The sign in center field is just above bleacher section 40, just waiting to be peppered with tape-measure home runs as part of the Jordan’s Furniture Monster Hit promotion.
So any home run that hits that sign during a game means free furniture for anyone who made a purchase before the deadline?
Well, no. Not every home run is eligible—just those hit by Red Sox players…after July 15.
OK, that’s fine—nobody wants free furniture because Ramon Ramirez threw a flat fastball to Carlos Pena. The Red Sox have actually shown a decent amount of power thus far in 2010. And the ball carries well to center during the summer at Fenway. Home runs occasionally glance off the back wall behind section 40 from time to time. And that’s right where the sign is located. There’s a chance!!
Just a second there, Lloyd Christmas. The free furniture thing is limited to homers that hit the small baseball printed on the left-hand side of the sign…(The fine print: The hit will not be considered “direct” if it caroms off another object or is touched by a fan before hitting the baseball on sign.)
Based on available data from Hit Tracker Online, 186 home runs were hit at Fenway Park in 2009 (about 2.30 per game). One of those homers landed in the vicinity of the Monster Hit sign. In 2008, two home runs out of 147 would have had Jordan’s insurers holding their breath. In 2007: three of 148. In 2006: three of 156.
Some of these home runs probably wouldn’t have even appeared as close as Hit Tracker’s scatter plots suggest. Nevertheless, in the most charitable scenario, there is a 1-2% possibility that any given home run has a chance of making a dent somewhere on the sign based on data from the last four years (9 dongs out of a total of 637 hit). But the actual area taken up by the baseball itself is probably something like 5% of the total sign’s space. So in reality, the promotion is akin to a blindfolded shot from half court at a Celtics game where just hitting the backboard would be an impressive accomplishment.
But the trouble isn’t solely that the probability of a “Monster Hit” begins with a decimal point followed by a bunch of zeroes. It could happen. The more glaring reality is that Jordan’s is preying on the dumbest subset of fans by enticing them to bet on the likelihood of a player hitting a specific spot on a sign over 430 feet from home plate at Fenway Park. The possible reward should be more interesting than free second-rate furniture.
So what would be a better reward for customers who buy furniture at Jordan’s based on the possibility that it will be free if someone hits the target?
It has to be something equally as far-fetched. It should be interesting and rewarding for everyone involved. Not just for those who purchased sofas and loveseats. It should universally atone for all the aggravation the company will put NESN viewers through with its incessant advertising spots. It should offset the mental pressure it puts on David Ortiz—Does the slugger’s homerless psyche really need to have a tiny home run target as a backdrop in center field?
It should also punish Jordan’s Furniture for being unoriginal. This promotion is a watered-down version of MasterCard’s long-running sponsorship of targets at the MLB All-Star Game home-run derby event.
At the very least, that guy in their ads should have to cut off his ponytail so that Jade McCarthy and Heidi Watney can use it as a French tickler while enthusiastically hooking up on a memory foam mattress while Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy provide a play-by-play analysis on live television.