Yesterday, the Mariners released their five commercials for 2012 season, and for the most part, I lightly chuckled at best. Only one of the five, "Impressions," genuinely made me laugh out loud, and that probably happened because I watched that one last and needed a laugh. For the most part, the comedy was pretty awkward and forced, but then again, baseball players don't need to make people laugh, they need to hit the ball and throw shutouts. Just in case you haven't seen them yet, I'll recap them here.
A few Mariners, surrounding Ichiro's bat, talk about how Ichiro got his bat direct from Japan. They then ask Justin Smoak how he got his bat. Smoak has a sort of flashback moment, and it shows a clip of him "punching" a tree, felling it and getting his bat from it. Smoak then says "same as everybody," and walks away.
Smoak's comedic timing is pretty average, and the whole concept of the commercial plays off of his country roots. I'm not a huge fan of it, partly because I feel like Smoak hasn't done enough to introduce himself to casual fans. The M's are taking a chance, hoping that Smoak will start raking and that this commercial will make sense. Overall, I'll give it a C-.
"Mickey Loves You"
Dustin Ackley begins working with a new trainer, who happens to look and talk just like Rocky Balboa's trainer Mickey, except Dustin really doesn't seem to buy into the whole Rocky thing. He awkwardly comments after everyone of Mickey's comments, and the commercial becomes more about Mickey at the end.
I get the Rocky joke, but Mickey's like the fifth most memorable character in that movie, which came out in the seventies (behind Rocky, Adrian, Pauly, and Apollo Creed). Moreover, Ackley probably acted the worst of any Mariner in a starring role in the five new ads. He didn't show any acting chops, and the commercial didn't make me laugh at all. Bringing in someone outside the M's organization for the commercial deviated from the Mariner commercial idea, and I feel like it fell flat. Overall, it gets a D from me.
Felix Hernandez sits in a meeting with Eric Wedge, who complements him for being so multi-talented, but says he isn't sure about his latest project. Felix then shows off his ventriloquist act with his new puppet friend, Little Felix. Felix is a terrible ventriloquist however, and Eric Wedge continues to doubt him as Felix keeps going at it. At the end, Felix shows off his puppet friend's alter ego, Little Larry, and Eric Wedge says "Bernandez" skeptically.
This commercial, based on the fan response I have seen, seems underrated. I like anything with Larry Bernandez in it, so Little Larry definitely made me laugh. Additionally, Wedge and Felix have great chemistry, and Felix loves laughing at himself. You can tell he knows what he's doing is pretty ridiculous, and he thrives off of that notion. Overall, I liked "Nobody's Perfect." I'll give it a B+.
"A Seattle Welcome"
Jesus Montero is watching the game from the top step of the dugout, when Mariner vets Jason Vargas and Brandon League come up behind him. The pitchers throw on full Pike Place Fish Market gear and open up a cooler with a giant salmon in it. They get Montero's attention, and toss the fish at him, which he catches, surprised. League explains himself by saying, "welcome to Seattle." Then Carl Willis walks by and asks Jesus if he caught that fish, to which the befuddled Montero replies, "I guess."
This commercial is simple and effective. The fish toss definitely serves as a Seattle initiation, and I like how League and Vargas did it so matter-of-factly. It just doesn't inspire many laughs. Using Jesus Montero will be a good way to acclimate him to the fan base. Ill give this one a B.
Brendan Ryan imitates Robert De Niro in the clubhouse, but none of the M's can figure out who he's impersonating. They guess random other celebrities, and Ryan gets frustrated. Suddenly, Ichiro walks in, gives a terrible imitation of Sean Connery, and the guys get it right away. Ryan can't believe it. Ichiro finishes with a James Bond imitation that George Sherrill calls "awesome."
Ichiro, for all of the stress he caused Mariner fans last season, manages to hit another home run with his commercials. My favorite part of the commercial is when Mike Carp guesses Justin Bieber while somehow maintaining a straight face. Gotta love my boy Carp. Ichiro does a great job with his bad impressions in the same way that Brendan Ryan does a pretty solid De Niro. This commercial will surely be the fan favorite, and for good reason. I give it an A.
On a slightly different note, the slogan "get after it" is terrible. First of all, it clearly implies that we have no hope for 2012. Seventy wins here we come! Secondly, it reminds me too much of John McLaren's tirade from 2008. His direct quote was "we gotta fucking buckle it up and get after it." Not a good press conference to reference. Go M's.