Each week (or not), Dan McQuade reviews a baseball movie. He's also reviewing MLB Network's six-episode reality show The Pen, featuring the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. on MLB Network. Previous installment: Episode 1.
Congratulations, ADD-riddled baseball fans! The Pen, which debuted with an hour-long episode last week, was shortened to a half-hour for its second episode. You can save your 6-OXO Extreme on Sunday nights now. The second episode also apparently included a separated at birth segment.
The Pen's second episode covers the Phillies' West Coast trip at the beginning of this month. It also features several interviews with Philadelphia Daily News beat writer David Murphy!
Nothing against Murphy, but newspapers aren't really where it's at nowadays. Instead, they should really interview unemployed former professional bloggers who now contribute to baseball blogs in their spare time. I can't think of anyone in particular, though.
The episode opens with the return of J.C. Romero from his drug suspension, and a not-so-dramatic possibility of Jack Taschner being released to demoted to the minors. When J.C. returns, the Phillies send a rookie back down to the minors and Taschner and his attractive wife get to stay. After Romero's first appearance, his teammates actually get him a cake with 50 candles on it, to celebrate breaking the spirit and the letter of the law.
After the Phillies swept the Padres out in San Diego, the relievers traveled to the next series in Los Angeles in a limo!
Man, it's like a frat party with all those plastic cups. Keep it classy, boys. The relievers spend some time talking about who they'd go to dinner with if they could choose one person; Chan Ho Park picks Cy Young and Jack Taschner chooses Ben Franklin!
Ralph "Ben Franklin" Archbold is recovering from a stroke; I can only hope the brief TV appearance helped him keep going.
While in Los Angeles, Brad Lidge blew a pair of saves; when the team got to New York, he was placed on the disabled list. Clearly, the only way to turn this stretch of bad luck around was a little haircut contest between J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson! No, really. In the words of narrator Mitch Williams: "Losing your closer can make for tense times in the pen. So there was only one solution: A haircut challenge!"
This was probably the best part of the series so far. Madson talked business -- "I want to make my client happy; it's not about me" -- and Romero criticized Madson's hair cutting skills. Then Jimmy Rollins hopped in to judge the contest!
All in all, it was a pretty good episode, if only for the lack of weird echo effects present in the first one. And, yes, now the moment you've all been waiting for: Another hot reliever wife!
I'll tell you what: the "Women of The Pen" calendar is going to be a hot Christmas gift this year.
Bonus! Here's another image from episode two, presented without explanation.