Miguel Cabrera currently owns the mantle of best hitter in baseball. Despite this lofty status, the Tigers slugger doesn’t have too many national endorsement deals. Unless you’re watching Tigers games or locked in on MLB Network, you rarely see him, despite the fact he has posted two MVP-caliber seasons back-to-back and won the Triple Crown in 2012.
Chrysler changed that with this button-pushing ad for its new Town and Country, which was posted to YouTube on Friday. It aired a couple times during Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS over the weekend on FOX.
The commercial starts off innocently enough with shots of kids playing baseball, as the narrator intones:
“… The road to greatness is the same for everyone, no rest stops, no fast lanes … and definitely no shortcuts.”
Smash cut to:
So many directions to go here.
An A-Rod joke? A crack about Cabrera’s nasty alcohol-related arrest in early 2011 and the fact he’s now endorsing automobiles? Or how about pointing out the Tigers wouldn’t be in the ALCS if not for Jhonny Peralta, who served a 50-game suspension for PEDs earlier this season?
If anything it’s another example PED gremlin gripped onto its leg of baseball that won’t let go. The message of the ad (I’m guessing) is that truly great players don’t need to cheat in order achieve their greatness. That’s a noble enough message, in theory.
Problem is, somebody sitting on their couch watching that commercial sees the asterisk and immediately thinks: steroids & baseball. It helps perpetuate the idea baseball is the only sport with PED problems, even if this ad doesn’t feature a single Major League Baseball logo. (Chrysler isn’t an official sponsor of MLB, therefore the ad wasn’t subject to baseball’s approval.)
Meanwhile many other professional sports, the NFL namely, have their own issues with PEDs. Players get a four-game suspensions for violating the league’s drug policy on a regular basis and and nobody bats an eye.
There are a lot better ways to tout greatness than a backhanded shot at Barry Bonds a decade after the fact.
Also, one further irony in this commercial. It uses the image of a fan holding an asterisk sign then cuts a few seconds later to pictures of Roger Maris and his 61 home run season in 1961. Billy Crystal’s HBO movie, “61*” includes an asterisk over the supposed controversy of Maris hitting his 61 homers in the 162-game season compared to Babe Ruth, who hit 60 in 1927 when the baseball season lasted only 154 games.
And yes, before you point it out with a comment, by writing about this and drawing attention to it, I’m just as guilty.
Related: Biogenesis: Mission Accomplished!