Celebs Tout MLB Playoffs

NEW YORK Major League Baseball today breaks a celebrity-driven campaign that touts the upcoming playoffs and World Series, wrapped around a faux search for the “greatest post-season play of all time.”

The first spot features Jeff Probst in a humorous takeoff of his role as host of Survivor, interviewing actors playing Derek Jeter, Kirk Gibson and Bobby Thompson. The four-minute spot can be viewed at Actober.com (MLB’s dedicated post-season Web site) and on YouTube. Shorter versions will air during MLB games on network and cable.

Upcoming spots will feature James Caan, Ellen Pompeo, Kate Mara and William Peterson. MLB Productions, New York, is handling Actober creative in-house.

Probst’s spot resembles a Survivor tribal council scene (actually filmed in the host’s backyard), with the actors playing Jeter, Gibson and Thompson explaining why their play should be voted as the greatest post-season moment of all time and then taking tongue-in-cheek jabs at the others. They are Jeter’s famous shovel throw to home plate in the 2001 American League Division Series against the Oakland A’s, Gibson’s walk-off home run for the Los Angles Dodgers in the 1988 World Series against Oakland and Thomson’s 1951 “Shot Heard Round the World” home run for the then New York Giants who beat the then Brooklyn Dodgers in a one-game playoff.

Probst asks each why his particular feat is the greatest. “In 1988, Communism was unraveling in Eastern Europe, my knees hurt and we needed to win,” says Gibson. Thompson offers, “No batting gloves, no jewelry around my neck. I just stepped into the batter’s box and knocked it out.” Jeter is Mr. Humble, offering that the other two feats were better than his. In his favor, Gibson adds, “I was on a Wheaties box.” Jeter says, “I have four World Series rings.” Thompson proclaims, “I have a sandwich named after me.” Ultimately, Probst picks his own play, when he helped his team win the 1974 Little League World Series.