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The Giants go with an autonomous vehicle sponsor for their jersey patch

Yikes. And oof. And ouch.

Cruise: A driverless robot taxi in San Francisco Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Back in November, I wondered who would wind up sponsoring the San Francisco Giants this season after MLB opened the floodgates to allow sponsor patches on jerseys. In my ignorance, I focused on well known brands and even better known Bay Area ones. I failed to account for the tech cancer that has swallowed the region whole. The Giants will be sponsored by Cruise.

What is Cruise? An autonomous vehicle company that has no affiliation with movie star Tom Cruise, which would’ve been cooler, even with Cruise’s troubling behavior and grim associations. Instead, the Giants have partnered with a San Francisco-based company determined to remove people from society as quickly as possible.

The Giants posted this video on their X page (it’s really embarrassing to type that) and in another sign of the times, the audio syncing issue with Gabe Kapler and the stark lighting really makes it look like he’s an AI generated figure.

KAPLER: San Francisco. A city of fog and shimmering gold that greets every dawn with optimism and purpose. Our city proudly defies convention, continually evolving, driven by a dynamic spirit that connects and inspires us. And with every sunset we look ahead to the promise and potential of tomorrow where anything is possible.

[CAMILO DOVAL GETS OUT OF ONE OF THESE VEHICLES AND POINTS TO A PATCH ON HIS LEFT ARM]

CAMILO DOVAL: Vamos Gigantes!

KAPLER: This patch, it’s more than thread and stitching. It’s a symbol of our city, an emblem of conviction — of progress. The Giants and Cruise. Together, driving our city towards a brighter future.

Is that really Gabe Kapler?

Is his face really just that well made for 4K? What’s up with the audio syncing issues, though? I thought a tech-driven team in a tech-driven city would’ve known how to properly export a video file by now, even with X’s buggy platform.

Anyway, here’s that patch Doval pointed to:

Looks dumb. Looks like the Giants are sponsored by The Cops. Anyway, a little more about Cruise, since they are now what Giants Baseball is:

Cruise aims to remove humans from transportation, because our feudal masters want to interact with the rabble as little as possible while they burn the land and boil the seas. Cruise is starting with ride sharing, aiming to vaporize the remaining taxis but also those still stuck in the rideshare feedback loop nightmare of Uber and Lyft, and they’re doing it with their own “futuristic”-looking cars with “cute” names like Scampi, Flamenco, Matcha, and Disco. Here’s a video:

On their website they trumpet:

Cruise has received $10B from well-respected companies and investors—including GM, Honda, Microsoft, T. Rowe Price, and Walmart—increasing its valuation 30x since being founded.

I’ll admit I was predisposed to dislike The Future with sponsorship patches, but I’m really happy that today’s announcement helped me find another gear. I don’t know if it’s because I’m now so old that I have less value than ever and so don’t like the world around me or if this is just a shitty future we’re living in. It feels like the latter. These presentations check every box of a generic tech presentation and everything we’ve read about autonomous vehicles and their startups suggests this is all doomed to fail with a lot of real damage being inflicted on real people while investors and founders move on like locusts.

I’m not really interested in the emotional journey of someone’s profit motive and the more they try to doll it up like it’s wholesome the more I think there’s something very inhumane going on just beneath the surface.

I’ll leave it to you to see the wisdom in autonomous vehicles operating inside a city that works best with public transit and that the answer to traffic issues nationwide is to automate cars. I guess, given all the money involved here, that we are the idiots who don’t know what we’re talking about. This IS the future. The future IS now. That’s NOT really Gabe Kapler.

And Cruise isn’t all bad! They’re now a union shop!

Aug 3 (Reuters) - Cruise, General Motors’ (GM.N) robotaxi unit, said on Thursday it had signed the driverless car industry’s first labor union agreements, a significant milestone as unions and robotaxi firms have historically been at odds.

The company is partnering with two local San Francisco union chapters that represent electrical workers and janitors, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 6 and Service Employees International Union Local 87. Reuters could not definitively determine if these are the driverless car industry’s first union agreements.

[...]

The agreement will employ “dozens” of workers who will construct and staff Cruise’s car-charging facilities, the company said.

Cruise, which offers limited service in San Francisco with a fleet of Chevrolet Bolts fitted with driverless technology, has accumulated over 3 million driverless miles, the company said. Its rival, Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> self-driving technology unit Waymo, also offers limited service in San Francisco.

Both Cruise and Waymo are trying to expand their services to paying customers throughout San Francisco, but are facing backlash from city officials, who cite a rising number of robotaxi incidents. California’s Public Utilities Commission, which has jurisdiction over robotaxi regulation, has called into question the city’s data analysis and scheduled a vote for Aug. 10 to approve its own draft proposal to allow the robotaxis to continue widespread testing on city streets.

looooooool. Hopefully, the team’s lawyers made this agreement ironclad to get every penny. I think we forget that most of the time these sponsorship agreements are most beneficial to the sponsor. After all, they are trying to use the team’s “brand equity” and “credibility” for their own purposes. The Giants are one of the last few public goods in the Bay Area. Cruise is under investigation for a bunch of traffic accidents.

For the Giants, this sure does seem like “San Francisco-based company + highest bid,” which fits with this increasingly second-rate vibe of the city and the “just happy to be here” disposition of the team.