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Both, actually.

If you’re not at least a tad warm and fuzzy about Cooper Brannan training with the Padres this spring, you might want to get a little sun. An Iraq veteran slash right-hander, pitching bee-bees instead of pineapples? C’mon, of course it’s a feel-good story. A feel-very-good story.

But it’s also a publicity stunt. A throw-out-the-textbook-award-winning-awe-inspiring publicity stunt. And when the San Diego Padres make worldwide headlines in March, among the feel-gooders are those in the club’s public relations office. Deservedly so, because it worked.

ABC News named Brannan “person of the week.” Gregg Bell’s Associated Press article, “Brannan goes from Iraq to Padres” was picked up by newspapers and web news organizations across the country, and even the venerable International Herald Tribune ran the New York Times piece, “Wounded marine tries new uniform.”

So to Corporal Brannan, United States Marine Corps, good job man, and God bless you. Pads’ PR guys, salutes all around. Clearly, Garth Brooks this isn’t.

Remember, glove conquers all.

— HOWARD COLE

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