Have you seen the newest Brewers commercial campaigning for Jonathan Lucroy to start the All Star game over St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina? If not, here it is. Even if you have seen it, it's worth watching again.
It's worth watching again because it's hilarious, and plays off the weird 'Cardinal Way' that dictates baseball players should remain stoic and never celebrate anything, ever. Especially not in a way that was not done 75 years ago.
The Cardinals and manager Mike Matheny have seen it. And true to the Cardinal Way, they think it's inappropriate. Or, at least, Matheny does:
"It was just amazing that it was that much directed at our organization. I think that part probably caught me off guard the most.Not saying that's surprising. We've gone through this the last few years, especially last year with the Cardinal Way stuff getting blown way out of proportion. I think it can put a bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouth. But in defense of the recognition that our guys have had -- whether it's having a number of guys on the All-Star team -- that stuff isn't just handed out. These guys have worked hard for that. They have deserved it, and they have earned it, and I don't think that's anything for us to apologize for."
Strangely enough, despite the video's best intentions, it may actually end up costing Lucroy more than in will help him. In the end, if Lucroy is not elected to the All Star Game by fans, the Brewers' backstop will need to rely on either the player vote (where Buster Posey is a threat) or on the NL Manager selecting him. The NL Manager this year is Mike Matheny.
Now, I don't think Matheny would actually be vindictive enough to leave Lucroy off the NL All Star roster just because of an FSN Wisconsin commercial. That would be silly, considering his Cardinals may still very well make the World Series and thus would want a National League victory in the Twin Cities.
At this point, though, there might well be a greater chance that Lucroy is left off the roster for that reason than there is that Lucroy makes the roster through fan voting. When simplified, him being in third place for All Star voting means that he only needs to beat out two other people for that starting spot.
However, Lucroy sat over 865,000 votes behind Yadier Molina as of the last update on All Star voting from June 15. That's a huge, huge margin that Lucroy would have to make up. The good news is that Lucroy's vote total had been increasing at double the rate of Molina's, but it's still a nigh-insurmountable sum to overcome. Though Lucroy's total had been climbing faster as far as rate of change goes, both players saw their total votes rise by roughly 400,000 between updates.
So this video ad is putting their eggs in the fan voting basket to get him in the game. If Lucroy is not elected by fans, having made this video could hurt him. Again, it almost certainly won't because Matheny can't be that sensitive, but it's an interesting possible repercussion of the ad. But it's interesting to think that it could.
Whether Lucroy makes it or not, I don't really get why anyone with the Cardinals would need to get bent out of shape because of the video. I get that we love to hate the Cardinals because of their whole comportment, but surely even they could crack a smile at an obvious satirical ad. Apparently not, however.
The Brewers PR department is literally complimenting the Cardinals during this video. They are saying the Cardinals have been annoyingly successful! This is not a bad thing! If the narrator had been, like, "Vote Lucroy because Yadier Molina is a turnip-faced horselicker" I would laugh and then understand why the Cardinals might be upset. The worst thing the video says about St. Louis is that they are the status quo for All Stars. It's saying your players have been really really good!
I don't know. I just don't get it. At this point, I think the Cardinals are just pulling some elaborate joke that nobody gets. Like, Matheny came to town and was like, "Guys, people think the Cardinals are pretty pompous and humorless. I'm here to change that culture. What I think we should do is pretend to be even worse! Like, take offense to things no normal person would! It'll be hilarious, everybody will laugh and laugh!"
And I just assume the entire Cardinals team is so obstinate that they just can't even do the joke properly.