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Washington Nationals In The News: Can Your Ballpark Be Green If It's Covered In Oil?

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How Green Is Your Ballpark?

There it was...Nationals Park, in a beautiful panaromic photo, spread out over the top of page 15 of the Sunday New York Times, on the second page of the "National" section, above an article by Bernie Becker entitled, "Baseball Team Clashes With Environmentalists Over Oil Company Advertising", which details the controversy surrounding the group Strike Out Exxon's attempts to get the Nationals to remove all advertising in Nationals Park from the ExxonMobil oil company, advertising which, Mr. Becker writes:

"...appears prominently on the left field wall and is frequently featured on the stadium's scoreboard."

To sum up the situation, the environmental activists believe that the oil company is investing in advertising throughout the stadium so that it can use the celebrated "green design" of the Washington Nationals new ballpark to bolster their own public relations campaigns regardless of whether or not the company itself is genuine in its concern for environmental causes, for as Mike Tidwell, who is identified in the article as, "a leader of Strike Out Exxon," explains:

"'The more environmental the Nationals make the park seem, the stronger the payday for Exxon,' Mr Tidwell said, 'It's an amazing perversion.'"

Alan Jeffers, identified in Mr. Becker's article as, "...a spokesman for ExxonMobile," says that the advertising serves as a means of, "...higlighting its(ExxonMobile's) commitment to energy efficiency," and argues:

"'It's an interesting dilemma,' Mr. Jeffers said, 'We get criticized for not doing enough for the environment, then get criticized when we do run an environmental campaign.'"

It's the motives of the campaign that the activists question, of course, and their own argument is fairly simple, and simply put by Mr. Becker, who writes:

"The protesters contend that ExxonMobile is using its recent campaign as a cover to lobby members of Congress who frequent the new stadium." 

An approach that even Strike Out Exxon's Mr. Tidwell admits, and obviously fears, is all too effective:

"'It's perfect politics,' Mr. Tidwell said, 'They get to associate their name with the goodness of baseball and environmental generosity." 

How is the ExxonMobil company to be judged? By their own actions or by their associations and public relations campaigns? That's the question, and it's not only Strike Out Exxon that challenges ExxonMobil's claims...

"The research director for Greenpeace, Kert Davies...," Mr. Becker writes:

"...said the oil company had spent more than $20 million in the past decade to finance groups that question links between human activity and climate change, a strategy the company began moving away from in the past two years."

As a Nationals' fan are you concerned, influenced, or in any way affected by the advertising featured throughout the stadium? Would you feel less inclined to travel to Nationals Park if ads featured throughout the ballpark and integrated into the "experience" of the game were sponsored by companies you did not support philosophically or whose motives you questioned? Can these currently small protests, or any protest of this nature, reach a critical mass, at which point the negative effects of accepting the advertisments would outweight the benefits of accepting any one particular company's money/ads? 

Strike Out Exxon's worst fear, however, or the "worst-case scenario" as Mr. Becker phrases it, "the renaming of Nationals Park after ExxonMobile."

On A Lighter Note:

This(Yester)-Day In Nationals' Franchise History...

According to the "This date in history" column of the Sunday Newark Star-Ledger, on this date, 7/27, in the year:

"1984 - Montreal's Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb for the most singles in a career with No. 3, 053, against the Philadelphia Phillies."

Rose, then 43, signed as a free agent with the Expos and hit .259 with 72 hits in 278 AB's, 6 doubles, 2 triples and 23 RBI's in 95 games, collecting not only his 3,053rd single, but also his 4,000th hit overall before being dealt back to the Cincinnati Reds on August 16th of that season.  Attachment_php_medium


Bring on the Phillies! The Nationals start a three game set Tuesday night. Til then...