Watching James Paxton throw at the San Francisco Giants, with the smallest chants of “Eh! Eh! Eh!” coming through on the TV broadcast. Ichiro has left the game already with some sort of (hopefully minor) injury that must have happened during a commercial break because I was sat right here and didn’t see anything happen to him; the Mariners were up in the bottom of the first inning, and Ichiro was shown in a review clip being taken off the field sitting upright in the front seat of a cart. Hoping it’s nothing big, and wishing him a speedy recovery. Hopefully some stretching and his wife’s curry will heal him right up.
Every year we wait for the Mariners commercials. They mark another step towards the beginning of the regular season, and every year, they are subject to varying levels of scrutiny by the fan base. Every year, too, my hope is that they can air all 4-6 of them all season, since stopping the airing of one means the player featured therein has been injured, was traded, or was sent down to Tacoma. My favorite of the past few years is probably still the K-Swag commercial, specifically for the crazy expressions on the marketers’ faces when they were trying to introduce Kyle Seager to their particular brand of…branding. This year, there was not a single one that didn’t make me smile.
This year starts off with Work Related Injury. A Kansas City pitcher talks to his doctor about the dangers of having to face Nelson Cruz and his dingers. I like this one for its simplicity, and Nellie’s little grin at the end.
Second – and my personal favorite – is The Art of the Frame, featuring one of the most fun pitcher/catcher combos to watch, Felix and Mike Zunino. Players gather to reflect on the art of Zunino’s pitch framing, and Felix’s ability to paint the zone. Winning line goes to Mitch Hanniger for “As a hitter, I find that offensive” – a sentiment that evokes everything from social media opinions to actual art critiques. Brilliantly played. Felix will just paint more.
Next up, starter and Maple Grove favorite James Paxton finally gets his own commercial with Big Maple. Now, I don’t know who in that production team knows what about how the Maple Grove started, but I personally would like to think that the crack about the Blue Jays is a small tribute to our little cheering section, since the first Maple Grove did indeed happen the day in 2017 Paxton started against Toronto. And some of us wouldn’t mind too badly if the little eggs were full of Orioles.
Fourth up is Mound Visit, where members of the Texas Rangers are heartily assured by Robinson Cano that there is very little they can do to stop his bat from meeting the ball. Not so much funny as a very confident look at one of our best hitters.
And finally, the one that seems to be getting most of the attention, Flip. Try as he might, Kyle Seager just can’t work a mane like Ben Gamel can. If Seager has to deal with a neck injury this year, we’ll all know why.
And of course, it’s not a complete commercial collection without a two minute long behind-the-scenes/blooper reel. Baseball players are not actors, but it’s always clearly in good fun, and as always, the marketing team has done right by both the team and the fans here. Well done, ladies and gentlemen, well done.
As I am wrapping this up, Pax has been replaced by Christian Bergman, and the broadcasters are mentioning another injury, this time to Jean Segura for hamstring tightness. Small hurdles, and hopefully easily overcome with time over the next few weeks. Felix is rumored to be in line for the rotation for Opening Day, but there has to be “no hiccup” in his recovery per Aaron Goldsmith just now on TV. Either Felix or Pax I would be totally content with starting that day. Hell, who am I kidding; I’ll just be happy to be in a baseball park surrounded by some of the best fans and friends I could have hoped to make when I first started watching the game. Three more Thursdays, friends, it’s nearly time!