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The Pirates' perfect game: Another very serious advertising post

Tom Lynn

MLB 2K13 proudly announces the return of the Perfect Game Challenge. Pitch a perfect game for your favorite team and you could win some serious money, including a top prize of $250,000. Go to for details.

Hey, y'all know how I can't write a sponsored post without making fun of the idea of sponsored posts? You might think that makes me a twerp, and I can't really argue with that, but ... Matt Taibbi has written about how important the Joe Isuzu campaign in the 1980s was to shaping the modern era of advertising.

The idea here is that Isuzu was no longer trying to sell you on the idea that their product was good, at least not directly. Instead, they openly admitted to the mendacity of advertising, and attempted to get you to buy their product that way. You, the consumer, are too savvy to simply believe that the Isuzu Whatever is a good car simply because we, the people of Isuzu, tell you so. So instead, we will tell you that we know you, the consumer, are too savvy to believe us, and that is why you should buy our product. This idea has been central to the last quarter-century of advertising.

And so this is the style of advertising I'm going to go with. And I can't simply tell you that MLB2K13 is awesome, even though it probably totally is or whatever, because I don't play video games and I don't want to lie to you, for real. But maybe, just maybe, if I let you know that I already knew you already knew I don't play video games, and that you should buy this product anyway, you will buy this product, because I have shown you that I know how smart you really are.

The theme of this advertising campaign is the "Perfect Game." I checked. The Pirates have never had one. Dock Ellis might have had one if he hadn't gotten high. But the franchise hasn't had one. Because of LSD! So let me make one up.

Monday April 29
Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
43 degrees

It's a dark, cool day in Milwaukee, and for fans of the Brewers, something feels wrong. The Pirates are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak (I could go higher, but let's not be greedy here), having swept the Phillies and Cardinals. A.J. Burnett is the scheduled starter. (I have no idea if he's actually pitching that day, but he is on this day, in my imagination.) Right before the first pitch, the Milwaukee County DA descends into Miller Park via helicopter with a warrant to arrest Ryan Braun for crimes against fashion. Also, the jumbotron shows hidden-camera footage of Braun, in a restaurant, turning away complimentary beers and 40-year-old cheeses. The entire stadium, outraged by Braun's taste in cuisine and clothing, cheers as the DA enters, Batman-like, to haul Braun to jail. The people of Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are united in their hatred of Ryan Braun! And by our curiosity about how the Milwaukee County DA got a helicopter, and why he or she felt compelled to use it. It is a beautiful moment. We all call our friends and relatives in Wisconsin and sing "Kum-Ba-Ya," sweetly, tenderly.

Actually, I have no problem with anyone else who's currently on the Brewers' roster. Several of them are former Pirates -- Aramis Ramirez, Tom Gorzelanny, Mike Gonzalez. They all seem like perfectly decent guys. They are allowed to stay and get creamed as Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte each go 5-for-5. And I have no problem with the people of Milwaukee. Most of them seem perfectly nice. But this time, they have to watch the Brewers lose, and lose badly.

And lo, A.J. Burnett pitches a perfect game. And then the ghosts of Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Andy Van Slyke (who is not even dead, but whatever) descend upon Miller Park, and now the fine people of Milwaukee will really be wishing the Brewers had thought to close the roof that night because, although they will not be able to see the ghosts, they will know they are there. And the Wagner and Clemente and Stargell and Van Slyke apparitions will make a pact to watch over the Pirates and ensure that for the first time in two decades, the Bucs have a winning season. We will not know the ghosts of Wagner, Clemente, Stargell and Van Slyke have done this, and they will not even be visible to those of us watching the game at home, on TV. But in our own way, we will know. And we will rest content with the knowledge that, within a few months, the nightmare of the last 20 years will come to a merciful end.

Now, buy this video game.