April 17, 2009
After Nick Adenhart's death in a tragic car crash last week, many fans have reached out and paid tribute, setting up makeshift memorials at places like Angels Stadium, the "accident" site and even Dodger Stadium.
But as reported by Deadspin today, those wishing to honor Adenhart in a more permanent way by purchasing a customized t-shirt or jersey from the MLB.com shop are being flat out denied.
Indeed, type in "Adenhart" and "34" into MLB's customizer and you're greeted by this message:
"Your current entry cannot be processed. Some entries are prohibited due to guidelines for past and present player names. Please create a new entry."
We've all seen stories of such jersey service refused in the past, though with good reason. Obviously, NFL.com shouldn't be sending out Falcons shirts with Ron Mexico on the back. MLB shouldn't be making A-Roid Yankee shirts available for sale.
However, it boggles my mind that the league would shut down fans wishing to extend the memory of a promising career ended too soon. I suppose there's an argument to be made for restricting access to the shirt in the name of keeping it "special" for the man who wore it, but the Yankees sell Lou Gehrig jerseys and it turns out that the Adenhart restrictions have more to do with one of the inflexible technology rules that MLB is famous for.
Here's what MLB reps told Deadspin:
"The reason, according to MLB reps, is that the system won't allow use of real players that aren't on a current roster. So, if you wanted to have a 'Sheets, 15' shirt or some other actual player that might be on a current team, you're not going to get the jersey you want. Even if your name is 'Miranda Sheets', your favorite number is '15' and your favorite team is the Brewers, you're out of luck. That's just how the system works."
Why MLB can't — or won't? — pay an Internet engineer to fix up a workaround on that ordering system is beyond me, but if it's really a problem, why not make a special t-shirt with all the proceeds going to benefit the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund or Angels charities? Hopefully a plan like that it is in the works, because there's definitely a better way.