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Surreality TV
2003-05-13 08:58
by Mike Carminati

According to Bill Conlin, the Phils will announce a plan for a reality television show based on "surviving" baseball camp.

My reaction is the same as Conlin's:

I hate to tell Tony [DeRosa-Grund, the founder of the proposed show's production company] that this has been done since Babe Ruth was knee high to a free lunch counter. It's called the minor leagues. As for dog-eat-dog competition, ask anybody who played in a Division I program to give a definition of the word "cutthroat.'' They just didn't have a camera to catch guys spitting and scratching 24/7.

Why not follow a number of actual prospects around to see what becomes of them over the course of a season, sort of a Hoop Dreams for baseball? It's probably because the only people who would put up with the anal probe that is reality TV are those who have no prospects of ever being a major-league player.

Besides real minor-leaguers get cut, get sent down, get injured, etc. What a bummer that would be on TV. And it takes years for their dreams to play out. It's preferable to watch a group of handpicked individuals compete to reach some short-term, trumped-up pinnacle, like a farce of an actual major-league tryout.

These are players that have been through the system already. It's unlikely that they will find a diamond in the rough. It's more likely that they'll find a has-been Single-A player.

And who'll watch this show? Actual baseball fans would rather watch actual players. I guess there's always the reality TV crowd. Who knows what they'll watch, apparently anything at this point.

In the end, whoever wins will be quickly forgotten:

Will he or won't he get that $1,000 a month minor league contract and the right to join fellow dead-enders in Batavia?

Maybe they should call it "Muckdog for a Day"? I would have no problem with this silly concept, had a major-league team not been affiliated with it to lend it some (laugh) credibility.

Again this fully displays that MLB will go to any lengths for short-term money. They never promote their players or playing styles for long-term success like the NBA does. It's all quick money in the form of Sunday alternate batting practice jerseys and the like. I guess I shouldn't complain as long as they don't turn their players into walking billboards like the "athletes" in auto racing.

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