Ford Brings Fantasy Baseball to Cars. Have We Gone Too Far?

By David Thomas  on June 17, 2011

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I have a heart-wrenching internal struggle when it comes to in-car connectivity. On the one hand, I love having navigation, my iPod and phone contacts all easily accessed when I’m driving.

On the other hand, I hate looking to my left, and then to my right, to find myself surrounded by folks staring down at their smartphones … on the highway.

The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to stop distracted driving. Yes, I’m all for that. Ticket those folks staring down at their phones. Tar and feather them. Put them in the gallows. Give their cell numbers to Anthony Weiner. I don’t care, just punish them.

But the government isn’t actually talking about those folks. It wants to go after cars that are “connected.” In the past, I’ve thought that’s the wrong approach. A car computer reading me a text message is no less distracting than driving with my kids in the car — probably much less distracting, actually. And I don’t think the government could prevent my kids from kicking my seat.

The guy reading his BlackBerry could swerve into my lane or not notice traffic in front of him braking. That’s serious.

Then Ford announced today that users of its Sync system will soon be able to get fantasy baseball statistics read to them while they’re driving.

Seriously?

What are you trying to do, Ford? Are you just lobbing softballs for the government to hit out of the park? I can hear the rhetoric now: “There is no need to get a fantasy baseball score in your car!”

Well, duh. Weather, traffic information. That makes sense and would be considered a benefit to most people.

Sports scores and stock quotes? OK, maybe.

Why not fantasy scores? Well, for one thing, you’re not getting your team’s scores read to you, just the top players’ statistics. So you’ll be trying to do math in your head. And for me, that gets distracting. Plus, if you do know that Albert Pujols’ two-homer, four-RBI night sinks your chances for the playoffs, you could get road rage pretty easily.

I’m a huge fantasy football junky and listen to sports radio all the time in test cars. But during football season, I don’t need to get scores in the car. You know why? Because it takes less than 5 seconds to check my team's stats on a computer or smartphone, and I can do that walking to my car, standing in line at Potbelly or while walking the dog.

So Ford, please stop. Why not focus on making the nice lady who says “Playing Pearl Jam” sound more like a real person and not the wife of the computer from “WarGames”? Thanks.

Ford Car Gadgets In The News


Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David