Michael Jordan with the Birmingham Barons in 1994. (AP)Just as the buzz surrounding Michael Jordan's 50th birthday celebration was beginning to subside, the Joliet Slammers of the Independent Frontier League are here to revive it with a creative publicity stunt.
It an announcement made by general manager Chris Franklin on Friday afternoon, the Slammers would like to offer Jordan a one-year contract with an invitation to spend the summer finishing his unfinished baseball business while wearing their uniform.
“Who knows how the book is written if there was no Major League Baseball strike in 1994?” Franklin said. “It worked out pretty well for Michael and basketball fans around the world, but we would like to offer MJ the opportunity to write the final chapter by playing baseball for the Joliet Slammers or, at the very least, honor him in a way nobody else has.”
The honor Franklin refers to would be the retirement of the No. 45, which Jordan wore while playing for the Birmingham Barons during his stint in the Chicago White Sox organization. But that's only if he doesn't accept the contract. If for some reason he actually considered it, here are a few of the key details the Slammers would be willing to include to get the deal done.
• A maximum Frontier League contract of $1,600 per month.
• $20 daily meal money.
• A host family if needed.
• A Loaded Luxury Suite for 23 people that includes all-you-can-eat and drink hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, mustard potato salad, baked beans, cookies and Pepsi products for 90 minutes every game.
• The team would look into purchasing the JordanCruiser, the famous bus that Michael “bought” for his former team.
In addition to those perks, the Slammers would have to make one more sacrifice in order for the deal to work.
“Again, we’re serious about giving Michael the opportunity to play professional baseball with the Slammers this summer,” Franklin said. “We do have an age limit in our league, but like Nike and the red and black Air Jordan’s his rookie year in the NBA, we’ll take the fine. There are dozens of gimmicks we could throw out there in the offer, but we’re playing by the rules and think he would respect that. It could be one last challenge for the greatest competitor of all time.”
Well, hey, you have to admire the effort and the creativity involved here. When minor league teams brainstorm one of these fun (yes, sometimes they're over-the-top) ideas, they make sure every detail is ironed out and explained thoroughly in the presentation. It's always very impressive.
You also have to acknowledge the smart timing. Rather than have their "offer" get lost in the shuffle in the days leading up to Jordan's birthday, they strike just as we're moving on and into the thick of spring training baseball. Well done there.
Of course we know Jordan won't be taking them up on the first part of their deal, but how cool would it be for him to show up at Silver Cross Field to accept their honor, or at the absolute least take batting practice with their team? Personally, that's what I'm rooting to see happen, but for now we'll just have to see if Jordan even bothers to acknowledge them.
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