Thursday, June 24, 2010

Waiting For Good 'Joe'

When you think ballpark beverages, you think a cold beer up in the stands, and some Gatorade down in the dugout, unless Paul O'Neill has come out of retirement to smash the defenseless tub of sports drink to oblivion.

Yet there's a long history between baseball and coffee--especially among elite Yankees named Joe.

Joe DiMaggio of course was a spokesman for Mr. Coffee decades ago, causing many to think that the term "cup of joe" was a reference to the Yankee, Clipper.

In fact, cup of joe is named for former U.S. Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels, who eliminated booze from the officers' mess hall a half-century or so ago, which prompted the naval officers to refer to the next strongest drink available to them--coffee--as "a cup of joe."

It's interesting that DiMaggio was also known as Joltin' Joe; Jolt was a super-caffeinated cola (it billed itself as "The Espresso of Colas") that hit the beverage aisle in 1985, and has since been rebranded as an energy drink. Jolt's effect on the nervous system was similiar to the spiked coffee pots in baseball clubhouses before MLB started testing for uppers; rookies who didn't get the memo about the enhanced clubhouse coffee probably thought they were having a heart attack.

These days, I see Yankee, Clipper...uh, skipper Joe Girardi lending his name and visage for the new Dunkin Donuts "Box o' Joe." Girardi doesn't really strike me as a put-your-face-on-a-box-of-coffee kind of guy; he told MyFoxNY last month that Box o' Joe benefits his Catch 25 charity, which raises funds for Alzheimer's and cancer research, among other worthy causes.

His predecessor at the Bombers' helm was, of course, a Joe as well. But Joe Torre, unlike Joe DiMaggio and Joe Girardi, wasn't a pitchman for coffee. Torre hawks Bigelow Tea-- because there's no coffee in T-E-A-M, but there sure as hell is a T-E-A.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
says Daniels is not the origin of the term cup a joe.

(The coffee shop at UNC-Chapel Hill, however, is in the Josephus Daniels building.)