Bryan Cranston’s one-man salute to baseball sets the scene for the MLB playoffs

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Should’ve called it Breaking Bat.

After four straight Emmy wins for his lead role in Breaking Bad, what can Bryan Cranston do for an encore?

A one-man play disguised as a commercial for the Major League Baseball postseason, of course. Cranston, who has played everything from Seinfeld’s dentist to the CIA exec who sends Ben Affleck to Iran in Argo, puts forth a memorable five-and-a-half-minute tour de force of the nation’s pastime to whet fans’ appetite for the upcoming playoffs. Cranston manages to touch all the bases (ouch) in this mix of fact and fiction with just enough goofiness to keep non-baseball fans interested.

Among the baseball riffs is a re-enactment of Carlton Fisk’s 1975 home run wave, Derek Jeter’s 2001 off-balance throw to nail Jeremy Giambi at the plate, and a dead-on imitation of TBS announcer Ernie Johnson’s signature play-by-play routine. We could live without the overplayed replica of Babe Ruth’s home run call and the odd inclusion of Kevin Costner’s For the Love of the Game character, but we’re talking Bryan Cranston here—give the man some slack. After all, he throws in some love for the great Bugs Bunny.

It seems likely that prior to the playoffs, which begin Sept. 30 on TBS, the commercial will be chunked down into more bite-size pieces with an airing of the entire bit during a pre-game show. 

Perhaps not as buzzworthy as the one-off Cranston, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Aaron Paul did for the Emmys, this salute to the grand old game is a nice, upbeat capper to what has been a trying time for professional sports of late.

H/T Bleacher Report | Screengrab via Bleacher Report/YouTube

Allen Weiner

Allen Weiner

Allen Weiner has been a market research analyst in the area of new media and technology since 1994. He’s worked as writer, publisher and newspaper executive. He is the co-founder and publisher of Kombucha Network and the former managing vice president of Gartner.