Major League Baseball marketing in the last year has been going with a campaign that embraces a “to each his own” approach when it comes to the players. Instead of hand-wringing and getting angry about a player showing emotion, let’s celebrate it because, after all, it’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun. 

In that spirit, MLB released three new spots as part of its “Let the kids play” ahead of the 2019 All-Star Game and they are excellent. Two of the commercials are personalized, one-minute videos sharing some background about the league’s biggest stars and the other is a preview of this year’s NL MVP race.

Here’s Cubs shortstop Javier Baez

El Mago!

Of note here, he mentions his sister, Noely. She died at 21 in 2015 due to spina bifida. He has long cited her as a big influence in his love for the game. 

Next up, Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich vs. Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger playing a game of “MVP.” 

Man, this has to be an homage to the McDonald’s Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan H-O-R-S-E commercial, right? How about Bellinger hitting seat 16 instead of 15 and having a wear an “M?” This is beautiful. 

We’ll close with the best player in baseball and one of the best of all-time: Angels superstar Mike Trout

I love this one as well and it’s for different reasons altogether. It seems like somewhere in celebrating a player like Baez, who is outwardly excitable and zealous on the field and also celebrating “bat flips,” some people started to thinking that those of us who do celebrate those things want every player to be like that. 

Trout gets excited and you can definitely tell he has fun, but he doesn’t really do things that anger the old guard. You basically never hear the curmudgeons whining about how Trout “doesn’t respect the game” or something like that. In turn, I sometimes stumble upon people on Twitter who either think Trout is boring or assume that many of us want him to bat flip more. Nope and nope. He’s exciting because he’s so good and I just want every player to be himself. Trout is authentically himself and he’s a baseball treasure. This commercial is perfect. 

The “Let the kids play” campaign continues to work for MLB.