In April 2014, early in the Phillies’ recent doldrum years, I wrote a series of Power Rankings articles, wherein I objectively ranked the best and worst of various important baseball features, such as radio commercials or buildings or facial hair. All important things in baseball, you understand. Now that the Phillies’ rebuild appears solidly on the way to success, it’s time to revisit those rankings, and see what has changed in the last 44% of a decade. Starting, of course, with radio commercials. You can review the first version here.
This year, in keeping with the same pattern, only the best (i.e., worst) commercials are ranked, in order. One slight difference is that the commercials are those appearing on WIP instead of WPHT, as the broadcast channel has changed.
This year’s Power Rankings of WIP radio commercials:
10. Every kind of pizza goes best with a Coke. An ice cold Coke. Served with a Coke. A Coke. A cold refreshing Coke. This is ridiculous. First of all, some of these aren’t pizzas. Pineapple pizza is a salad, and fork-&-knife pizza is a casserole. Chicago style pizza is soup. A white pie pizza is bread. The actual pizzas in the list are best served with your actual favorite beverage. The best part is the Italian “ahh fresh moot-zza-rella” guy, and the worst part is the awful beverage pouring sound at the end. Whoever decided that sound bite was good in commercials should be sentenced to fifty years’ hard labor on an asteroid mining colony.
9. The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority. Visit See how they lie dot com. Apparently, Insurance Fraud is the Official Sport of Pennsylvania. Real life. Real lies. Real foolish. Maybe it’s just me, but augering in your face with a power tool or trying to steal your own car or claiming a tornado ripped the roof off your house but left the rest of your neighborhood unscathed just doesn’t seem all that wise. Yet apparently enough Pennsylvanians are trying this that there’s an entire semi-governmental entity tasked with stopping it.
8. Lock yer car. Take yer keys. Hide yer stuff. Also sometimes featuring members of the Philadelphia Police Department major crimes division, or the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority. Only slightly more common than insurance fraud in PA is, apparently, car theft, because, astonishingly, people leave their cars running with the doors unlocked. Why. Why would you do that. Unless it’s really, really cold, and I mean a level of cold that does not occur in Pennsylvania, why would you leave your car running? There is literally no advantage to doing so. Unless your starter motor was stolen by Pancho Villa’s brigands since you started the car, I suppose, but how common can that be? It can’t happen more than ten, twenty times a year, tops. Don’t leave your car running, folks. Also hide your stuff.
7. Are you retired? Are you a morning person but bored in the mornings? Are you a twelve year old at heart? Do you need live near Delphin Street and need free coffee? Then I have the job for you: newspaper delivery! You too could make $1,500 per month for just a few hours on weekends. And hey, they’re hiring. Tell ‘em Jerry sent you. Noooo complaints.
6. Store? Philly dot com has a store? What do they sell, digital cheesesteaks? Ha ha ha just call me Mr. Whiz Wit. I’m of two minds here. The idea of a newspaper having a storefront where you can get headlines of particular interest on, say, a coffee mug or wall banner, is pretty cool. It really is. “Hey, remember the 1993 World Series?” “Yeah, I was just listening to Continued Success. Why?” “Well, I commemorated it by getting a pair of sneakers emblazoned with Joe Carter.” On the other hand, even for the very low bar of conversational ads, this one is low. Phila-delphia’s so hot right now.
5. “Oh, sorry, I know you were expecting a commercial. But we were just enjoying the game in our brand new hot tub from Springdance Hot Tubs!” Because that is what I want to think of during a baseball game: other people in a hot tub operating a radio station during a baseball game. Jeez, if only this could be applied to other jobs! “Oh, sorry, I know you were expecting me to perform this surgery, or deliver that pizza, or sound this Tsunami warning siren, but I’m just enjoying the game in my brand new hot tub, from Springdance Hot Tubs!”
4. “Hi, this is Craig White, CEO of PG&E, and I’d like to sell you Natural Gas.” Natural Gas is important, as we all know. PG&E sells only the highest grades of freshly fracked natural gas, now, even more natural. They're also really slow at upgrading their infrastructure, as the project will take years, and they’ve been doing it since at least 2014. But Natural Gas means you too can heat your home or business with cretaceous plant life. Everyone wins. Except the cretaceous plants.
3. Rita’s Wooder Ice. “Remember when you were sitting on the curb after your math test eating a frozen custard covered in jimmies?” No, I don’t, but how long have you been following me? Like, the last time I needed to be rewarded by my parents for passing a math test was before the 1993 Phillies were a disappointment. Speaking of which, have you heard of Continued Success? Anyway, where was I. The incongruity of something called “water ice” being flavorful and delicious aside, the fact that the company selling it remembers things about my life that I do not is creepy. Also, what are jimmies?
2. Dietz and Watson and Mobsters. Founded by Steve Dietzanwatson in 1837, Dietz and Watson was one of the original organized crime families in the US. They branched out into a chain of neighborhood delis, but their true focus has always been the insurance racket. If you don’t shop with them—if you choose to get your deli someplace else—they take that personally, see. Real personally. Say, that’s a nice bag of lunch meat you’ve got there. Would be a real shame if someone kicked it out of your hands. But if you get your deli from us, you won’t have to worry, see.
1. The Kevins. This isn’t really a commercial, but it’s worth mentioning. Scott Franzke, the radio play-by-play voice, has been partnered with Larry Anderson for what seems like centuries. They’ve developed quite the rapport, and largely make up for each other’s foibles by being an excellent partnership. However, Larry, being a thousand years old and needing to spend his remaining years focusing on his pool, is trending towards retirement, by stepping away from road games. Franzke is now partnered with The Kevins. Yes, all of the Kevins. Former ballplayers Kevin Frandsen, Kevin Stocker and Kevin Jordan. Actor Kevin Bacon. Kevin from The Office. Writer and director Kevin Silent Bob Smith. That weird guy named Kevin who lives down the block from you. Kevin Baldwin, one of the lesser-known Baldwin brothers. All of these guys are collectively, Franzke’s new partner. The most impressive part is that Citizen’s Bank Park has been remodeled to host hundreds of thousands of color commenters, although the Phillies have also become the world’s largest purchaser of headset microphones.
So there you have it! These are the ten best/worst “commercials” airing on WIP during baseball games. Both best and worst are ranked in the same list, but the order is highly scientific. The first person to correctly guess my methodology in the comments below will win nothing at all beyond my secret to everlasting wealth.
Stay tuned for next week’s power rankings, when we revisit buildings or perhaps tackle something new like cheeses or elevator speeds.