david-ortiz-featured

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has a new commercial. It’s for jetBlue. It’s cute.

It was released yesterday and it already has over 200,000 views. You’ve probably already seen it. If you haven’t, here it is:

Fun, right? Right.

Except for that line at the end. That’s the one that really drives us crazy. It says jetBlue is “proud sponsor of David Ortiz’s final season.”

Uh, excuse us?

Final seasons have sponsors now?

What the hell is that, jetBlue? What, are we just sponsoring anything now? You want to be the proud sponsor of the 17th sentence of this article? The proud sponsor of our commute back to Brooklyn tonight? The proud sponsor of a police officer’s seventh year on the force? (Actually, that one would be more deserving.)

Blame it on Kobe. That 17-win death march by him and the Lakers this year killed any interest we have in cheering on an athlete for an entire last season.

You shouldn’t sponsor a pro athlete’s last year. Because an athlete’s last year shouldn’t be special. We’re so goddamned tired of the athlete farewell tour. Blame it on Kobe. He took all the farewell-tour excitement out of us. That 17-win death march by the Lakers and Kobe this year killed any interest we have in cheering on an athlete for an entire last season.

Enough with the farewell tours, athletes. Just retire and be done with it.

A real man doesn’t go around saying, “Hey guys, just so you know, I’ll be retiring 162 workdays from now.” They just show up one day and say, “That’s it for me, thanks,” and then they leave. Don’t make a fuss. Give your two weeks, eat some cake on your final day, hug a few coworkers and be done with it.

But no. Thanks to Jeter and Kobe and Ortiz, now we all have to make a big frickin’ deal out of an athlete’s final year. Which might not even turn out to be his final final year. (See: Brett Favre. Also: Brett Favre.) Say what you will about Peyton Manning, but we like how he handled his retirement. He didn’t say anything during the regular season, or even in his post-Super Bowl press conference. He said he’d take some time and think about it. Then he announced that he’d played his last game and he was calling it a career. He was done. That’s how you do it. Jared Allen, that excellent defensive end for the Carolina Panthers (and Vikings, Bears and Chiefs), did a similar thing. He made a quick Twitter video about riding off into the sunset, made a little joke… and then he just rode off.

ortiz-batting-featured

He didn’t do what Big Papi’s doing. He didn’t announce a year ahead of time that this would be his final season, forcing all his opponents to go through the song and dance of saying thanks for all the memories and giving him some big, stupid, expensive gift that he doesn’t even need. Ah yeah, thanks Seattle Mariners, for these golf clubs. I definitely didn’t have enough money to buy my own!

Here’s an idea, opposing baseball teams: Take the money you were going to spend on some dumb obligatory gift for this retiring athlete and donate it to a charity to help some hungry kids eat. Donate it in Big Papi’s name or Kobe’s name or whomever.

But stop it already with the love parade farewell tour. Do you know how annoying that must be for everybody else on the team? They gotta sit through all these ceremonies for their teammate, they gotta answer all these questions about him, they gotta witness all of his last this and his last that—his last three-game road trip to Milwaukee!—all because this guy couldn’t just retire when he was sure his tank was empty.

After all: How does Ortiz really know this will be his last year? He’s having a pretty good season. He’s batting .340 with 16 home runs. We’d bet even money he’ll play one more year after this.

Then what will jetBlue do?