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Base-tossing Wellman in VW Super Bowl commercial

Before joining the St. Louis Cardinals as the hitting coach at Double-A Springfield prior to the 2011 season, Phillip Wellman enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame due to one of the greatest baseball tantrums of all time.

As manager of the Double-A Mississippi Braves in the Atlanta system in 2007, Wellman melted down over an umpire’s call in a masterful, long-running performance that featured a number of different acts. A three-game suspension followed in the aftermath of his tirade.

A much kinder, softer 2013 Wellman reprises his role as part of the ensemble cast in a Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial. The spot’s anchor is reggae legend Jimmy Cliff singing “Get Happy.”

Set to return to Springfield for a third season in 2013, Wellman has a strong baseball portfolio. He has 25 years of coaching experience, including 15 as a manager at various levels in the minor leagues for the Braves, Reds and Orioles. Most recently, he led Mississippi to the 2008 Southern League championship and was named the league’s Manager of the Year.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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7 Responses to “Base-tossing Wellman in VW Super Bowl commercial”

  1. kray66 says:

    I got to meet him last year after a Springfield game. He couldn’t have been nicer. I won a charity auction to go on the field and get a bat signed by him (I got a steal, paid less for it than I’d say the bat cost). It was pretty cool. He seemed very genuine. I really wanted to tell him my wife loves him from the video, but I didn’t bring it up. I didn’t want to get a rosin bag thrown at me grenade-style.

    And while I was on the field I got Kolten Wong’s autograph, too. Not a bad deal at all.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Wellman’s histrionics during 2007 look like a manager hamming it up for minor league fans, much in keeping with the many theatrical antics that minor league teams perform.

    While Wellman’s performance took place at a road game in Chattanooga while representing a Braves affiliate from Mississipppi, it is less reported that Wellman had himself been the Chattanooga manager four years earlier (1999-2003). Thus he was returning to his former ballpark and enjoying himself by hamming it up for Chattanooga fans. Good fun!

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Its great for Wellman that his 2007 performance is so popular that he is a hot commodity for advertising agencies. His 2007 performance showed frustration, but he did not hit anyone. It was crazy, distinctive, and silly, but also harmless. Wellman can still be used by a sponsor, in this case VW.
      The SuperBowl has so much hype, its interesting a baseball man is found for advertising. Good for baseball. And for the Cardinal Nation blog.

  3. Brian Walton says:

    The VW commercial came in 15th in the ad meter results. A-B had the top commercial with the Clydesdale, but also three of the bottom five.

    • blingboy says:

      I skipped the whole thing.

      Today I was talking to my 17 year old daughter and decided to utilize what I’d read about the halftime show to try to be hip. So I asked her what she thought about the reunion of Destiny’s Child during Beyonce’s show.

      Her response: They’re some band from forever ago that apparently used to be popular with old people.


      • Nutlaw says:

        Ha. I guessed the Destiny’s Child reunion was happening when two other women got up on stage and started singing, but admittedly not knowing what they look like or any of their songs, I probably would have had the same reaction to just about any other two women walking up there. I just knew that there were three of them.

        You missed a good game, bling.

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