I don’t frequently put MLB promotional videos in posts. If they want to advertise with us they can call our ad department. But I do feature them if they’re good or interesting in and of themselves, and this one is very good and very interesting. Interesting from the standpoint that it explicitly advertises and advocates for the current game. Which, frankly, is radical.
It’s radical because it doesn’t traffic in nostalgia. It doesn’t try to link the current stars to past stars. It doesn’t play on some hackneyed father-son motif. It doesn’t put together fast-cut highlights in an effort to make baseball seem more kinetically-intense like basketball or something.
Rather, it involves one of baseball’s most plain-spoken figures — Buck Showalter, who is excellent in it — simply and clearly stating a truth: that the game is being played by 750 amazing players. That it’s being played at a better and higher level than it ever has been. That it’s a game played every single night, with the unstated implication that it possesses a different rhythm than other sports and thereby makes what these 750 players do unique.
Oh, and it’s also worth noting that the “750 players” thing is significant in that it is decidedly NOT about “the face of baseball” or deciding who the next big marketable star is. Such a thing is always going to be hard in baseball because the nature of the game is such that the biggest star can go 0-for-4 any given night. Whether it was intentional or not, the idea that people should watch each night because any set of 50 guys in the park could do something amazing rather than one guy doing something amazing is super smart.
Whoever was behind this ad deserves a high five for not going to the tired old backwards-looking playbook employed by 98% of those who think they’re promoting the game but, instead, are giving people license to disparage the current game because it’s not as good as the viewer remembers it being when they were a kid. Because nothing is as good as how we remember it being as we were kids thanks to nostalgia and subjectivity and the brain’s handy habit of forgetting the bad stuff. Because, if you tell young people over and over that things used to be better, they’ll start to believe you eventually and go find something else to do.
Anyway, here it is:
[mlbvideo id=”59814883″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
(Thanks to Mark Armour for the heads up)