It's that time of year again, I can almost smell the spilled draft beer and bar burgers in the air. There is the usual increase in foot traffic around Wrigleyville bars, and the nightlife appears to have even had a rejuvenation - just in these past few mild weathered nights.
For Chicago Cubs fans, spring training - and the games leading up to Opening Day - are a bit of a Utopian hallucination. "This is the year", rings from pub to parlor, as are predictions, curse-reversals, and armchair GM debates. However, one particular company has gone too far in it's attempt to capture the glory of what the future has to hold for the 2012 Chicago Cubs.
Sony Entertainment and Sony San Diego - known for "The Show" Major League Baseball installments, have concocted the ultimate marketing strategy for their "MLB12 The Show" video game for the Playstation platform. The game is dubbed as one the most realistic and lifelike versions of it's kind. With real-life movements, the vitality of the game is supposed to make you feel as if it is - Reality.
They captured this to near perfection in their teaser commercial for the launch of MLB12. It shows the city of Chicago, gripping it's heels as the final out of the 2012 World Series is playing out and - their beloved Cubs - are one out away from winning it all.
The pitch... The out..... CUBS WIN! The Chicago Cubs have won the WORLD SERIES!....
The Hancock Tower and Sears Tower both are emblazoned with "Cubs Win" and fireworks illuminate the Chicago skyline. People are dancing on top of cars on Clark & Addison and a city-wide party is in order. Priests rejoice and the elderly exhale.
Cut to some schmo sitting in his studio apartment, controller in hand. It was all a fantasy - well franchise mode simulation, of the 2012 season via "MLB12 The Show", so graphic in all it's glory.
See for yourself
Although I did not like this commercial, I appreciated the butterfly feeling I began to get in my stomach just imagining the scenario. Where would I be? How crazy would this city get when it actually wins the World Series? And who should I call first in a drunken rage saying,
"What now, huh?"
It also gave me that feeling I have been trying so hard to get rid of ever since we hired Theo Epstein. During my first 25 years as a Cubs fan, I believed in "The Curse", that a goat was keeping the Cubs from winning it all. And if not the goat, something was awry - as it was creeping on a century without the sweet smell of champagne on the Northside.
That all changed on October 12, 2012. When the Chicago Cubs hired Epstein, I vowed the "curse" was no more. I was officially throwing my superstitions out the window and embracing new-age technology and good ol' fashioned sabermetrics. However, that same feeling crept back in as I asked myself, "Why would they jinx the Cubs like that?" and "No, not again!"
This is not the type of media bravado that a rebuilt Cubs organization needs. Playing upon the agony and convoluted existence in which Cubs fans thrive on was down right criminal in this instance, as the realness of the scene resonated deeply with many that I've overheard whom watched it.
I am a Cubs fan, I have won over 26+ World Series Championships with the Chicago Cubs in my years playing video games. I know the feeling sitting in my room, imagining the elation and celebration - as my team finally becomes a true dynasty - paling other teams in comparison.
This commercial goes against everything I wanted the Cubs to deal with going into the 2012 season. No goats, no Sianis, no squirrels, no Ronnie Woo-Woo (a man can dream), and no curses.
Whoops, I'm doing it again....