It is that time of year, friends, when someone who was always going to watch baseball all year critiques commercials that were created for people who were on the fence about watching baseball. These commercials aren’t for me. Chances are, if you’re on this site, they’re probably not for you. If the commercials for the 2018 Giants were something like this ...
BRUCE BOCHY: Hey, idiot. Watch the Giants this year, like you always do.
BUSTER POSEY: You know you’re going to anyway, you dumb sheep-person.
ANDREW MCCUTCHEN: My disdain for you and your entire family is palpable and eternal.
We would still watch! It probably wouldn’t do wonders for our self-esteem, but we would still watch. That decision was made long ago. Luckily for our delicate sensibilities, that is not what the commercials for the 2018 Giants are like. This year’s theme takes us into the alternate realities of the lives of Giants players, showing us what they would have been if they weren’t baseball players.
In previous seasons, I ranked the commercials, but I don’t think that’s necessary this year. They’re all based on the same idea, and they’re all executed roughly as well as the next one. If you like one, you’ll like them all. It’s worth noting that the Giants switched ad agencies this year, so for the people responsible for these ads, welcome! I’m the dork who looks over your hard work and makes stupid jokes after three minutes of careful contemplation.
Maybe two minutes, no promises.
Okay, maaaybe I’ll rank them loosely, from least favorite to favorite.
4. Brandon Crawford
If @bcraw35 weren't a player, he'd be the Associate Manager of a health food store and a full-time #SFGiants fan. Because when it comes to baseball, it doesn't get more SF. #SFGCommercials pic.twitter.com/W6qBRyDA4u— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 19, 2018
The only reason this comes in last is because it needs more Brandon Crawford. The other commercials play up the goofiness of the situation with the help of the players, but Crawford comes along only at the end to shove French fries in his mouth.
To be fair, the way he goes after those French fries is great.
I can respect that. It reminds me of the commitment Pawnee people have with their water fountains.
And Crawford’s long hair and quiet calm do make him a good fit. It’s not hard to picture him getting angry at his kid and grumbling something like, “I don’t get it. Carob tastes just as good as chocolate.”
Alternate, Grant-approved job: Personal trainer. Now picture Crawford with a man-bun quietly helping your significant other with their squats, and getting angry at the longing looks he’s getting. You don’t get those kinds of looks. What, he thinks he’s so special? You’re never going to that gym again, forget it.
3. Buster Posey
If @BusterPosey weren't a player, he'd be a famed Bay Area chef who finds culinary inspiration at @ATTPark. Because when it comes to baseball, it doesn't get more SF. #SFGCommercials | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/SdCI35Cfbg— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 19, 2018
This one also suffers from a lack of Posey, but I do appreciate the POSÉ touch, as well as the delicate tweezers putting microgreens on everything. It is also very comforting to me to picture Posey walking around with salt on him at all times. Like, it would be his thing, and everybody would know it.
PERSON #1: oh god buster’s coming
PERSON #2: He wouldn’t really put salt in my coffee, would he?
PERSON #1: Dunno, but I’m going to shove the rest of my sandwich in my hey, Buster!
BUSTER POSEY: Hey, guys!
POSEY: [immediately puts salt on EVERYTHING]
POSEY: [puts thumb-sized pile of salt in lower lip]
Never trust a person who walks around with an apron filled with salt, but if society collapses and electricity is no more, make friends with them. You’ll need that salt.
Alternate, Grant-approved job: Midwife. Double down on the Toyota ad, and it’s like buying two commercials for the price of one.
Okay, fine. Make Posey a pilot. No turbulence. Everybody suddenly has leg room. When the plane lands, everyone looks around and says, “Whoa, we just landed? Didn’t feel a thing.”
Unless he’s a fighter pilot who shoots MiGs out of the sky and earns Iceman’s respect. Either way, really.
2. Hunter Pence
If @hunterpence weren't a player, he'd be a local Bay Area artist whose favorite colors are orange and black. Because when it comes to baseball, it doesn't get more SF. #SFGCommercials | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/HJyjYexYBf— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 19, 2018
Oh, my word, it would have been so awful if they borked this one. There’s almost no profession you could give him that wouldn’t be funny. Pence delivering a closing statement in an embezzlement trial. Pence riding a police horse. Pence sliding out from under a leaky Dodge. So many options, and they’re all worthwhile.
This one is solid for obvious reasons.
And there’s also a moment before he turns his duck sculpture around where you think it’s going to be an effigy of you made out of hair that he’s collected when you’re asleep, but it turns out that he’s just being normal, friendly, and engaging, which are definitely two of the stages of getting used to Hunter Pence.
Alternate, Grant-approved job: Host on a show for children. The only reason he isn’t mashing together two Transformers and making KROOO PROOOO KROOOO sounds at home is because society doesn’t like it when grownups do that. Trust me.
In this alternate reality, though, Pence is on YouTube, unboxing toys with an excitement that’s impossible to conceal. He would have 2.3 million subscribers and be the subject of 37 different memes. I’m thinking of a more cerebral Stanley Spadowski’s Clubhouse:
Maybe with more video games and smashing Transformers together.
1. Joe Panik
If @JoePanik weren't a player, he'd be both the founder of a tech startup and a proud #SFGiants fan. Because when it comes to baseball, it doesn't get more SF. #SFGCommercials pic.twitter.com/XBLNNNxtLp— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) March 19, 2018
Yeah, this is something I didn’t know I needed. Joe Panik as a well-meaning tech bro,
The turtleneck and serious tech stare is a great touch, as is the perfectly immodest subtitle of the book. My only complaint about this commercial is that it glorifies the stupid tradition of rally lights. Giants hitters were 1-for-38 with those stupid lights, and the one hit was a Brandon Belt single where was thrown out stretching it into a double. Probably.
Still, that turtleneck.
And I want one of those mugs, too.
Alternate, Grant-approved job: It’s hard to compete with tech bro, but I could see Panik as a psychoanalyst, pen pressed against pursed lips, as he listens — I mean, really listens — to you recount the time Ben Lorber gave you a wedge in front of your gym teacher, who didn’t do anything about it. He would care, unlike literally anyone else, which is why he would be perfect for the job.
The most disappointing part of the new commercials is that there is no Andrew McCutchen. When Andrew McCutchen isn’t on the screen, all of the other Giants players should be asking, “Where’s Andrew McCutchen?” Come to think of it, considering how fun and rich this concept could be, it’s something of a bummer that there are only four of them. There will be some more promotional commercials coming later, but when it comes to alternate Giant professions, this is it.
So we’ll have to use our imaginations. McCutchen was either going to be a meteorologist or a film critic. Brandon Belt was going to be a whaler or faith healer. Madison Bumgarner was going to be an improv comic. And so on.
Here are the 2018 commercials. While they don’t have an over-emotive Buster Posey screaming, “¿Que lastima?”, they’re still pretty danged good. Now go out there and buy some baseball, sheeple.