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Rating the MLB TV ads aired during games

If we have to watch them a thousand times, they had this coming.

Boston Red Sox Outfield Grass Pattern Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Many, many Tigers fans are Michigan locals, who likely have the ability to watch games on local television, or at least hear Dan Dickerson’s dulcet tones on a local radio broadcast. But for international fans, or fans around the country, the only option in many cases is to watch the Tigers play on MLB TV.

Love or hate the streaming service — and with blackout restrictions, many people opt for “hate” — it is the only real option available to fans around the country and around the world who want to follow their beloved team.

The service has also undergone an evolution over the last ten years or so as to what they show during commercial breaks. Obviously local commercial content is out, so we don’t get to see Belle Tire ads every half inning. Once upon a time, before MLB TV realized they could make money on selling ad space, they simply showed a blue screen that remarked “Commercial Break in Progress” and would then subsequently scare the crap out of you when the game restored at full volume.

More recent iterations involved throwbacks to incredible moments and plays in MLB history, but apparently MLB TV did not realize they had over fifty years of broadcast footage available to them, and simply reused the same twenty clips over and over until you weren’t sure you even liked baseball anymore.

Now, they’ve come to realize “Hey, we can sell ad space to make even more money off of fans who aren’t able to watch these games in person” and they have inserted repeating commercials into the broadcast lulls.

So without further ado, here is my personal rating of the handful of commercials I have been forced to watch on a loop all season long (with the caveat that these are clearly regionally targeted, because many are Canadian, and you may have seen different content throughout the season than I did).

The Best: Apple iPhone Privacy ad

In this ad a variety of people go about loudly oversharing the thoughts, information, and data they would otherwise only share on their phone. It’s a clever, and genuinely funny way to remind people that personal privacy is vital in this day and age.

You would think I would be completely sick of this commercial having to watch it roughly 47 times every game, but I still chuckle every single time the office girl goes, “I hate Lee, though. Barf emoji.”

Rating: 9/10

The Most Hypocritical: MLB Real Heroes

I actually can’t find a version of this to embed as it doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, but you can find it here. That said, this video in which MLB players thank frontline and healthcare workers has played so often this season I’m sure you’ve all seen it a million times.

The first time I watched it, it was beautiful and moving, I might have teared up a little. But by the tenth time seeing it in a single game, the impact had worn off. Furthmore, seeing teams who contributed to COVID-19 outbreaks, game cancellations, and more work for those same frontline workers, made the message fall a little short, and take on a hypocritical taint. Especially as the ad promises “we’ll follow your example!” and players have shown that they have difficulty practicing the most basic social distancing or preventative health measures.

It was a great idea in theory, but doesn’t quite hold up to repeated viewing.

Rating: 5/10

Most Appropriate for a Sports Game: Skip the Dishes

The only thing baffling about this ad featuring St. Louis Cardinals mega-fan Jon Hamm (and a weirdly hilarious cry of “Let’s get loud”) is that one of the in-game sponsors for MLB this season is Skip competitor DoorDash.

Rating: 7/10

The One I Never Get to Watch Fully: The Long Way Up

This ad for a new Apple TV+ original series sure looks like it would be a fun show, but in having seen the ad roughly 30 times, I don’t think I’ve seen it all the way through even once.

The conceit, is that Ewan McGregor and his bestie Charley Boorman are making an epic motorcycle roadtrip from Argentina to Los Angeles. It’s a neat premise (and not a new one for McGregor and Boorman who have two other series and two books about various motorcycle road trips they’ve done), but you never get the full narrative thread in these broken up and interrupted ad bites.

This one should have been re-edited before submitting it to a micro-advertising platform.

Rating: 7/10 for Ewan McGregor’s delightful Scottish accent asking South American children if they’ve seen Star Wars.

The What Is This Even For? One: Stelara

Stelara, I’ve learned, can be used to help treat symptoms of Crohn’s disease, one of which seems to be represented here with loved ones and co-workers having vanished in a hurry, presumably to rush to the bathroom, but this ad makes very little clear about what the drug is treating.

Rating 4/10 Confusing.

The Obviously Canadian Ones

These ones are so specifically regional I doubt anyone outside of the Great White North has encountered them, and I can’t even find them online, but I keep getting ads for Ford Employee Pricing that feature obviously paid actors as “real Ford owners” talking about how great the trucks are.

The other baffling one is a completely French ad for shoe inserts from... Dr. Scholls? Maybe? I am just thoroughly amused and confused to be getting targeted French ads.

Rating: 2/10 boring and forgettable.

What do other MLB TV viewers think about this new switch to advertising instead of game clips? Are there any specific ads you’re seeing I didn’t mention?