Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Hopefully the youth culture won’t kill their dog

with 3 comments

Most bands that see someone cop their image are immediately on the phone to their attorney to get a lawsuit good and ready. But most bands, as has been abundantly clear through a long, storied and quirk-filled career of college alternative, telephone-based, TV theme and children’s music, are not They Might Be Giants.

Two guys named John (like the two guys who make up They Might Be Giants) named their Seattle T-ball team after the band, using the images from their first children’s album, “No!” (It’s a word you end up saying a lot when you manage T-ball.) The two Johns in TMBG were so excited, they started a contest in which they will sponsor 10 more teams, anywhere across the nation.


Photo of the Seattle T-ball team comes from a parent who submitted it to the band. I presume if the band is OK with a team using its image, it’ll be OK with me doing the same (fingers crossed).

The band is having you send your pitches (no pun intended) to You need to include your city, state and zip; the name of the local sports organization; the ages of your team members; the size of your team (presumably, number of players, not actual sizes of players, though both might be helpful); and anything else the band should know.

Band member John Flansburgh is quoted on the band’s site saying: “If a pizza parlor or a super market can sponsor a team, why can’t a rock band? We’ve posted a free shirt offer on our web site, and as new teams form we’re going to post their group photo alongside the Seattle team. We only have t-shirts to offer right now, but if we can get hats too, we’re up for that.”

Given the troubles many leagues are having attracting sponsors, this is a great offer, presuming your legal isn’t halfway over already (maybe the offer will be good for next season if it’s too late). I’m amazed more entertainment aimed at children, or even their parents, haven’t turned to youth sports sponsorship. “Night at the Museum 2” probably could have sponsored every team in every sport in America for what it spent on TV ads, and reached just about as many kids and parents. I’m sure TMBG is doing this sponsorship contest out of the goodness of its heart. But a band that won a Grammy this year for its children’s album is reaching the right market handing out T-shirts to T-ballers.

However, I am emailing the band to find out if they understand what youth sports sponsorship entails. I’m curious how the two Johns (the T-ball coaches) got to pick the shirts. Depending on the league, TMBG is going to have to do more than hand out free T-shirts. Is the band willing to pay $200 to see “Phillies” on the front and “They Might Be Giants” on the back? I’m sure there are a lot of league boards that are going to have conniptions over the thought of the uniforms not being uniform.


3 Responses

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  1. Good point about the uniforms. I think you’re right that the T-Shirts will probably end up as “practice” uni’s – and unless the band is willing to cough up the $200 they probably won’t be on the back of the uni either.

    What started out as a nice gesture will end up as a hassle for a bunch of people.

    John Bigenwald

    May 26, 2009 at 8:17 am

  2. i think you are taking this way too far. you guys shouldn’t read into this thing too much.. a team wears a uniform, the definition of uniform is remaining the same in all cases and at all times. these kids are all wearing a uniform shirt. so what that it does not say Phillies on the front.. these kids are 5 years old and do not keep score, there is no bureaucracy telling them not to wear their shirts in fact it looks to me as if they are thrilled to be wearing these shirts… lets just leave it at that.


    May 28, 2009 at 10:44 am

  3. Mike, I don’t know if you’re involved with the TMBG Seattle team. But I do know that where there is youth sports, there is bureaucracy, and there is someone who isn’t going to let TMBG give out shirts without conforming to standards and, more importantly, giving the league a few hundred in cabbage.


    May 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm

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