For four years, my brother and I were homeschooled by my mom and she was always coming up with interesting field trips. One of those came about when she got us involved in a local casting agency that needed extras for a Japanese beer commercial. It was going to be filmed at the local Peoria Sports Complex (the Spring Training home of both the Mariners and the Padres). We were going to be part of a large crowd cheering on a baseball game. Eleven-year-old me thought this was so cool.

However, I was really disappointed that I was not going to get to see the finished product. I knew that there was a remote possibility I might see it someday, so I remember trying to memorize the name of the fake baseball team so I could go home and write it down in my journal in the hopes that I could someday track down the commercial with that limited information.

Yesterday was that day.

The fact that I partook in the filming of said commercial is one of the things that I bring up occasionally, only because it works great when doing personal trivia, like two truths and a lie. ("I was once an extra in a Japanese Beer Commercial as a kid.")

It has also been one of those small mysteries in life that just never gets resolved, weakly nagging at me all this time.

So, back to yesterday. I was watching a baseball highlight video on Youtube (by Jomboy Media - the most entertaining sports highlights ever) and I thought, I have the day off, lets see if my Google-fu has reached sifu status.

I searched for "Peoria Sports Complex" along with "Japanese beer commercial" and I literally only got three results and they were the exact same thing - an archived 1995 article from the Arizona Republic about a local MLB veteran who just filmed a commercial at that ballpark for a computer game: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/3389...-price-ex-pro/ . It also stated that he was going to be doing a Japanese beer commercial in January.

It didn't say it was at the ballpark, but I thought, what were the odds there was another Japanese beer commercial going on at the time. Plus, I now had the exact year, without having to find my old journal.

So, I searched for that MLB player's name and "Japanese beer commercial" and came up with nothing. Dead end.

Then, I thought: anything documented on the internet is likely going to be in Japanese. So I translated baseball beer commercial in Japanese and searched for that (野球ビールコマーシャル) along with 1996.

I found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEfAf2_yvuc . Paydirt!

I was freaking out a little bit. They wanted us to wear different colors for the opposing teams, and I could clearly see the extras wearing that. I remember in person that each time the baseball hit the glove, they made the dirt cloud coming off of it super exaggerated. I remember the ump yelling as well. When they had the English speaking parts I remember being several rows up from them and thinking it all sounded pretty bad. The English speaking part I remember the most was one guy who sounded old and drunk yelling "that's baseball" over and over again. I was really, really hoping I would see that in the finished product, as that was actually one of the things that most burrowed into my brain, but alas - it was not to be.

I still wasn't 100% convinced, though, because I needed a little more proof than some distant memories.

So, I tried to see if I could see any distinct details that I could match up to the actual stadium. In the 5-6 second mark of the video you can see the back wall of the stands: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10J4...ew?usp=sharing

That back wall has pillars with what looks like a metal column in front of it.

Does that match the walls at the Peoria Sports Complex? Let's take a look: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-co...130926194.html . Yup!

So now I'm like 95% sure.

Then, I went on more of a deep dive trying to search Google Japan and Yahoo Japan and did not find much more.

I was about to give up when I found this: https://youtu.be/Yy8lBpf5Mpc?t=88 . It's a second commercial! It's in glorious 240p PotatoVision, but at least it's there. And I can see that the back wall once again matches.

As well, I totally remember the guy yelling dammit, as I thought at the time it seemed out of place in a commercial. (As a straitlaced kid, I was like, oh he's saying the D-word ... over and over again.)

While I didn't need the name of the team to find the commercial, I find it ironic that it could have been the least helpful hit. They were called the freakin' Malt's - how generic! Even as a kid I'm pretty sure I remember thinking that it was too vague to be helpful. Although, I did just try Googling the words "Japanese beer malts" and Suntory Malt's was on the first page. Go figure.

So, in summation, you now have been graced with the documentation of me helping to make it Suntory time for all of Japan, a decade before I could for myself.

Mission Accomplished.