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Rock League Baseball players featured in nationwide Pepsi commercial


July 22, 2014

Franklin — When Rock League Baseball Manager Tom Johns was offered an opportunity to showcase players in a national Pepsi commercial, he thought it may have been a scam.

TracyLocke, Pepsi's marketing firm, called him in early June to inquire about the league's availability for a commercial.

"I said, 'If this is the real deal — yeah, I'm in,''" Johns recounted.

"They said, 'Great! We'll see you Tuesday.'

"I put the phone down and thought, 'I'll never hear from them again.'"

That following Tuesday, the marketing firm was at The Rock Sports Complex with an offer for a commercial.

The catch? The event had to be a secret for Pepsi's #RealBigSummer campaign to work.

The secret's out

The Rock's Angels and Mudhens league teams were selected to participate in the commercial, but the players were not informed.

They did, however, know that a scheduled baseball game on June 18 had a surprise in store.

"The secret got to be the biggest fun of it," Johns said. "Curiosity kept growing, and some of the guys were just so frustrated that we wouldn't tell them about it. I thought it was hilarious."

The players arrived for their regular scheduled game at The Rock, 7900 Crystal Ridge Road, and "it was odd," said Mudhens infielder and outfielder Bill Gorman.

"They were filming us when we got to the field," Gorman said. "I didn't even think they were filming for a commercial when we saw the bus."

The Pepsi bus awaiting the players then drove them to a secret location for their league game: Miller Park. Friends, family and fans were also welcomed to join the teams at the stadium.

They were greeted with a message from Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and escorted into the clubhouse, where each player had a Brewers jersey hanging in a locker with their name on it.

"And there was lots of Pepsi (drinks)," Johns laughed. "Lots and lots of Pepsi."

The players then headed to the baseball diamond, where Brewers announcer Robb Edwards introduced them individually.

Despite the change in venue, the league game "still counted," Johns said. The Mudhens won 5-3.

Show time

Pepsi's "Real Big Ballgame" commercial was aired twice during the 85th Major League Baseball All Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 15.

Some of the RLB players grilled out before watching the game on television in anticipation of the commercial, Gorman said.

And once the commercial aired, his phone let him know it, he said.

"It was an awesome feeling," Gorman said. "My phone started buzzing with messages from friends all across the nation about seeing me on television. It was great."

The "Real Big Ballgame" commercial can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7SwhlhpkNg.

More league information

Rock League Baseball has one of the largest men's adult leagues in the nation and has six turf Major League replica fields, according to The Rock's website, www.RockComplex.com.

RLB is currently enrolling kids for its youth and high school teams for the fall season. Parents can register their children on The Rock website.

Registration closes July 31. Games and practices begin mid-August.

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