A Team Full of Pitchers
What does a Sox player do when he’s thirsty? He first might want to check with his agent. The team has had beverage-hawking stars since Ted Williams mugged for Moxie, but players these days are accumulating deals at a much faster clip. And that’s making every drink choice at Fenway a complicated one. This season Jacoby Ellsbury (Owater) and Jason Varitek (SoBe Life Water) scored endorsements, joining David Ortiz and his Vitaminwater and Kevin Youkilis and his obscure energy drink SlumpBuster. Meanwhile, J. D. Drew and Jonathan Papelbon push (of all things) an exotic $40 juice called MonaVie.
Even the clubhouse has its own contract. Only Poland Spring, Powerade, and Coke products are allowed—a sticky situation, since Varitek’s drink is owned by Pepsi. "Our industry is a lot like sports," says Pepsi Bottling Group spokesman Jeff Dahncke. "It’s always been built on fierce competition between companies." (To boot, ‘Tek wears a blank uniform in all his ads. It’s contractually mandated.)
Nobody on the team admits to any tension among the slugging spokesmen. In fact, the guys don’t seem to care what they drink. If someone did, though, he’d have an advantage: The Sox don’t bar players from, say, bringing a bottle of choice to interviews. "We’re not policing people," says Troup Parkinson, the team’s VP of client services. "But I’ve never seen the Pepsi truck pull up to the park, either." For the coming playoffs, though, the rules are more strict. "We’re diligent about being on the lookout for ambush marketing," says MLB spokesman Matt Bourne. Oh, and players can only be seen drinking Gatorade and Aquafina, the league’s official postseason beverages.