By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
Tyler Marlette sees stardom in his future. While he hopes that eventually comes in his professional baseball career, the Clinton LumberKings catcher believes fame will come even quicker when the Wahl Clipper Corporation starts airing ads featuring the LumberKings.
“Yeah, yeah, I do,” Marlette said Sunday when asked if he thought he’d be a star for his part in the ads.
A video production team began hanging out with the LumberKings on Sunday, shooting video on the field and in the clubhouse for the ad campaign for the Sterling, Ill.-based company.
Marlette believes he’s a natural, his teammates, too.
“I’m always outgoing,” he said of his personality.
He has the scruffy look that should be perfect for the campaign, too.
“They were liking it,” he said of his look, adding that being a redhead caught their attention. “I have a little scruff going on always.”
He’s not alone.
“Me and Brock (Hebert) are always scruffy,” Marlette said. “Patrick (Kivlehan) is usually scruffy, (David) Holman, too. A bunch of guys have that look.”
The Wahl ad campaign is being shot documentary-style to show how real guys groom. The video team will stay with the LumberKings through Wednesday, then make a return trip later this summer.
“Clinton was chosen because Wahl is from the area and has an affinity with the LumberKings,” said Jamie Fleischel, a partner at Picture Show Productions, a Chicago-based company that is shooting the video. “The spots are about Wahl products, but they wanted minor-league players because they have goals. Being a small, independently-owned company, they wanted to tell their story through the LumberKings.”
In a LumberKings news release, Steve Yde, marketing director for Wahl said: Hard work and dedication are trademarks in American sports, especially for minor-league baseball teams like the Clinton LumberKings. We’re talking about players who go out there day in and day out, often on the road, whatever the weather. That’s what this campaign is about — real guys, real grooming and real American dreams.”
Fleischel said the crew probably would have more than 10 hours of digital video to sift through once it finishes shooting Wednesday. Eventually, it will be whittled down to less than five minutes, and Wahl would like the 30-second spots ready in early June.
Fleischel is excited about what the LumberKings have to offer.
“This is the first day,” he said Sunday, “and there are a lot of personalities. We’re shooting it documentary-style. We’re not feeding them lines. We want them to use the products but be themselves.”
No problem, outfielder Jabari Henry says.
“It’s like any other day,” said Henry, who admits he has a “baby face” that might not be quite what the production crew is looking for. “There are no actors, especially on our team.”
There are characters, such as Marlette. LumberKings manager Eddie Menchaca said he let the production crew know who some of them were.
“We’ve got multiple personalities on the team,” he said.
Menchaca said the organization liked the idea of its players participating.
“We prepped the guys before (the production crew) got out here,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for the kids to get around cameras.”
Fleischel said the players were getting into it, too.
“There have been offers of guys to shave other guys’ heads,” he said.
Marlette already is planning to take part in the grooming.
“They want me to shave my beard with their stuff, and I plan on doing that,” he said.
And who knows, maybe a new career is in his future.
“No,” Marlette said. “I like baseball. I’ll stick with it.”