As promised yesterday this blog has obtained possibly the most astonishing baseball news story of the year. After spending the last three months under cover in Phnom Penh, Cambodia I can exclusively reveal that the Arizona Diamondbacks are currently in talks concerning a sponsorship deal with the Khmer Rouge. "Everything just seemed to fit" an unnamed D-Backs spokesman told me last night "what with both sides emphasizing the red aspect of their brand and both of us looking to revitalize interest in what is perceived to be a fading organization". I asked whether the fact that the Khmer Rouge had been responsible for one of the worst genocides in human history had given the Front Office cause to think twice about accepting any money from this outfit "Of course there were long discussions" my informant said "but the prevailing mood was that we need to do what is right for the team as a whole and that has to include the financial aspect of things. He cited the recent deal that meant future television coverage of D-Backs games would no longer be free to air, "It’s a similar sort of thing" he said "we know that there is a down side in terms of community support but there is a huge upside in terms of finances".
During my time in Cambodia I spent several days with the new leader of the controversial group (motto: "to keep you is no benefit,to lose you is no loss") and although he wished to remain anonymous he was upbeat about their first foray into the world of sports sponsorship; "At first we were very reticent" he told me through an interpreter "but when we looked at the ethics of the whole sports market we were convinced that we could give it a go". He was though reluctant to talk about his organization’s past in which at least 1.5 million people were killed and a complete society was destroyed and is still struggling to recover. "We accept that mistakes were made" he acknowledged "but what I don’t understand is why people keep wanting to bring them up, after all companies like BMW were involved in the concentration camps and they sponsor many sporting events,and don’t even get me started on the Catholic church!". He did recognize however that perception would be everything and said that the advice that he had received from the Khmer Rouge’s marketing men was that a "softly softly" approach would be best "Initially we wanted to change the name of "Chase Field" to "The Killing Field", but we were made aware that the last name change was very recent and to implement another one so soon may be a step too far". Instead they are aiming for some fun activities whilst the game is in progress, "We’ve taken over the Fry’s discount card slot" he told me "but instead of people standing up and waving their Fry’s card they will stand up and denounce their neighbor, this neighbor will then be taken away by security and in all probability never seen again".
I asked him how his organization had changed following their time in the wilderness, "We are certainly more modern" he laughed "although we are still vehemently opposed to many groups such as intellectuals,people with links to foreign countries, people such as Christians and Moslems and ****,people who wear glasses,people with poor agricultural skills, the list is virtually endless".So how would this ethos fit into a capitalist country like America? "We don’t see America as a capitalist country" he frowned " we see it rather more like a child that needs to be taught the correct way to behave".
When I approached the Diamondbacks press office with the details of my investigation they refused to make any specific comment but did issue a general press release; "The Arizona Diamondbacks reserve the right to conduct business talks with all parties without interference from outside sources. We are aware that some recent negotiations may cause controversy in some quarters, but we will deal with the Devil himself if there is a financial benefit".
In a related story,the proposed deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Baader Meinhoff organization has been scrapped, "We just didn’t feel it was morally right to deal with these kinds of people and our supporters would be against it" said a spokesman for the reformed German guerrilla group.