Classic spoken during Super Bowl

Classic spoken in Super ad

An estimated 141.4 viewers in the United States watched the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL Sunday on ABC, and many of them were watching for the ads as much as the action.

Baseball was spoken there, too.

The World Baseball Classic had a 30-second spot aired during the telecast, featuring seven Major League Baseball players who are identified with the countries they will represent in the inaugural March 3-20 event. They included: Roger Clemens and Derek Jeter (U.S.), Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic), Andruw Jones (Netherlands), Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), Mike Piazza (Italy) and Ichiro Suzuki (Japan).

Clemens was the only player with a speaking role, issuing a challenge to all viewers by using the tournament's promotional slogan: "I'll be there for my country. Will you be there for yours?"

"The Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect platform for us to showcase the World Baseball Classic," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "The tournament was designed to promote our game to the widest possible audience and this commercial will help drive excitement for what will be a truly captivating international competition."

The Super Bowl ad, which ran during the fourth quarter, brings to life the "face-the-world" theme that is featured prominently in the overall campaign for the World Baseball Classic. The announcement of the ad was made Friday by WBC Inc., and fans who missed it can still see it. The commercial can be viewed on WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Watching Super Bowl ads has become an event within the event over the years -- and a potential boon for advertisers who can afford television's most expensive slot. In Friday's Wall Street Journal, for example, it was reported that Emerald Nuts paid a little less than $2 million for a 30-second ad -- because its ad during the last Super Bowl reportedly helped to more than triple the brand's sales.

Between those runs by Jerome Bettis and Shaun Alexander, baseball kept such company as: Buena Vista Pictures' trailer for its "Shaggy Dog" remake starring Tim Allen; at least two hybrid-vehicle ads including one for Ford in which Kermit the Frog is backpacking; a baby Hummer; and, of course, romance novel icon Fabio.

Tickets are available for early rounds of the World Baseball Classic, a 16-team event sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and featuring many of the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. Games will be broadcast live by ESPN and over the Internet by MLB.com.

The 16 teams invited to participate in the event have been divided into four pools of four teams for the first round of play. The four Round 1 pools will be played at venues in Japan (Tokyo Dome), Puerto Rico (Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan) and the United States (Chase Field in Phoenix, Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona, and Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.).

Round 2 will feature two pools of four teams each and is scheduled at Puerto Rico and Anaheim. The Semifinals and Final will be played at PETCO Park in San Diego.

The tournament will feature a bracket-style format with the 16 teams competing in four groups: Pool A -- China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea; Pool B -- Canada, Mexico, South Africa and the U.S.; Pool C -- Cuba, Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico; Pool D -- Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy and Venezuela.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.