While editing the latest piece by Zach Gropper, which will be published soon, I came across the following line in reference to Melky Cabrera’s underwhelming power numbers when compared to other NL MVP candidates:
And let’s not forget…chicks dig the long ball.
And, of course, I could not help but think back to the great Nike commercial that coined the phrase, which immediately became embedded in the lexicon of baseball.
I was going to just link to the video, but then I watched it and remembered how awesome it was. So it gets its own post.
As it used to every time I watched it on TV, Greg Maddux’s nasally whine of “Hey, we’ve got Cy Young winners over here!” still makes me laugh.
But so much else about how I view the rest of the commercial now has changed. I think you’ll agree that so many parts of it, in hindsight, are just delicious with irony.
And it starts from the beginning.
Tom Glavine asks, “How long are they going to worship this guy?” The answer is until about 2005 Tom, when Jose Canseco’s book Juiced came out and sent us hurtling towards present day where guys like McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and so many others are closer to pariahs than the gods they were once perceived to be.
And all because of the damned magic shoes!
Wait. Never mind. There was alchemy involved alright, but it wasn’t the shoes that were magic.
Which is, of course, another subtle element of irony in this commercial.
Steroids, or more generally performance-enhancing drugs, clearly have a huge impact on the long ball. Just look at the drop in home run and overall run scoring numbers since testing was instituted. So a lot of the guys Big Mac represents in this commercial were pretty clearly on something to put up the monstrous numbers they did.
But as we all know, steroid use can also have adverse effects on the testicles and cause severe back acne, among other issues. Do chicks really dig that? Because for a while there in baseball, it didn’t really seem possible to have one without the other.
Just a thought I had while watching.
Also: Glavine and Maddux should have been smart enough to realize that Heather Locklear only dates rock stars. They weren’t winning her over with a few batting practice home runs, Bash Brothers forearm bang or not.
Actually, now that I think about it, Locklear’s most recent – and current, I think – relationship is with Jack Wagner, who kind of, sort of, somewhat resembles Glavine. So…advantage Glavine.
But Maddux can take solace in the fact that he’ll surely get more Hall of Fame votes when both become eligible in 2014, because HoF voters dig four straight Cy Youngs and overall greatness like this.
As a final thought, I always enjoyed the juxtaposition of the massive power hitter in McGwire being opposed by the noted location and movement specialist Maddux and the soft-tossing, corner-painting Glavine.
Ostensibly, chicks dug the long ball because of the power and prowess it represents. Maddux and Glavine were the exact opposite, putting together Hall of Fame careers with finesse and intelligence. In terms of pitchers, you could more easily imagine Roger Clemens stepping into the batter’s box and crushing home runs by the sheer force of his strength and will, but Maddux and Glavine would seem more like high-average, low-power types, akin to a Joe Mauer.
Of course, we know that chicks and hairy fat guys dig Joe Mauer, so I guess that fits just fine.