Playing the Field: Team branding and the end of lingerie football

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The Yankees and Jay-Z’s clothing line Rocawear agreed to a partnership for the 2012 baseball season. It’s a match made in heaven. I mean who could forget that 2009 World Series where Hova and Alicia Keys stole the show with their renditon of “Empire State of Mind.” Some point to A-Rod. Others to Hideki Matsui. Or even Pedro Martinez … but we all know that song was the impetus to the Yankees beating the Phillies and claiming their 27th world championship.

Anyway, the announcement got us thinking … what other fashion/franchise combos would be good for business, or at least give them a Billy Mays-style boost. Here’s our list:

1. Will Smith/Phillies: The Fresh Prince is a Philly native, West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days — and while he doesn’t have an established clothing line, rewind those old episodes of his hit TV show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Can you imagine Hunter Pence in an inverted Bel-Air Prep sport coat doing the Carlton dance? How about Juan Pierre in a stylish Malcolm X T-shirt vibing with Aunt Viv? No?! Then, surely you can envision Shane Victorino in a flipped or side-winded baseball cap doing the Peacock Strut.


2. Grunge/Mariners:
Kurt Cobain is no longer with us, but his memory lives on. Certainly Ichiro Suzuki could sport a sweet flannel, some Doc Martens, semi-baggy jeans and maybe even a beanie. This works two-fold because a.) no one cares about the Mariners (for proof, why else would MLB send them and the equally unwatchable Athletics to Japan for fake Opening Day?) and b.) our sources tell us that Ichiro does a mean “Spells Like Teen Spirit” on the karaoke machine.

3. Dodgers/Pitchers: L.A. just got bought by a rich ownership group that happens to include a certain someone who beat AIDS (Magic Johnson). Bottom line, they have lots of money to throw around, money that could easily buy some guys in new uniforms, a style all their own. Imagine Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Dan Haren — all free agents after the 2012 season, all game-changers — in Dodger blue … now that’s a fashion statement.

BONUS FRANCHISE … the New England Patriots and Zubaz: We admit that we didn’t even know Zubaz was still peddling their team-inspired, zebra-striped pants. We figured they went the way of the Zack Morris cell phone. Until we saw Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski sporting them on spring break. Whether he was funneling beer bongs with his bros, hitting on co-eds or hanging at the Playboy Mansion, Zubaz was the official sponsor of the Gronk’s pants party. Time for Tom Brady to jump on board, if Gisele will allow it.

Money, money, money

Ain’t just like that LeBron James. Ain’t just like D-Wade.

Back around the NBA All-Star game, the self-anointed king of basketball proclaimed that maybe if he was compensated he would participate in the slam-dunk competition. Not surprisingly, his puppet master, Dwyane Wade, wants the same thing to compete in the Olympics. Wait, did Gabrielle Union put D-Wade up to this?

Said Wade: “We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated.”

Those comments came after the Heat game Wednesday night. On Thursday, he quickly backtracked (read: got a phone call from Pat Riley) and released a statement saying, “I do not want to be paid to go to the Olympics.”

Two more reasons to cheer for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals.

The Sun will come out tomorrow

The Baltimore Sun is a beacon of journalistic integrity. Every fan of “The Wire” knows that. But apparently their sports desk needs a little help. The Sun presumably threw in some filler copy as they awaited the Predators-Red Wings recap — and never replaced it.

The recap simply read: type here

Apparently, Gus doesn’t work the copy desk on Thursdays.

Say it ain’t so

The Lingerie Football League is shuttering U.S. operations until April 2013. This is the biggest bitch-slap since Rick James punked Charlie Murphy.

Who will PETA get to fight cruelty to animals now? Must protect fur …

Worse yet, where will suspended and ousted coaches go to rebuild their images and careers?

We — and by we I mean the entire country — were really looking forward to the 2012 Lingerie Bowl in Las Vegas, when Sean Payton’s Philadelphia Passion squad went bra-to-bra with Bobby Petrino’s Los Angeles Temptation team. Now, that’s fantasy football.


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