Reviewing The 2011 Seattle Mariners Commercials

Today's an off day for the team, which makes it the perfect time to debut the brand new 2011 Mariners team commercials. You can watch all five of them here. And make sure that you do before proceeding, because after the jump I'll be writing up my response to each, and I don't want to ruin any surprises. Will this year's batch include anything as iconic as last year's Bullpen Face? Will this year's commercials be similarly cursed? Let's find out the answer to one of these!

Swing Away

Featuring Chone Figgins, Justin Smoak, Ichiro, Miguel Olivo, some Japanese BP pitcher, and Milton Bradley and some white guy in the background. The message - that Ichiro can hit anything - is right on, and worth celebrating. What's curious is that Figgins and Smoak decided to talk about this during batting practice, when the pitches are as grooved as pitches can be. The execution is solid and they chose a good assortment of things to throw at him, yet ultimately I came away less impressed with Ichiro making contact and more impressed with the Japanese BP pitcher who was able to throw all of those things over the center of the plate. That guy is incredible!

A For Effort

Featuring Franklin Gutierrez and a bunch of extras, including Greg Johns. This is a weird one. According to the tape he shows, Guti is trying to teach all of these people to make leaping catches at the wall. But none of the balls that we see them miss are sufficiently high or deep, and most of them are flies or line drives just to the front of the track. It's no wonder the extras can't learn from the instructional video. It shows Guti making a catch unlike any of the catches any of them are trying to make. Is Guti throwing these balls? Why isn't he throwing them better? The physical humor does give it some points.

Lucky Charm

Featuring Jason Vargas, Doug Fister and a couple unidentifiable white guys in the clubhouse. I like Vargas' delivery, and I'm a fan of the way he interrupts Fister for no reason. In the end, though, I can't see past the plot holes. Vargas and Fister have lockers next to one another. How has Fister never seen or smelled Vargas' lucky socks before? And how would one have an extra pair of lucky socks? To wear a second pair of lucky socks, one would have to not be wearing the first pair of lucky socks, which would've been unlucky. Unless Vargas was wearing both pairs at once, but then he wouldn't be willing to loan one of them out to Fister. And something tells me the 6'0 Vargas and the 6'8 Fister don't have the same size feet. I think I'm too analytical.

Encore Encore

Featuring Felix Hernandez, Eric Wedge, some white guys, Jaime Navarro, Carl Willis, and I think Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins and Brandon League. The commercial is 30 seconds long, but all the matters is Felix's one line. The expression, the content, the look, the delivery - it's absolutely, 100% perfect. That is hands-down the shining moment of the 2011 class, and I could see myself making Larry Bernandez jokes in 20 years.

Painful

Featuring Jack Zduriencik. I approve of the message. There's nothing at all wrong with what Jack has to say. But there's no way I'm going to want to hear him say it a few hundred times over the course of the season. They'll have to be very, very careful with the frequency and timing, here. Not only does it have the potential to grate on one's nerves after a while; it also has the potential to play right after the Mariners run themselves out of an inning. Thank God Casey Kotchman isn't on this team anymore. It's a good thing the guy on the table didn't screw up his line.

Update: I've been told that 'Painful' will not run past April, which is very good news. Even though we'll probably be sick of it in a couple weeks, kudos to Jack and the organization for confronting the issue and producing what is, in the end, a pretty ballsy spot.

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Overall

The Mariners commercials aren't perfect, but then one has to remember that we can't expect them to be, and they're routinely among the top crops in the league. And the peak - with Felix - is something I think I'll still be laughing at in September. They found their iconic moment and they hit it just right, and for that I'm grateful. People are going to remember "I'm Larry" the way they remember Edgar's "that's a problem."

Bonus! Slogan

This year's team slogan is Mariners Baseball: Ready To Play. Recall that last year's slogan was Mariners Baseball: Believe Big. Consider those two in sequence. A year ago, we were encouraged to dream about big things. This year, we're being assured that the Mariners will not be unprepared to play a baseball game. Don't get me wrong, it's good to be prepared, but maybe they've swung a little too far in the other direction. Tillamook Cheese: Able To Melt.

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