Programming note: Watch Yahoo SportsTalk Live tonight at 5 and 11 p.m. to see the television debut of one of the A's upcoming "Green Collar Baseball" commercials and hear from A's senior director of marketing Troy Smith
PHOENIX -- The Oakland A’s clubhouse is filled with some entertaining personalities, but who knew the nuttiness spilled over into the coaching staff?
The media got a sneak preview Saturday morning of A’s commercials slated to run throughout the 2014 season on Comcast SportsNet California. Surprisingly, it’s the coaches – normally used as the straight men in the comedic routines – who shine.
Take the scene where manager Bob Melvin, pitching coach Curt Young and third base coach Mike Gallego are getting social media training from reliever Sean Doolittle.
“How do you butt-dial?” Young inquires.
“Can I blog from my BlueBerry?” Melvin asks in one of the outtakes.
The A’s marketing department scored with some funny TV ads even before the team turned things around in the standings starting in 2012. For the past three seasons, Oakland’s “Green Collar Baseball” ad campaign has been recognized with honors by the National Sports Forum.
After back-to-back division titles, now there’s more quality material to play off of, and fans identify with some of the unique personalities that dot the roster.
There’s the spoof of the A’s “home run tunnel,” where players line up with blow dryers and dry Doolittle’s beard as he walks through. In another commercial, first baseman Brandon Moss’ non-stop chatter helps him pick off a runner.
But the coaches’ spots are the best. With the A’s celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1989 World Series, it was a natural to play off the generational gap between the coaches and today’s technology.
That’s why Gallego is shown in one commercial wearing a mullet and talking on a huge cell phone that Gordon Gekko would have used in “Wall Street” back in 1987.
“Young and Gallego are just ridiculous together,” said DJ O’Neill of HUB Strategy, who has helped shape the team’s advertising for the past five years.
O’Neill said Sonny Gray impressed everyone with his on-camera ability, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering Gray took three years of acting at Vanderbilt University. But Moss proved the funniest player.
“He was the best,” said Jim Leahey, the A’s vice president of sales and marketing.
All eight commercials for this season were filmed over a three-day span in Phoenix shortly before spring training. The first commercial will debut March 20, but the ads will start streaming before that on the A’s web site.
The team also revealed the Josh Donaldson bobblehead to be given away April 19. It’s a shot of Donaldson making a backhanded grab, with a diorama background of the diving catch he made over the tarps last season.
This year's campaign will feature the following new and unique commercials, which will appear on TV and online:
Tunnels of Greatness: Josh Donaldson, Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Sean Doolittle and Derek Norris find new uses for the home run tunnel celebration.
Secrets of the Game: Young players Parker, Gray and Norris turn to veteran Brandon Moss for his secrets to success in the majors.
Tarp Therapy: Donaldson's famous tarp catch last season had a tremendous effect on his life, and the lives of others.
Unicorn 2.0: Doolittle and Parker attempt to take the signature unicorn bullpen backpack to another level this year.
Generations: Moss learns that for some fans, being on the field for a fireworks show can fulfill a lifelong dream.
#winning: Doolittle coaches Bob Melvin, Curt Young and Mike Gallego on social media best practices.
Holding Him On: Moss is a talkative guy, and his mouth can be as much of a weapon as his bat.
Pre-Internet: Coaches Young and Gallego both reflect on how much has changed since their 1989 World Championship with the A's.