. Remember those Mastercard ads after the Red Sox won the World Series? Think anyone will buy an ad against Bonds if he breaks the record? Even PepsiCo says its reaction to Bonds breaking the record will be "muted." Do you know how hard it is to get Pepsi to take a stance against you? They hired Jay Mohr!