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Backyard superstars, eh?

Look, kids! Isn't that All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay strolling through the Glenwood neighborhood, in sneakers and jeans? Carrying a stone? A stone that he is hurling at a towering oak hung with pounds of Spanish moss?

Yes, yes - and sort of.

This week, a Canadian production crew is in Clearwater filming three 30-second spots for the Toronto Blue Jays. The commercials show Cy Young winner Halladay, third baseman Troy Glaus and centerfielder Vernon Wells in various scenes of Everyman heroism:

Halladay throws a perfect strike with the rock from across the street and into a fake beehive, Glaus whacks a birthday pinata over a backyard fence, Wells plays hide-and-seek with kids but gets carried away, sprinting across the city and hiding in a trash bin.

The commercials are meant to show the major leaguers as just next-door-neighbor types. The ads will be televised only in the Toronto area, starting March 27.

That means the Clearwater neighborhood has to resemble Toronto suburbia.

But all that Spanish moss?

"That stuff doesn't exist" in Canada, said producer Carlo D'Ercole, vice president of broadcast production for Publicis Toronto.

So Wednesday afternoon, before filming of the Halladay commercial began, workers removed a truckload of the Florida trademark from a gigantic oak at 408 Orangewood Ave. On this day, the picturesque corner house also was home to the menacing beehive.

Completing the suburban scene were three local teens cast as the neighborhood rascals.

"The kids have a North American feel. Traditional, cliche kind of feel," D'Ercole said. "Bratty kids. You find these type of kids anywhere, right? Throwing rocks at a beehive."

Homeowner Bob Van Bomel sat on his front step, watching the crew shout "Quiet on the set!" and give directions to Halladay, who won the American League Cy Young Award and led major league pitchers with 22 wins in 2003.

Today, the production is to film part of the Wells commercial in Van Bomel's back yard. Van Bomel, 52, would not say whether the Blue Jays paid him to use the property.

He was planning on demossing the trees in a couple months anyway, said Van Bomel. He was worried the moss would block the sun from the tree's leaves. He said it took six years for the moss to get that length, and now much of it was gone.

Not that he cared.

"It smothers the tree," he said.

Times photographer Ted McLaren contributed to this report.

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