Major League Baseball’s business strategy for the 2023 season revolves around convincing fans that rule changes like the pitch clock, larger bases, and limits on defensive shifts will energize and speed up the Grand Old Game.
MLB is turning to Hollywood heavy hitters Bryan Cranston and Sebastian Maniscalco for a new ad campaign to reinforce that message.
In the spots, the two stars explain how the rules changes will eliminate some dead time compared to past seasons. The tagline: “Three New Rules. More Great Action.”
In one spot, Cranston (the former star of “Breaking Bad,”), predicts more action on the basepaths like the glory days of stolen base king Rickey Henderson.
“Get that shift outta here. Free up the players to put on a show,” says Cranston in the spot. “It’s the best game in the world. Now it’s even better.”
Funnyman Maniscalco, meanwhile, applies his observational humor in several new spots, where he interacts with Little Leaguers.
“I’m excited about Major League Baseball. They’re putting limits on the shift,” Maniscalco says in one spot. “It’s going to create more athleticism. More action. Game’s going to be amazing this year.”
Baseball is also highlighting its young stars in the campaign.
MLB players such as Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox, Nestor Cortes of the New York Yankees, and Daniel Vogelbach of the New York Mets all appear in new commercials.
The funniest shows Vogelbach, a lumbering, 270-pound DH, trying to notch his first career steal due to the larger bases. A dismayed Mets manager Buck Showalter can’t even watch.
We’ll see if MLB’s strategy to draw more fans to the ballpark and TV by making the game family-friendly will work. But coming off the triumph of the World Basic Classic, MLB looks to have plenty of momentum heading into Opening Day on March 30th.
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