Of course, it would take a marketing flack named David Berkowitz to offer guidance on squeezing dollars from death while dodging questions of bad taste. After noting that some online advertisers pushed to grab keyword searches for "Cory Lidle" merchandise after Lidle's plane crash, placing targeted ads for Lidle/Yankee products next to content discussing his death ("That may or may not be offensive."), Berkowitz goes on to cite several cases of high-dollar Lidle merch for sale immediately post-crash. He concludes, "That can, at least in my book, justify some advertising even after a tragedy; the consumers have spoken." If anything, Berkowitz faults outlets like eBay for insufficient enthusiasm when cashing in on Lidle's death, dismissing their Lidle ads as "too generic." He tries very hard to coin the phrase "ghoulish boom" for this effect, and we might approve if it didn't represent turning a negative into a positive with no shame whatsoever (see also "viral marketing").
Sometimes, the gods are tired of whispering that you should get the hell out of New York, and they raise their voices a bit — not once, but twice. Turns out that Kathleen Caronna, whose apartment bedroom was destroyed by the impact of Cory Lidle's plane, was also the same woman nearly killed by a rampaging six-story Cat in the Hat balloon during the 1997 Macy's Thanksgiving parade. (Not to be confused with the rampaging M&M balloon during the 2005 parade.) Caronna was in a coma for a month, though she eventually recovered and won an undisclosed but no doubt handsome settlement from Macy's. In a stroke of luck — or at least, less bad luck — Caronna wasn't home during the plane crash, though she was en route there. Perhaps it's time for a nice home in the country, with no tall buildings, aircraft, or parades.
While there's still no evidence that Yankees relief pitcher Cory Lidle was committing suicide when his plane crashed into an Upper East Side high-rise, the still unresolved (or at least unannounced) issue of who was piloting the plane (either Lidle or his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, pictured above) will have significant financial consequences for Lidle's family. Much like the Phillies' draconian contract penalties for engaging in high-risk activities, there's a caveat in the death benefit plan under which Lidle was covered via the players' union. Lidle's family would normally receive $1.5 million in the event of his accidental death — unless said accident occurred during aircraft travel where Lidle was "acting in any capacity other than as a passenger." Something to bear in mind for those professional ballplayers moonlighting as flight attendants.
If there's one thing we know about athletes, it's that they're always up for taking their own lives. Terrell Owens taught us that. And while authorities aren't saying Cory Lidle committed suicide, they're not saying he didn't commit suicide either. Therefore he did. That's what we call journalism. A tipster reports some journalism perpetrated by CNN's Nancy Grace:
• The National Transportation Safety Board presented preliminary findings at an 11 p.m. press conference, saying that the engine, mounting, and propeller of Cory Lidle's plane were found lodged into the burned-out 30th/31st-floor apartments that the plane struck. The fuselage, wheels, other parts, and the bodies of Lidle and his flight instructor were found on the street below.
Craigslist's censors are working overtime to remove swarms of jokey classified ads for apartments in the building hit by Cory Lidle's plane. Trust us, even discounting the black humor factor, they're not funny. But maybe if we run one, you'll stop clogging up our inbox with the hilarious forwards that came over the interoffice mailing list? Please? OK, deal. Click after the jump if you must, knowing that we in no way endorse the following. We won't bother to link, as the following ad is already gone.
Current updates on the Manhattan plane crash:
More on the crash of Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle's plane on the Upper East Side: Deadspin finds this photo of Lidle and his plane, and a quote from his former teammate, Arthur Rhodes, who had this to say about Lidle after he was traded to the Yanks in July: "The only thing Cory Lidle wants to do is fly around in his airplane and gamble. He doesn't have a work ethic."
Our relations at Deadspin are collecting reports that the plane which crashed into the Upper East Side building was registered to — and probably piloted by — New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle. ("This is totally what happens when Detroit wins," says one person on the street. Please, no hate mail.) Pretty much every news outlet you can think of is all over this one, so go forth and soak up the tragedy.