Friday, September 25, 2009

"That's Dustin Pedroia Hitting!"

By now you have probably heard about the comments Jim Rice made about Zack Greinke sometime yesterday (which have since been pulled down). I believe the Chirs Littman from The Sporting Blog may have been the first on the case, Baseball Think Factory picked up Littman's post, Joe Posnanski threatened to write 20,000 words on the comments (and inadvertently crashed the site), Bob Harkins from Circling the Bases took Rice to task, I linked to them in our off night post, and Posnanski did write something about it, just not the aforementioned 20,000 word retort.

What is boils down to was that Rice said Greinke had "sporadic command", "didn't impress" him and "didn't seem dominant." Since Greinke is having an all-time great season in terms of ERA+, he had been drawing statistical comparisons to all-time great pitchers. Rice was having none of this, saying, instead of a prime Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, or Johan Santana, Greinke reminded him of a "righthanded Roger Moret".

You all remember ol' Rog', don't ya? He was the lanky left hander who spent parts of six seasons with the Red Sox starting in 1970. You know, the swing man with a career K/BB ratio of 1.20, who pitched over 100 innings in a season a whopping three times in his career and was out of baseball at age 28.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to point out how stupid it is to judge a pitcher's dominance based on one start because JoePos already did that better than I possibly could. Once in a while Joba Chamberlain conjures up images of a young Roger Clemens and but other times you see Sidney Ponson. That's the nature of starting pitching. A 3.00 ERA equates to 2 runs over six innings. The trick is being effective over the long run.

The real reason I wrote this post is because even though I had already read what Rice wrote, I went back and clicked on the "Ask 14" website that the post originally came from. It was back up this morning and, just in time for the final regular season installment of the Red Sox and Yankees, I struck gold two posts down.

Okay, let's go over the assumptions you're asked to make while watching this commercial:
  1. Dustin Pedroia works for a 6 year old girl. At a minor league baseball stadium.

  2. Pedroia is totally cool with this arrangement.

  3. On this particular day, she orders him to jump on a trampoline which appears to be situated down the first baseline of the field.
Now, for the action sequence!
  • If you watch closely, Pedroia appears to materialize magically on the trampoline, an effect which, amazingly, someone had to specifically request and another person had to actually do, but serves absolutely no purpose in the context of the commercial other than to make it even less realistic.

  • At first, no one is watching Dusty jumping around on said trampoline, but then right in the middle of one of his front flips (which almost certainly violate the terms of his contract) other people suddenly materialize, including other children and several adults.

  • After the flips, someone in the crowd tosses him a glove and cheer wildly as he... wait for it... CATCHES THE BALL WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY JUMPING ON A TRAMPOLINE. IMPOSSIBLE!

  • And for his final trick/task for his six year old boss, lil' Dusty shows off his hitting prowess by making contact with a ball on a trampoline, which we are then lead to believe has left the park for a home run, and how conveniently, directly over a Sullivan Tire sign.
Sullivan Ti-ah Guy: That's Hall of Fame hitting!

Jim Rice: That's Dustin Pedroia hitting!

Sullivan Ti-ah Guy: When you-ah great at what you do, you can perfo-ahm well und-ah any cirah-cumstances! Thaht's what we've been doing fwah ovah fifty yeahs at Sullivan Ti-ah!
The funny part about this is how obviously contrived the connection they are trying to make is:
Dustin Pedroia is on a trampoline > Hitting baseballs on a trampoline takes a lot of skill > Getting into the Hall of Fame also takes a lot of skill > Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame > Sullivan Tires can perform (sell tires?) "und-ah any cirah-cumstances!"
What are these circumstances? If there is a robbery taking place in the store, can you still mount and balance my new Michelins? If the location is flooded, will they still fix my flat?

Wow. Even if you leave all the other ridiculous shit the way it is, the Sullivan guy could just tell you that they sell tires that perform under any circumstances (snow tires, all-weather, racing, etc.) not they Sullivan Tire itself performs "under any circumstances" which doesn't make any sense at all.

I think people are so used to commercials, they usually just accept them at face value. They come at you during a barrage of other shitty marketing communications, most of which you either don't even acknowledge or simply dismiss offhand. But realize that every detail that goes into a 30 second TV spot has to be thought out and probably discussed with multiple other people. Which makes the above all the more laughable. If Sullivan Tire hired an outside agency to do this spot, they should really try to get some of their money back. If they did it themselves, they should probably think about hiring an outside agency.

And no discussion of terrible local advertising featuring a Red Sox player would be complete without this masterpiece from Route 125 Auto. I could write another 500 word break down of this marketing abomination but I think I'll pass.


  1. The Pedroia boys have a lengthy history of working with young children...

  2. @ Matt - LOL

    I don't think Dusty's brother would have wanted his work shown on TV though.

  3. Great post, Jay.

    It's great because most ballplayers in small markets pick up local endorsements, but the guys on the Yanks really don't. You don't see Carl Pavano as the pitchman for Duane Reade or CC Sabathia saying "Come on down to the Dinosaur BBQ!!". The only one I can remember seeing is Brian Schneider doing one for Toyota of Manhattan, I believe.

    And also, great comment Matt. Was thinking along those lines but you beat me to it.

  4. Even for a dumb jock, it is amazing how stiff and unconvincing PapSmear is in these commercials. Total dork material.

  5. Eh yo, Zack... I'mma let you finish, but Pedro Martinez was one of the best pitchers of all time!

  6. Pedro was sensational today and has proven to be a real asset to the Phillies this year.

  7. Looks like Sullivan is getting a lot of free publicity from all of you. Seems like the joke is on you. :-)