Friday, December 10, 2004

The Dirt Dogs ID Card Chronicles Continue

One day, back in the 90s, I was watching a stand-up comedian on TV. He was a black dude whose name escapes me. He was doing a routine which went something like this:

"Did you know that in Arizona, they don't recognize Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthday as a holiday? You'd think at the very least they'd observe it just to get the day off from work. Man, I'd celebrate Hitler's Birthday if I got a day off for it."

My point is that Red Sox fans are getting a chance to pay 10 bucks in return for a bunch of stuff. The proof of puchase comes in the form of a card (not a tattoo, or chip in the brain; we've been over this). It's called a fan club. It's a way for an entity to give back to the people that support it. Or something.

Apparently, if the card was called the "Red Sox Fan Club" card, "we" (dirt dog) wouldn't be so mad. I know I'd be more offended if this thing was called "The EXTREME Red Sox Fan Card! Get Some!!!" But you know what? Like that comedian, I'd still buy it, because I'm getting a bunch of stuff in return, not because I feel the need to further prove that I'm a Red Sox fan.

I'm still missing how this is any different from buying a Red Sox T-shirt. When you buy one of those, you're getting something that "proves" to everyone that you are a Red Sox fan, by giving money to some store, which gets divided among that store, the company that made the shirt, MLB, the team, etc. (But not the slave laborers who probably hand stitched that shirt.) And the booteg shirts, which a lot of fans have--None of that money's going to charity, or the team. So wouldn't buying a T-shirt, or any other item with the Sox logo, go against the "Root for Free/We don't need no proof of fandom" ideology? Does dirt dog refuse to wear Red Sox T-shirts, too? I'm guessin' he's got a couple.

"But they STOLE our name," shouts the Nation. "Our man Dan Shaughnessy came up with 'Red Sox Nation'!"

Dan Shaughnessy came up with "The Curse of the Bambino," too. (Considering how much dirt dog loathes that title, the only thing more ironic than this in this whole story is the fact that dirt dog's Red Sox Nation ID card # is probably #0000001.)

When Marcia Brady joined the Davy Jones fan club, I bet she got a little card. Did she whine and say, "I don't need no CARD to prove I'm a Davy Jones fan!" No, she took the card, and look what happened: Soon she was the PRESIDENT of the Davy Jones fan club! And without that confidence of knowing she was Davy's number one fan, she may never have gotten him to go to the prom with her.

With his attitude, you know who dirt dog's gonna end up with? Mickey Dolenz.

But back to the lecture at hand...

The "card" is something you get that you keep in your wallet, unlike a T-shirt, which is prominently displayed on your torso for all to see. ("I don't need to PROVE I'm a fan!") And with the T-shirt, that's all you get. So if you get one--no, if you get a sweatshirt--no, let's go all out here, if you get the1941 Wool Red Sox Jacket, for upwards of 500 bucks, you get a big fluffy thing that you wear around, which seems to indicate that you want everyone to know you're a HUGE Red Sox fan. But if you get the card for 10 bucks, you get a piece of plastic that no one has to see, unless you purposely show it to them, AND you get a bunch of discounts on tickets and Gameday Audio (which some of us need because we can't see NESN because we're not considered part of New England even though we clearly are--I wonder if dirt dog will ever complain about that) and a bunch of other stuff.

And then the large canine goes and says what a great job the yankees did with their fan club. You think if the yankee fans had a name that they all called themselves, MLB wouldn't have slapped it onto the name of their fan club? Of course they would have. (Join the Frontrunners' Club Today!-heh heh)

And if he's really concerned about charity, well doesn't this money from the card deal go to the Sox, who give to the Jimmy Fund? Like I said about the T-shirts, much of that money goes elsewhere. So you're giving more money to charity in a roundabout way by buying this card/membership than you are by buying another piece of merch.

Also, wasn't there a BIG billboard that said Red Sox Nation (albeit in Morse Code) at Fenway Park? What was that, an Adidas ad, or New Era or something? The name has long been a marketing tool, I'm sorry to say.

But here's the most interesting line of dirt dog's take on this issue. He says, sarcastically:

"If you don't buy a card and get your ID number, well, I guess you are a phony fan on the outside looking in, no matter how long your family has given their heart, soul, and wallet to this team."

What's the key word there? Wallet. He's implying that one of the things you must do to prove your Red Sox fandom is to give the team your money. Well, here's his chance.

The large canine ... like that.

I think the problem with the card arises with the card's being dubbed THE OFFICIAL citizenship card of Red Sox Nation. If they had just called it a fan club card, or a discount card, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

And I don't know about you, but in my family, we've been avid Sox fans for nearly a century: their little gimmicky official citizenship card strikes the wrong chord, in light of my family members who spent their whole lives rooting for the Sox, faithfully, only to pass away without seeing a dear wish fulfilled--without seeing their Red Sox reach baseball's nirvana.

See? Put it in that light, and their flimsy plastic membership card doesn't look so cute and shiny.

It's just a step too far, that's all. Let them call it a discount card. They'll have no trouble then.

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