I finally managed to watch Franchise Episode 1, and was most impressed with MLB’s reality show, featuring your 2010 World Champions, the San Fransisco Giants. Shockingly this series is NOT a documentary about the 2010 season- it’s about the 2011 season, which makes it totally fresh and new.
The Franchise Episode 1 takes place from April to the mid-July (up until the start of the All-Star Game).This episode features Cody Ross, Ryan Vogelsong, Buster Posey, Barry Zito, Kung Fu Panda, Aubrey Huff, Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Cain, Brandon Belt, Andres Torres, and- of course- Brian Wilson, the team closer and mascot.
Giants GM Brian Sabean and and his brain trust are in it, along with manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff.
The major storylines in this one-hour TV show include the major injuries, a long road trip, Osama bin Laden being captured, the Cinderella story of Ryan Vogelsong, and the Giants fan who was attacked.
The MLB/Showtime production was top-notch, realistic, and totally accessible for the non-Giants fans and even non-baseball fans out there. I always like to see baseball players in their civilian clothes, their wives, their kids, their homes, and how they act in the clubhouse. I wish this stuff was around back in the 1980′s. It’s amazing how the Commissioners of Baseball would never have “allowed” behind the scenes footage like this in the past (or MLB players cursing on a TV program).
I really dig the Giants having long hair and beards and being down to earth. It’s a big departure from Derek Jeter’s corporate Yankees. Bruce Bochy is old school and literally had his All-Star selections on a notepad with pencil. So much for Excel, OpenOffice, or Google Docs.
Let’s face it, the Giants hitters suck real bad, and their pitchers benefit from their ballpark. But The Franchise shows you that baseball is about the human story as opposed to the stats. I see some of these names in the box scores, news articles, or fantasy baseball, but now I know their personalities.
It was VERY risky to have a prime-time show about the 2011 San Francisco Giants because more than likely a repeat was not going to be possible. Once again the Giants proved their critics wrong (myself included).
I hope future episodes are just as good. I also hope that other teams get this treatment down the road, although I can’t imagine Showtime would morph into a baseball drama network. Perhaps on MLB Network…
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