Justin Verlander plays "for the unhittable pitch." Mike Trout plays "for the history about to be written." Andrew McCutchen plays "to steal my way to the pennant."
Willie Mays played because "winning was important." Don Drysdale played because "I hate all hitters." Christy Mathewson played because "You can learn everything from defeat."
What is that one thing that has driven baseball players since the 1800s and drives them in this Major League Baseball regular season that begins Sunday night in Houston?
What is that one thing that kids everywhere will be playing for again this summer, when they drag the diamonds and an umpire shouts "Play Ball!" on a hot afternoon?
It is time to play "I Play" and find out.
MLB has launched a new campaign to usher in the 2013 season, showcasing the intensity and passion of the game's young stars while illustrating what drives them to succeed and highlighting their desire to lead their team to the postseason.
You can see the Opening Day spot right here on MLB.com, featuring Robinson Cano, Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Adam Jones, McCutchen, Buster Posey, David Price, Trout, Verlander and David Wright. Many more videos are on the way, and you'll see them on MLB Network, ESPN, FOX and TBS throughout the season.
"I am thrilled to be a part of Major League Baseball's Opening Day campaign," said McCutchen, the Pirates' All-Star center fielder. "As a player, as soon as the final pitch of the previous season is thrown, I am marking off the days until Opening Day on my calendar. Every time you walk into a ballpark on Opening Day, it feels like the first time you ever stepped onto that field. This campaign will really give everyone a sense of the excitement we as players feel."
Mariano Rivera plays "for title No. 28." Wright plays "to turn leather into gold." CarGo plays "for no regrets." Price plays "to turn K's into Ws."
Bob Feller played because "Every day is a new opportunity." Jackie Robinson played because "I hate to lose." Tom Seaver played "for the love of the game."
The first individual spots feature Cano (in Spanish, set to run on ESPN Deportes and FOX Sports en Espanol), Harper and McCutchen.
In each spot, the camera isolates on the player's face as his inner monologue provides a glimpse into reasons why each of them plays at such a high level to reach their goal of playing in October. Additional player-specific creative featuring some of the game's top young talent will roll out throughout the season.
"The desire to play in October drives every player to push himself and his team to new heights, and this new campaign captures and showcases that desire in a compelling new way," said MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan. "These spots also illustrate the intense passion our young stars have for the game and the connection they feel to the cities they play in and the fans they play for."
Look for a companion campaign throughout social media as well, targeting fans who play or have played baseball or softball. You are encouraged to share photos and videos on social media along with the hashtag #IPlay, demonstrating as creatively as possible why you play the game. The most creative user-submitted stories already are being showcased on MLBFanCave.com.
Daniel Reader, a Giants fan in the Bay Area, tweeted this example: "#IPlay because out on the diamond it doesn't matter that I'm Deaf."
Harper plays "for nine guys playing as one." Posey plays "for three rings in four years." Cano plays "for Yankee pride."
Yogi Berra played because the game wasn't "over." Nellie Fox played because "you don't have to be big to be a big leaguer." Bob Uecker played because of "next time." Dave Winfield played because a ballplayer "can be the hero or the goat 162 times a year."