Now that the merchandise menace from the Cape Cod League has been neutralized, Major League Baseball can get back to more important items on their agenda - like threatening to sue an Illinois Little League over using MLB team names without expressed written consent.
(When money talks, Bud listens)
WBBM in Chicago pitches up foul news that baseball teams in the town of Tinley Park had to face a financial ultimatum from Bud Selig’s office over their uniforms - pay to use their names & logos, or pay for it in court.
A local company called SportStation had been supplying the Tinley Park teams with their baseball duds. Even though the unis didn’t sport any official logos, they did feature names like “Cubs”, “White Sox”, “Phillies”, etc.
But apparently even just words were too much for the Major Leagues:
Late last year, SportStation received a letter from MLB, noting that not only the logos but the team names were trademarked. The letter ordered the company to stop producing the uniforms.
“Does a league have a right to name a local team? Baseball is saying no. That’s flying in the face of 100 years of tradition,” said SportStation owner Dave Glenn, in business 35 years. “I go out of my way to make sure we use town names, so we make it clear this isn’t a Major League jersey.
“Now we’re told we can’t even do that. What it boils down to is the interpretation of the trademark.”
However, MLB would allow the Tinley Park teams to wear big league clothes - provided they buy the jersey from Majestic Athletic, official apparel supplier to Major League Baseball.
Of course, it’ll cost a little lot more - which doesn’t even include the expected MLB licensing fees.
Shameful? Yes. Surprising? Not at all. Come on, baseball is big business to Bud & the 30 other owners. Sorry, but there’s a profit to be had.
Yet, such a Scrooge-like situation can be a window of opportunity for some local minor league teams.
A few years ago, the Red Sox-affiliated Lowell Spinners embarked on a campaign to rid New England Little Leagues of any Yankees teams by turning them into Spinners squads - even offering to cover the cost for new uniforms.
Well, why not try the same tactic with Chicagoland leagues that can’t afford the MLB standard issue? This would be a great marketing promotion for such local minor league teams as the Kane County Cougars, Windy City Thunderbolts, Schaumburg Flyers or Joliet JackHammers.
The kids get baseball clothes, the teams get more exposure, and MLB gets it stuck to them - it’s a win-win-win!