Future programming on MLB’s own network

If the Yankees are the Fox reality TV show of MLB (the one you love to watch because you either want to see the next Kelly Clarkson do well, or you love the train wreck that is the talentless hacks getting their comeuppance while continuing to insist that they’re great even as they’re packing their bags and heading home), then the Red Sox are the daytime soap opera.

Like resin through the pitcher’s fingers, these are the days of our lives — as Red Sox Nation turns …

It’s no surprise that Theo Epstein returned as GM. If you ask those New Englanders, everyone’s been saying he’s been orchestrating Boston’s off-season moves since November despite not being officially employed by the team. Everything they do in Boston, it seems, is punctuated by the dramatic background music and soft-focus lens of an afternoon serial production.

In the vein of aligning the major league franchises with characters from The Simpsons, how would the majors look if the teams were paired up with television shows? In some cases, but not all, the city is the obvious answer. In others, there’s a distinct character to the team that lends itself to a comparison with television programming. More of a seat-of-my-pants impulsive comparison than a researched philosophical study, these pairings reflect a team’s more recent trends than an overall historical characterization. Just so we’re clear.

NL EAST

Atlanta Braves = Law & Order: Despite a rotating cast (and one or two older guys who are there through it all), they remain steady and consistent with a steadfast, businesslike approach.

Florida Marlins = The Planet’s Funniest Animals: Campy and ridiculous, you have to either be a diehard or a child to sit through it.

New York Mets = Love Monkey: In the country’s largest city, this is the story of a small-name label trying to compete with the big boys.

Philadelphia Phillies = Cold Case: Long dormant and forgotten by all except those whose loved ones are involved.

Washington Nationals = E-Ring: There’s a gray, old man set in his ways who’s unafraid to speak his mind and an outfit unable to affect any significant changes without first slogging through all the red tape. If they were still the Expos, they’d be Cheers — sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name (and it’s never too crowded) and there’s always a seat for you right where the action is.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs = ER: Not only for the Chicago connection, but also for the propensity to feature several varied and recurring injury situations.

Cincinnati Reds = Emily’s Reasons Why Not: Looks promising after the first pitch, but then you don’t need much more than one viewing to see that there are major problems with development.

Houston Astros = The O.C.: Is it me, or does it seem like all of the principle contributors are white?

Milwaukee Brewers = I Love the 80s: Filled with people born just before (and now even in) the 1980s who are trying to bring back those 20-year-old glory days.

Pittsburgh Pirates = I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!: You wonder how these fringe “stars” are still considered celebrities and you know that the truly good ones, with talent, will put it to use somewhere else.

St. Louis Cardinals = Smallville: In small-town middle America, a super man with a red-and-yellow logo on his chest performs feats the likes of which no one has ever seen.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks = Star Search: In this competition of mostly unknown talents, who will emerge as America’s next superstar?

Colorado Rockies = Star Trek: They’re above us all, literally, trying to survive in the thin air.

Los Angeles Dodgers = America’s Next Top Model: Where aspiring stars come from all over America to bask in the spotlight, but all too often tend to wither under the pressure.

San Diego Padres = Lost: Comes out of nowhere (well, virtually nowhere) to have a stellar 2005. Shot in a beautiful setting with a leading man who used to be a star several years ago and is looking to make a comeback.

San Francisco Giants = Matlock: They may be old, but don’t put them out to pasture just yet. Plus, they have that enduring mystery in Barry Bonds. (Alternate: Antiques Roadshow, which doesn’t need much explanation.)

AL EAST

Baltimore Orioles = The People’s Court: Punctuated by characters ready to sue at the drop of a hat and with ridiculous defendants who paint themselves into a corner with statements that are soon proven falls. Not to mention former friends who then turn on their pals.

Boston Red Sox = As the World Turns: As discussed.

New York Yankees = American Idol: You either love ’em or you hate ’em.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays = Romper Room: Just a bunch of kids running around playing.

Toronto Blue Jays = Hockey Night In Canada: The excitement just doesn’t quite translate south of the border.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox = Sports Night: Struggling to get noticed in their own field, they may not be loved by everyone, but you know there will be some entertaining comments and back-and-forth dialogue.

Cleveland Indians = Veronica Mars: Underrated and overlooked, but the fans know what everyone else is missing.

Detroit Tigers = Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: They spare no expense, have a guy who likes to shout a lot (Dmitri Young; Ty Pennington), and in the end you’re probably in tears.

Kansas City Royals = Fear Factor: It’s always fun to see just how far other people will go for big money. Some will eat bugs, others will voluntarily play in Kansas City.

Minnesota Twins = Arrested Development: Loved by fans and praised by pundits, but prematurely sent out to pasture by the head honcho.

AL WEST

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim = He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: One powerful young man and his slightly-less-gifted allies take on all comers. Plus, they attempt to claim most of the known universe as their home base. (Another option was TNT’s The Closer, but I question how many people know of that show.)

Oakland Athletics = The Office: Not sure it would work without anyone else leading the way, so enjoy it while he’s there.

Texas Rangers = Walker, Texas Ranger: No, wait, it works: Take a reliable concept (a cop show; a starting pitcher) and make him a Texas Ranger and somehow, it’s just ridiculous (Chuck Norris as a martial-arts-master Ranger; Kenny Rogers).

Seattle Mariners = Yu-Gi-Oh: First a hit on the Pacific Rim, then a stateside success; also features a zippy, diminutive Japanese icon.

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