August 11, 2007

Sharing 756 with the world: A one-act play about a man with a plan to save No. 756.

Act II, Scene I

At RISE: A young man in a Mets jersey stands in front of a boardroom filled with middle-aged men and women in suits. He shifts from foot to foot nervously and holds something tightly in his right hand. A distinguished man at the head of the table clears his throat.

DISTINGUISHED MAN: So, you say you have a proposal for us?

MURPHY: I do. I'd like you to rent me and this baseball for one year.

(general murmurs and quiet laughs from around the room)

DM: Why would we do that, Mr. Murphy? We already pay a princely sum to have the naming rights to the stadium where Mr. Bonds hit No. 756. PacBell has been mentioned in the news in the last seven days more than Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton combined.

We've also discussed the possibility of buying the ball from you and displaying it in our corporate headquarters, but have rejected that notion. We feel our customers would view it as wasteful spending.

MURPHY: I'm sure that's true, sir, but hear me out. What I'm proposing is a goodwill tour for the ball and myself, one that would generate immeasurable publicity and goodwill for Pacific Bell at a limited cost -- a cost of $2M.

(Startled grunts from those assembled. Murphy holds up the ball and the room settles)

DM: Mr. Murphy, did you think we didn't research the value of the ball? Todd McFarlane's ridiculous $3M purchase of Mark McGwire's 70th is a thing of the past. We feel you'd be lucky to get $500,000 for that.

MURPHY: I think I'd get somewhere in that vicinity, sir, and if you accept my proposal, that's exactly what I'll get. But I'm not selling you the ball, as I said. I'm renting it -- and myself -- to you. For one year.

See, this whole idea of putting the ball up for auction makes me uncomfortable. I know it's the best way to get the most value for the ball -- but what happens to it then? I'm a fan of the game, not some huckster. I want people to be able to enjoy it in at least some small part the way I have for the past week.

That's why I came to you. For $2M you get the ball -- and me -- for one year. We tour the U.S., Japan, Sierra Leone, wherever your public relations staff says we should go. We make a roadshow of it -- let people see the ball, get close to the ball. Maybe the Hall of Fame would get involved, make a History of the Homer caravan. Ruth's bat, Baker's cleats, Reggie's wristbands. And on the side of the semi is "Proudly Presented by PacBell".

At the outset, every newspaper and network in the country, maybe the world, would run a story about how PacBell is taking the ball around the world. Then each city's papers and stations would cover the events. You'd get one full year's worth of great publicity.

DM: Intriguing. But you said you wouldn't be selling us the ball. So you'd keep it?

MURPHY: No sir. At the end of the tour, you'd have two choices -- donate the ball to the Hall of Fame, or present it to Bonds before the last home game of the 2008 season.

It's the whole reason I'm doing this. I'd like to get some financial security out of this -- I'd be foolish not to do so. But I can also help out baseball, get the ball in the hands of someone who will deserve it and share it, and possibly help you out in the deal. Where's the downside?

DM: Why $2M? I thought you said you'd receive around $500,000 if we agreed to your proposal?

MURPHY: I would. You would also sign two cheques before I start the tour -- one in the amount of $500,000 to the charity of Barry's choice, and the other for $1M to the Negro League Baseball Players Association.

I do have one other request, though.

DM: What is that?

MURPHY: I'd like a job in your marketing department.

DM: (shakes head)

Pretty slick.

(turns to rest of room)

What do you all think?

(heads nod throughout room)

Son, I think we have a deal.

(lights fade and curtain closes)

posted by wfrazerjr to commentary at 03:43 PM - 0 comments

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