Sights set on postseason in 'We Play for October'
MLB stars featured in new video highlighting playoff races as season winds down
To Justin Upton, it is "why you put all the work in during the offseason and Spring Training -- to have the opportunity to still be playing when other people are sitting at home."
To Evan Longoria, it's "like nothing else you've ever experienced. ... Just popping champagne for the first time. Getting into the playoffs, whether it's a one-game playoff, whether you're in as the Wild Card or in as the division champion."
To Josh Donaldson, "it means everything."
They are among the stars featured in a fast-paced video released Friday on MLB.com and all around Major League Baseball, as part of the "We Play for October" postseason campaign just announced by MLB. David Ortiz, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Yu Darvish, Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Yasiel Puig, Brandon Phillips, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Hanley Ramirez also appear.
With seats still remaining at MLB.com/tickets and 10 clinchers about to happen before the Oct. 1 National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, MLB is rolling out a campaign designed to celebrate the teams and players on the cusp of reaching their season-long goal.
"Every player will tell you that their goal is to play postseason baseball, so all year we have worked to capture the passion and intensity our players have with that pursuit in our marketing," said Jacqueline Parkes, MLB's chief marketing officer. "'We Play for October' showcases the energy and excitement happening every day, every play, ever moment as teams fight for a postseason berth heading into October."
The first spot launched on MLB.com and MLBFanCave.com and will debut on TV with FOX's Saturday slate of games. It also will run on ESPN, TBS and MLB Network, as well as local RSNs across the country. Multiple spots will roll out in the coming weeks, all featuring music from Fall Out Boy's hit single "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark."
"You want the opportunity to play for that World Series championship," Upton said Friday afternoon, before the Braves' road-trip opener in Philadelphia. "You get excited this time of the year when the race starts to shape up and you know you have a chance to be there. You make that final push and just hope you get the chance because anything can happen at that point."
Upton was the first overall Draft pick of the D-backs in 2005, and just two years later he was tasting his first postseason action. The '07 D-backs swept the Cubs in the NL Division Series, and then were swept by the Rockies for the pennant. He homered in the fifth and deciding game of the '11 NLDS at Milwaukee, but Nyjer Morgan's walk-off single in the 10th eliminated Arizona.
Now that the Braves are moving closer and closer to an NL East title, he is seen as a key to how far the club goes should it clinch. Upton was acquired from Arizona in January in the deal that sent Martin Prado to the D-backs, and he eagerly wants to be back on that stage.
"We came into this season with high expectations," Upton said. "This is a very good ballclub and we know we are a very good ball club. We set the bar high starting in Spring Training. Anything is possible at this point."
Longoria will long be remembered for the walk-off homer that put Tampa Bay into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season two years ago. The Rays' third baseman said he was honored to be part of the campaign and happy his club is in the mix.
"Obviously, to be at least included in the conversation about playing in October is an honor, to be a part of it, because there are some guys that don't get asked," he said. "At least it means you have a chance to be in the postseason at that time of the year. I think the meaning of playing in October is the reason we play this game. The reason we go to Spring Training. The reason you wake up at six in the morning to get your work in in February and March, so that come August and September, you're ready to play for that October run.
"For the guys that have been a part of it, you understand what that means. Especially for a guy like Jamey Wright, who has played his whole career and never had the chance to play in October. It's something that you'll never forget. The further you go, the more memorable it gets. . ... It's still the same kind of euphoric feeling of going into Spring Training with the expectation and meeting that expectation at the end of the year."
Donaldson has blossomed as a star during the A's run this season, making a tarp catch earlier this week that people are still buzzing about. Stepping into MLB.com's Edward Jones Chatting Cage on Friday, he was asked what it meant to be featured in MLB's new campaign and to be in position presently for another October shot.
"It means everything," Donaldson said. "I want to play in October. I want to be in the World Series. Especially with this team here, because I feel like we have the opportunity and the guys here to be able to do it and take it all the way."
The high-paced spots are an evolution of MLB's season-long "I Play" campaign, communicating the importance of every moment, every play and every game as they build to the crescendo of October baseball. The new creative was done with the advertising agency Hill Holliday and produced by New Wave Entertainment, the same production company behind the video content produced at the MLB Fan Cave.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. Mike Radano contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.