Major League Baseball ads are taking on a new look and style that may be just what the league needs.
The new ads feature identifiable figures such as Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants, 2010 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Ubaldo Jiménez of the Colorado Rockies.
The idea is to create a face behind a name. For years we’ve heard of the great players and teams. With baseball, it’s easy to get swept away in the midst of 162 regular season games and lose track of the players because of the vast amount of games played — at least, that’s the logic the MLB is using, according to a March 30 article from The New York Times.
Baseball ads have catered towards the action of the game in the past, according to the article. This is somewhat contradictory when one considers a baseball game can be tied 0-0 for eight innings, and then in the bottom of the ninth, one play can change everything.
Baseball is an exciting sport, but it’s not like other sports where the action is continuous and the dynamics of the game are gradual. What makes baseball unique is the balance between patience and consistency. Players have to have their heads in the game and need to be physically ready for anything.
The new ads steer away from the ideas of the dynamics of baseball and more toward the relationship the fan has with the players. The new vignettes cater to what is deemed the most desirable demographic — the 18-34-year-old group.
By making jabs at the “epic” beard of Wilson and by suggesting that Jiménez would be interested in a souvenir personalized name license plate, the players lose their distant and unapproachable status.
Other than the 2010 American League MVP Josh Hamilton, a majority of baseball players come across as isolated, vague, arrogant and cocky — like Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. There is little compromise to find the “average joes” in baseball. In the interview room, players are typically composed and rehearsed.
The new lingo in the ads also appeals to the younger demographic. The repeated use of the word “epic” and references to adventure and journeys are more like “Saturday Night Live” sketches than ads for Major League Baseball. The ad itself is a shoutout to the tagline of the new MLB website: mlbalwaysepic.mlb.com.
Baseball is all about relationships — how the defense reacts to a good hit or how the pitcher battles when he’s down in the count. It’s the test of dedication for fans who have to wait for that one hit or play that changes everything.
One can use baseball for just about any analogy or lesson possible. From the practice problems of physics to comparing dating tactics, baseball can be used for just about any of it.
Baseball is America’s pastime for a reason. It should be relatable, water cooler talk kind of game. There are enough games in a season to win anybody over if they watch enough, and the new ads could help do that.
Bailey McGowan is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Burkburnett.