Field of Dreamy PR

The sport of baseball got its reputation as a "Field of Dreams," in part, because the game is played outside of time. There is a nominal starting time, but no game clock. Once endorsement deals became as fashionable as designer steroids, everything else went up for sale. Last week, reports Richard Sandomir, the Chicago White Sox literally sold their starting time for $500,000 per year, so that convenience store chain 7-Eleven could get a little more PR. For the next three seasons, the approximately 50 night games on Chicago's South Side will be scheduled to begin at exactly 7:11 p.m. "Every time the media announces the game's start time it will be a gentle reminder of our sponsorship," 7-Eleven spokesperson Margaret Chabris said of the games. In 2003, the White Sox sold stadium naming rights to U.S. Cellular for $68 million, upon which the Chicago wireless service provider's nameplate replaced iconic Comiskey Park (named for the former team owner and ballplayer). There was no word at press time whether players will also be required to "Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven" or sip on a Slurpee before they step up to the plate.


Just in case you haven't been watching or listening to baseball recently, almost everything is for sale these days: the starting lineups, pitcher changes, etc. I attend 15-20 Sox games/year and the night games (except the Friday 7:30 starts) usually begin around 7:06 or 7:07. What's the big deal about a few extra minutes?

I'm not crazy about all of this commercialism but this seems to be a minor infraction. I may call the ballpark "The Cell" at times but that's as close as I'll get.