Cinema Varitek: The Pen, Episode 5

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The.Pen.Logo.jpg Each week (or so), 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 installments: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4.

Sadness grips the land. There is only one episode remaining of The Pen, the smash hit reality competition that has everyone talking. While we are excited for the finale, we are also sad that this incredible masterpiece of television history will have no new episodes after Sunday.

Hmm, no, that's not right. The Pen isn't a super-hit like American Idol or Dance Your Ass Off, it's a show about the Phillies' bullpen that I have somehow forced myself to get locked in to watching. Something other than sadness has me gripped.

The penultimate episode of The Pen was probably the most interesting yet, mainly because we learned about the game routines of J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge. (This was probably Episode #1 material, but who's asking? Wait: I am.) Romero and Lidge spend most of the early parts of the game chilling in the clubhouse sitting in desk chairs lounging in luxury.


It's settled: I need to become a major league baseball reliever. I figure with today's performance enhancing drugs and the lack of mandatory PED testing for all Americans, that I've never really played the sport won't hurt me. I'm going to have to get LASIK twice to get my vision better than 20/20, Tiger Woods-style, and I'm totally writing it into my contract that they have to get me an Aeron chair for the locker room.

Speaking of performance-enhancing drugs, we learned in this week's episode that Chad Durbin just wastes Red Bull willy-nilly! That stuff's like $3.59 a can!


There are a few other possibilities, I guess. He could be pouring several cans of Red Bull into a larger can, or he could be saying, "We don't need this Red Bull anymore, we've got five-hour energy shots!"

So what else did we learn? Oh, yes, there was an extended series of all the "wacky" things that have happened in the bullpen this year, none of which were particularly interesting or wacky. The players did do a bit of bird-watching, though.


Aww, they look like Cat Stairs when I'm holding a ball. (I taught her how to fetch.) There was also this fan, who was very excited about a Carl Crawford catch.


This week, the camera followed Clay Condrey during rehab, as he got to play with his year-old son. Since there's a real chance I am the only one watching this show, I will present here the screenshot that is going to get little Cashton "Cash" Lee Condrey very angry at his dad once he gets on the Internet in a few years.


This episode actually had the best story of all season, that of Clay Condrey's trip to the major leagues. He struggled in his senior year at McNeese State, went undrafted and was working laying electrical wire when his father suggested he attend an MLB tryout camp. A few impressive tryout camps later, Theo Epstein (then with the Padres) signed him for 500 bucks. Neat, huh?

Now it's time to mock his taste.


Ew. That whole last name-picture setup on the wall in the back is really, really tacky. That kind of stuff is okay for a kid's room, but for (what I can only assume) is the living room: Ew. Pretty awesome story about his trip to the majors, though.

We also heard from Jack Taschner in this week's episode, now down at Lehigh Valley. We flashed back to last week and got Saved by the Bell-style dream sequence clouds!


I know it's fun when you get a new version of Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere; but please do not abuse your filters like this. Comcast SportsNet used this selective color filter (only Ryan Howard's hat would be in color, etc.) for Phillies highlights for a week straight last month. Geeze, if you're going to use filters like that at least have the players get struck by lightning or something else cool.

Hmm, what else? Oh, yeah, Chan Ho Park in the sandwich board stumping for Shane Victorino, the All-Star!


And that's about it for this week of The Pen. I am kind of pumped for the final episode, as this was the image shown when Mitch Williams said, "Next week on the season finale of The Pen."


Whoo! Hot All-Star Break golf action! Ooh, get pumped!

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Sick, Condrey. They make perfectly serviceable mats that you can lay down on top of the carpet before you start changing diapers.

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