The Minnesota Twins might be struggling with their won-loss record in the early going of the 2011 season, but they remain one of the most consistent TV commercial-makers in all of Major League Baseball.
And it was only a matter of time until someone in the Twins marketing department married two of Minnesota's biggest icons: Jim Thome(notes) and Paul Bunyan. (OK, so Twinned Cities borrowed Bunyan from Quebec. Whatever.)
Thome, with his thick, colorful legs and powerful batting stroke, swings like the ax-wielding giant of Minnesota's storied lumberjacking mythology. All we needed was a faux folk song, a big ox painted blue, plus cameos from teammates Joe Mauer(notes) and Michael Cuddyer(notes) and — pow! — we got ourselves another classic Twins commercial!
10. They really painted the ox blue. It could be CGI, but even if it isn't, I'm sure the paint will come off. But even if the beast suffocates, it was all in the name of art.
9. The awesome video title: "Blue Ox/Twins v. Rays." Sell those tickets.
8. The backing track includes part of a real folk song! It goes:
Deep in Twins Territory, there's a legendary story
Of a man with an ox in the batter's box; He hit one to Missouri
Can just picture Jimmers sittin' on a front porch, pickin' a banjo, grinnin' and singin' along.
7. The detailed map: The commercial begins like an episode of "Bonanza," though the map doesn't burn. It does include references to Lake Superior (or "Lake Gitchie-Gumie," as it was called by Longfellow and Gordon Lightfoot). Also, Wisconsin is referred to as " 'Sconny."
6. Cows, cows, everywhere there's cows: Including the "Really Big Cow," shown on the map just west of Bismarck, N.D. It's a real cow, too (H/T @pbsenerchia)!
5. Thome's attitude: As he's walking the ox down the hallway, Thome expresses an earnest greeting for his 'mates. "Cuddy, Joe. How's it goin'? " Very Thome-like.
4. Cuddyer's spit take: You can never go wrong with a spit take.
3. Thome's double-breasted lumberjack grunge shirt: He's the Flim-Flannel man! Complete with Thome's No. 25, it's as if JimJam is saying, "Here I am now, to entertain you."
1. The stance. Thome ends the advertisement posing as he does at home plate before taters.