Move over, Larry Bernandez. Step right up, Mr. Buffalo. The Mariners unveiled their 2013 lineup of television commercials on Wednesday, a series of somewhat benign spots compared to recent years and potentially more notable for an absence than any truly iconic segments.
Gone from the lineup of six ads under a new “True to the Blue” theme is any reference to the Bernandez character, played two years ago by Felix Hernandez. The character was brought back last year in the form of a sock puppet, an homage to the character’s popularity and the fan look-alikes it spawns at Safeco Field whenever the Mariners’ ace takes the mound.
Instead, this year’s best spot might involve a nonhuman. In the Wise Ol’ Buffalo commercial, an actual 2,600-pound American bison comes on the field and has a conversation with shortstop Brendan Ryan.
Hernandez still has his own spot. He touts something called “King Felix’s Hot Sauce” in a commercial titled “Hottest Thing in Town.”
The buffalo commercial looks to be a hit.
The plotline to the commercial is that the buffalo can speak English only after eating some special cookies prepared by Ryan – or at least, that’s what Ryan thinks. It turns out the buffalo is only relaying the voice of Tom Wilhelmsen through a speaker the Mariners closer has secretly planted on the animal.
Ervin Santana struck out seven in four innings, Billy Butler and Salvador Perez hit run-singles and the Kansas City Royals beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 at Surprise, Ariz., to improve their spring training record to 14-2.
Seattle has lost four straight and six of seven.
Puerto Rico rallies
With the score tied and two outs, Puerto Rico’s Alex Rios kept running from second base. Rios scored the go-ahead run without a play, and the Puerto Ricans rallied to oust Italy from the World Baseball Classic with a 4-3 victory at Miami.
Rios crossed the plate standing up for the final run on a grounder to shortstop, which Jack Santora backhanded before throwing wide to first – one of four misplays by Italian shortstops