Let’s be honest. Cubs and Sox fans have made a big enough deal about the six interleague games between the two teams over the years, that a prize for the team that won the most games each year wasn’t really on anyone’s radar.â†µ
The Crosstown Cup, then, is all about money — a sponsorship deal for the two teams. Great idea, right? A few more bucks for ballplayers?â†µ
Sure, but the teams chose the worst possible company, the one whose oil spill is currently fouling the Gulf of Mexico, BP. It’s awful timing more than anything else — the deal was apparently signed before the spill. And then there are the inevitable jokes; some suggested that maybe the cup could be used to try to cap the spill.â†µ
“We’re trying to stand behind our sponsor, but at the same time be respectful of what’s happening off the ballfield,” Cubs spokesman Kevin Saghy said. A BP spokesman did not return a call seeking comment, but representatives from both the Cubs and Sox said it was their understanding that BP’s planned promotion of the newly minted cup — a three-foot trophy of brass with a sterling silver overlay that took local jeweler Howard Kaplan three months to create — has been scaled way back in the wake of the oil rig explosion.â†µ
Smart move. But, says the Sun-Times article linked above, there could be positive things from this in the future:â†µ
“If BP manages to get everything under control in the Gulf, it could come back a year from now and use the BP Cup as a great platform to help get out the message that they have successfully handled the problem,” said Jim Biegalski, a Chicago-based senior vice president in the sponsorship consulting group for the Marketing Arm.â†µ
But right now, that’s a mighty big “if” for BP.â†µ
Let’s hope that “if” comes true. That would be good for both baseball and humanity.