Being a highfalutin baseball blog artist like me has its benefits. When the good people at Major League Baseball Advanced Media decide they need to carpet bomb the electronic world with press releases, you better believe one makes its way into my inbox! As such, I'm up to date on all the latest happenings in Secaucus, New Jersey: home of the MLB Network.
That this glorious television network is unavailable in the country I call home, no matter which service provider I choose, is immaterial. I get the latest and greatest info from MLB Network and recoil with jealous revulsion after each new and exciting feature.
Tonight at 5:30, the suits at MLBN are determined to find out just how deeply your obsession runs. How low you're willing to sink, in relative terms. MLBN has cameras stationed in 13 current ballparks, with plans to install their sentient robot watchers in all 30 by the end of the year. Tonight marks the debut of their new show: Batting Practice. I'll let them explain:
...a 30-minute show featuring live footage from ballparks around Major League Baseball. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds will host the debut program on Friday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m. ET and take viewers inside batting practice to watch and analyze position players warming up in batting cages and on the field. The show will also include live interviews on Ballpark Cam with players, managers, coaches and announcers.
A show about batting practice could be the most divisive television program of all time. Personally, I ran the full gamut in about 5 seconds flat. From giddy excitement to shameful self-loathing at my former giddy excitement. The legitimate guilt I felt over getting excited for something so strangely specific was tempered only by a strong desire to watch Prince Fielder take batting practice. ZOMG! That one almost killed Bernie Brewer!
Watching live batting practice is fun, with the free baseballs and chorus of ooohs and aahhhs. Watching a straight feed from the stadium, free of inane chatter, could be oddly hypnotic and even soothing. The chatter of H.R. and friends coupled with a bland interview might render this unwatchable. Mic up some pitchers shagging flies and the chances of hearing the words "So I bring them both back to the hotel room" on the MLB Network go up one thousand percent.
One possible way to make it appointment TV: gambling! Provide us a window into the seedy world of professional athlete prop bets. I need to know Aubrey Huff bet Mark DeRosa 1500 buck he could hit "BAL" on the AT&T out-of-town scoreboard. Did bookmaker extraordinaire Nick Swisher just offer 7-2 that Alex Rodriguez can't hit five straight onto the hitter's backdrop? Now THAT I'd pay to watch.