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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

March 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Mariners unveil 2011 television ad campaign

The release of the Mariners’ commercials is always an eagerly anticipated day in spring, and this year’s batch does not disappoint.

Using the tag line “Ready To Play” — with Rick Rizzs doing the narration in place of the late Dave Niehaus — the Mariners unveiled five spots.

I predict that the Felix Hernandez commercial, “Encore Encore,” in which Hernandez tries to sneak into a game disguised as “Larry Bernandez” — he had pitched the day before — will be the people’s choice. Hernandez is developing the same kind of likability factor in front of a camera that made Edgar Martinez so popular.

The Ichiro commercial, in which he takes batting practice whacks at all sorts of odd objects, is good as well (though it will be hard to top the Ichiro/Ken Griffey prank spot last year, one of the classics).

I thought the Mariners made a wise decision in addressing last year’s woes head on in the well-executed “Painful” spot, with Jack Zduriencik assuring better times are ahead. The other two are amusing as well, one featuring Jason Vargas and Doug Fister, the other Franklin Gutierrez and a cast of extras that includes Greg Johns of MLB.com. Greg’s the fielder with the red sleeves, but don’t blink or you’ll miss him.

Kevin Martinez and Greg Greene of the Mariners, and Jim Copacino of Copacino + Fujikado always manage to find humor, no matter how bad the Mariners team they have to promote.

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