By plastering its logo on everything from Pete Sampras's wristbands to Penn State's pristine football jerseys, Nike diluted its trademark and, in the process, caused many sports fans to become resentful of its pervasive presence. "For a long time the swoosh was cool," says Jennifer Black, a footwear and apparel industry analyst for Black & Co., an investment firm in Portland, "but consumers seem to like logos for only a certain period of time. And when they begin to see one everywhere, they get sick of it."
McGwire's Seoul Brother
In the Korean Baseball Organization this summer, there occurred an infinitely more placid parallel to the Great Home Run Chase and Historic-Ball Scrambles of 1998. First baseman Tyrone Woods of the OB Bears, a 1988 draft choice of the Montreal Expos who spent 10 years in the minors, broke South Korea's single-season dinger record with 42, one more than the old standard. The magic 42nd came on Sept. 30, during a victory over the Hyundai Unicorns at Chamsil Stadium in Seoul.
The record ball was snagged by Lee Sung Won, a 24-year-old university student. In a ceremony after the game, Lee gave the ball to Woods and, in return, got a red Hyundai from the Unicorns. The fan who caught number 41? He turned it over immediately and received a refrigerator. And did Lee have to fight off hordes of souvenir-hungry fans to claim his prize? "That would never happen in Korea," he told The Washington Post. "Everybody just congratulated me."