Before I begin to dissect what might be the greatest commercial in baseball internet history, I just wanted to apologize for the severe lack of content on my end here at CFB. I’ve been sorta busy but there isn’t really any excuse and I also realize it totally doesn’t matter considering most of y’all only read our stupid tweets but yeah. We’re gonna have a post early next week about what CFB is gonna be once we’re both in college and trying to get an education, but for now we’re gonna try to “produce” a few stupid things over the next few days.
A few months ago, Microsoft came out with this advertisement to promote their new tablet, the Microsoft Surface, as a legit competitor for the iPad. Here it is:
Hopefully this isn’t the first time you’ve watched it, but whatever. I’ve now watched it about 20 times and I am prepared to ask a lot of questions.
Okay, the scene is set. There is a left-handed pitcher throwing to a catcher while a guy who is probably his coach is out there right next to the mound watching him. There are a few other players in the outfield. This seems to be a college field or some other amateur level. If this is a game, or even pre-game warm ups, why is the coach out there at all? Okay, let’s just move on.
Oh god. As the catcher receives the ball, we get a glimpse of what this scene is really about. Two questionably dressed men on the left holding two different types of tablet. Oh, and a nice black gentleman in a track suit with a radar gun. Mr. Track Suit doesn’t seem to be doing anything with his radar gun readings, as his other hand is just chillin’ in his pocket. The only two spectators behind home plate seem to be washed up players who do not want to be at this game.
Both scouts are shown very clearly looking at their respective tablets. iPad scout claims “this guy’s got great stuff”, obviously referring to the one completely regular pitch that this magical lefty threw five seconds ago. Microsoft scout is smirking at something. Who is iPad scout even talking to?
OH IT’S A GUY IN A SUIT WHO IS PROBABLY SUPPOSED TO BE THE GENERAL MANAGER. Because obviously GM’s spend their time Skyping amateur scouts to find out how a lefty is pitching in his pre-game warm-ups. The GM asks “how many strikeouts this season?”. Not “does he even throw 90 MPH?” or “has he ever thrown a breaking ball?”. He wants to know how many batters this lefty has struck out this season. And only iPad scout has that information. iPad scout is frustrated, as he CHANGES APPS to go find out the pitcher’s holy strikeout total.
Okay, so two of the 30 GM’s are Skyping amateur scouts who are watching a left handed college pitcher warm up. Who is this pitcher?!?!? And if he’s that big of a deal, WHY IS THERE NO ONE ELSE AT THIS GAME? I wish I could figure out what jersey is behind Microsoft scout’s GM but I can’t figure it out. It obviously couldn’t be a real player but still, I’m curious. Microsoft GM asks “what’s this kid’s ERA?”. Again, not a question that any rational GM would ever ask one of their amateur scouts on the fly, but sure okay. Microsoft scout responds “1.73”. Okay, so that’s pretty awesome.
This is when Microsoft GM drops the greatest question of all time. “How bout his ERA against lefties?”. OKAY NOW. HOLD ON. There is no such baseball statistic that exists that tracks ERA against batters of a certain handedness. LOOK AT HIS FACE. It’s almost like he’s quizzing his scout as if to make sure he’s remembering that some batters bat left handed. Microsoft scout responds “2.88”. Okay hold on. Even if “ERA against lefties” existed, isn’t it a bit weird that this legendary southpaw is currently rocking some serious reverse platoon splits? Is he a deception guy? Shouldn’t the GM be asking about his “ERA against righties”? SO MANY THINGS WRONG I JUST CAN’T
This is a golden shot. iPad scout is looking enviously at Microsoft scout as he seamlessly scrolls through this pitcher’s imaginary statistics. There is a nearly empty dugout in the background that seems to be a complete mess and does not have any railings or protective netting.
Microsoft GM tells Microsoft scout “looks like we should pull the trigger on this kid” implying he would like to just go ahead and sign the kid on the spot. Microsoft scout tells him that he’s gonna go talk to his agent. WHY IS HIS AGENT THERE? WHY IS HE DOING THIS BEFORE THE GAME? WHAT IS HAPPENING
iPad GM asks iPad scout, “how are we looking?” which just doesn’t even make any sense. Is he implying that they came to this game specifically to sign this pitcher on the spot before the other team that specifically came to the game to sign this pitcher signed this pitcher? HOW JUST HOW DOES THIS EVEN BEGIN TO MAKE SENSE? We see Microsoft scout shaking the superstar southpaw’s RIGHT HAND presumably reaching an instant agreement to sign before he has even pitched in the game. Because reasons. The catcher is walking out to congratulate him on his incredibly new contract because that’s how baseball works. Throwing drills resume in the outfield as if nothing is happening.
In this final shot, we see sad iPad scout. He is embarrassed and disappointed in his intense effort to sign this pitcher. Oh hey, there’s Mr. Track Suit scout. I don’t know if the back of his jacket is supposed to be his name, the team’s name, or whatever, but it looks like it should either say “SECURITY” or “OFFICER”. I’m willing to be argued otherwise. Anyway, HOLY SHIT THIS COMMERCIAL.
I’m sure there are a million other things about this ad that I missed and please let me know what they are so I can appreciate this catastrophic portrayal even more.
I thought it was odd they were both on the field, not in the stands.
You kind of touch on this, but I think it’s worth mentioning that this white, presumably American pitcher couldn’t just be signed out of no where. He’d need to be drafted. Which makes this commercial even more absurd.
I have spent 10 minutes trying to figure out if the bigger scout is Kevin Heffernan of Broken Lizard fame (Super Troopers, Beerfest…). There are conflicting internet reports.
It’s Kevin Heffernan. I met him once, nicest guy in the world. It doesn’t make me a better person, but I can verify it’s him.
“There is no such baseball statistic that exists that tracks ERA against batters of a certain handedness.”
Um, yes there is. I mean, it’s a stupid stat of course, but it’s easy to find.
no… there isn’t.
no… there isn’t
Go to any pitcher’s page on cbssports.com and click situational stats, on the vs Righties and Lefties line ERA is reported. Not sure how the earned runs are calculated, did they score during a lefties AB, or did a left handed batter end up scoring? All kinds of problems with the stat, but it does exist.
I think the fact that they’re skyping/facetiming (whatever) is absurd. WHY NOT JUST USE THE PHONE CAPABILITY? Why does the GM need to see the Scouts ugly, chubby face?
The kid’s name is Erick Moultrie, who is pitching at what I assume is an independent league for all practical purposes. From what I can read he’s 175 lbs. The dugout looks like someone took a bathroom and placed it next to a baseball field, which is something an indy team would do. The first GM is named Randolph Gaylord and they’re talking at 1:05 PM his scout lost 43% of battery life on his iPad in 2 SECONDS AND LOST 3 AND A HALF HOURS as it is not 4:32 PM. The data looks like pitch f/x (which is incredible considering that this is an indy league stadium) and the only thing that I can guess this would be is a velocity reading. His chart only shows 1 color, so this kid only throws 1 pitch, which has to be a fastball. Using the axis that Fangraphs uses, this kid throws with consistent velocity in the 80s with all sorts of random vertical movement.
GM #2 is named Ernest Ashmore and has a #53 Webber jersey hanging behind him.
After they’ve gone over their kid’s reverse platoon split, scout #1′s iPad is back at 100% and it is all of a suddenly 1:05 PM again. TWILIGHT ZONE.
Oh and some how both scouts’ Skype backgrounds are the outfield while standing in front of the infield grandstand.
You’ve seen this ad 20 times? You obviously are not a regular user of MLB.com At Bat for the iPad. This commercial shows every half inning of every Tiger game and has ALL YEAR! I’ve seen this damn commercial well over 1000 times.
F M L !
1. Someone pointed out how very very large that catcher is. He’s Molinesque.
2. GM of Shitty Scout has a picture of his kid on his desk behind him. That’s sweet, because since he’s a GM, he never actually gets to see his family.
3. Good Scout is SO SMIRKY
4. The clothing choices, at least, seem deadly accurate.
Jeremy Brown is a good comp
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