You Can Always Watch Phillies Games for the Commercials

The team might stink this year, but at least we'll be entertained by ridiculous local ads.

Were you psyched for baseball this year? Were you still pumped once you learned that the Phillies are old and terrible, and all they do is bunt? Happy baseball season, everyone!

Yes, we are only four games into the 2012 season. But what a pathetic four games it’s been: After a 1-0 win in the opener, the Phillies blew leads to the Pirates in consecutive games, then were shellacked by the Marlins in the home opener on Monday. Longtime fans will remember this frustration, but for many this may be a brave new world of mediocrity. That doesn’t mean you can’t get loads of entertainment out of the local baseball nine. There are the commercials.

If you watch the Phillies a lot during the season, you’ll see stupid local commercials almost as much as the team. Maybe more! The gold standard of this, of course, is this Steak ‘Em Up commercial, a Budweiser “Wassup” parody 10 years late. What, they couldn’t get three frogs to spell out Steak ‘Em Up?

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is the greatest commercial in TV history. The Philly accents, the insanity of parodying a decade-old commercial, the love these guys show for a small South Philly pizza place all make it great. It didn’t air during CSN’s broadcast of Monday’s home opener, but there were some entertaining ads nonetheless.

Let’s take a look at some of the better ones from the season so far. It’s a small sample size, but do you really want to discuss the Phillies’ record so far?

Wait, scratch that. This might be the greatest commercial in TV history. Philly Mag cover boy Hunter Pence apparently works out with bread. I’m pretty sure Pence—who is so goofy he’s approaching Donovan McNabb levels—wasn’t paid for this commercial, and this is how he actually works out. How does he keep such a physique by lifting Liscio’s rolls?! It’s a good thing they used advanced chroma-key technology to film Pence, incidentally: Anyone acting that suspicious in front of Independence Hall would be arrested.

What’s amazing about this ad is how many overdone Philadelphia cliches it avoids. If this were a national ad, Hunter Pence would be lifting cheesesteaks while he ran up the Art Museum steps. Then he’d throw a snowball at Santa.

Holy crap, this ad is epic. If it had just used “300 Violin Orchestra,” I’d totally be blowing 10 grand on an accessory that duplicates what the clock feature on my cell phone already does. My favorite part of the ad, though, is when it cuts to a guy who kinda looks like Saddam Hussein did when he was on trial.

This commercial is a classic ad format: Buy a Rolex from Govberg, and you can score a ballerina or a conductor. Eh, not bad, I guess.

This is essentially the downmarket version of the Govberg Jewelers ad. Buy a $3 beer, and you can get a dude wearing an undershirt or a guy with a stupid hat! It has a lot of commercial overacting, but my favorite part of the commercial is the older couple embracing when the husband comes home with the case of Yuengling Lager. I like to think it’s his anniversary present to her. “Oh, honey, it’s just what I wanted!”

W.B. Mason isn’t a local company—headquartered in Massachusetts, they’re the real-life Dunder Mifflin, essentially—but a few years ago someone there apparently made the decision to exclusively advertise during baseball games. These Bean Brains commercials have been running for a few years now, and I’m impressed the company is still in business. How do they compete when W.B. Mason keeps stealing all their clients?

There are a few ads in this series, but this is my favorite. Everyone overacts at impressive levels, and everyone is so damn goofy looking. Also, the dude in the sweater is very clearly wearing a fat suit.

Shame on AAMCO for making fun of people with speech impediments. How is this acceptable in 21st-century America? Only a year after The King’s Speech, and we’ve already fallen back so much.