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.
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?