MLB “Beyond Optimism”

“You gotta have hope,” explains the showstopping number in the vintage musical Damn Yankees. And hope is indeed baseball’s animating spirit in spring, when fans of even the weakest teams can dream of a season that confounds all reasonable expectations. This spot for Major League Baseball, via McCann Erickson of New York, taps into that sentiment as it shows clips of fans opining optimistically about their teams’ prospects for 2009. Actually, the expectations are perfectly realistic in many of these cases, as seven of the 13 teams whose fans are featured went to the post-season last year. But the spot does include a few people who can plan overseas vacations in October with little risk they’ll miss a chance to watch their team in the playoffs. (Sorry, Pirates fans.) When the tagline refers to the fans’ cheery predictions as “beyond optimism,” is it implying that we’ve witnessed some out-and-out delusions? Well, if you’re going to be delusional about something, your team’s pennant prospects are a relatively harmless outlet. Anyhow, fans of good teams will be prompted to get out to the ballpark soon, so they won’t look like front-runners if their team does romp to the pennant. And fans of bad teams will be prompted to get out there before the number in the “games behind” column hits double digits. –Mark Dolliver