I’m sure everyone has a memory from their first major-league baseball game. I remember the first time I went to a baseball game with my father at the old Municipal Stadium where the Kansas City Royals were playing the Oakland A’s.
I remember enjoying a hot dog from the vendor that passed by our seats in the third row, right behind home plate. And I remember the seventh-inning stretch when my dad bought me my first box of Cracker Jack.
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was playing and I was enjoying my favorite new pastime. Better than that, there was a prize in the Cracker Jack box. I don’t remember what it was but that was the beginning of my love for Cracker Jack, the popcorn and peanuts snack coated with molasses-flavored caramel.
Cracker Jack dates to late 1800s, when it was invented by Frederick William Rueckheim.
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The signature prize was added to the Cracker Jack box in 1912, and one was a pair of baseball cards. Other prizes included temporary tattoos, booklets, stickers, decoder rings etc.
But something happened recently while I was at the Kansas City Royals baseball game at Kaufman Stadium. It was a fantastic time, and my Royals were winning. It was the seventh inning and as tradition holds, I purchased my package of Cracker Jack.
The package was a bag, but the same logo and sailor appeared on the packaging. I didn’t think much of it until I sat in my seat and opened the bag, anxiously looking for my prize. Instead I found a square piece of paper and QR code that linked to four mobile baseball-themed games.
Now I am a huge baseball fan and I am pretty computer savvy, but seriously? A QR code instead of a prize?
Why, Cracker Jack? Why would you do this to me and millions of Americans in baseball parks across America, who reach down in the package of the molasses-coated popcorn and peanuts, looking for a prize. What a disappointment.
To be honest, I won’t scan the matrix code with my phone to retrieve the prize. Sorry. It’s just not going to work for me. This might be good for the kids and might be a trend, but something is missing. This is not right.
Will my day at the ballgame ever be the same? Sure I’ll still have my hotdog and perhaps an ice-cold beer and I will still enjoy some Cracker Jacks, but really, the nostalgia is gone. Am I getting old?
Think about it, will the famous Duncan Yo-Yo go away and become a mobile game? Will Silly Putty become digitized? Will Mr. Potato Head become a computer game or will the Slinky just be a photo on a computer screen? Digital Lego Logs perhaps?
Oh, no. … I’ll tell you one thing, no one better mess with my Play-Doh and Easy-Bake Oven. If so I’m going to throw a fit!
Why, Cracker Jack? Why?