A Perfect Squeeze Play by MMB

The trade of Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees was not only bad news for Boston baseball fans, it was bad news for Boston ad agencies—for one in particular, anyway.

After the unexpected trade, McCarthy Mambro Bertino, the independent Beantown shop, had to scramble to reshoot an Atari TV spot touting the launch of the videogame Backyard Baseball PS2, starring A-Rod—this time in much snazzier Yankees pinstripes. The makeover extended to packaging and online components, and MMB had just a week to erase any memory of A-Rod as a Texas Ranger.

Rodriguez took 30 minutes out of his spring training schedule in Tampa for the do-over. “Fortunately, the script was simple,” says Tom Nichols, brand director at Atari. “He looked so much better in those Yankees pinstripes, I have to say.”

Backyard Baseball allows kids to create their own characters, who play alongside pint-size versions of pro players. Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra, who was almost shipped out of Boston this winter in the A-Rod-to-Boston trade that didn’t happen, is also one of the characters in the game.

In A-Rod’s spot, he says things like, “Do you need a power hitter on your team? Do you need a guy that can hit a fastball? … Do you need a guy who can hit anything?” The spot, which breaks March 29, was directed by Rudi Schwab of Element Productions in Boston.