Some official sponsors of Major League Baseball are synonymous with the on-field action. Nike makes shoes and apparel. Gatorade keeps players hydrated. Scotts provides infield and outfield grass.
Washers and dryers are not part of the game. Not directly, at least.
Until now, that is: During the All-Star break last month, Maytag started a partnership with MLB. The thinking was this: Baseball is the only major sport that’s played on dirt. Players who hustle are known as dirt dogs. Conventional wisdom is that one of the best ways to heal a bruise is to rub some dirt on it. And, coaches and managers love to say that “If you didn’t get dirty, you didn’t play.”
As dirty as baseball is, clean uniforms have been a priority since the olden days — in fact, the gray road uniform tradition started in an effort to better hide dirt back when teams traveled by train and couldn’t find laundry facilities. Maytag’s new line of top load washers have a feature called the PowerWash Cycle that effectively removes stains, according to Maytag brand manager Laura Ginter.
“We really wanted to celebrate hard work on the field, filthy uniforms, and tie that all back to the fact that Maytag has the power to clean big league stains,” Ginter said.
Photo: Keith Allison/Creative Commons
To drive the connection home, Maytag sponsors MLB.com’s "Filthiest Plays of the Week" video series, a collection of diving catches and head-first slides. Fans vote for the top plays on social media and can win MLB prizes like a trip for two to a 2015 World Series game.
Four teams — the White Sox, Braves, Royals, and Rangers — placed Maytag placed top load washers in the bullpens (A new Energy Star qualified washer standing a few feet behind the catcher will get pitchers to throw more accurately, that's for certain) and in the outfield stands at their stadiums. If a player hits a home run that lands in a washer, the company will donate $1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs in that team’s city.
One of the campaign’s goals was to market Maytag more towards men, and Ginter said that baseball is a sport that appeals to both genders.
“It was a great fit to reach that male target, as well as that female target,” she said.
With Maytag washers at hand, players can now slide into home plate without the fear of staining their pristine uniforms. They just have to focus on getting under the catcher's tag.