Boston Red Sox: Showtime Should Have Followed Them for Reality Series

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IJune 26, 2012

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21:  Manager Bobby Valentine of the Boston Red Sox holds the ball as he waits for Matt Albers to reach the mound in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on April 21, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

This is the second year that a Showtime and MLB Productions has followed a big league team for the season. In last year's debut of The Franchise, the subject was the defending World Champion Giants.

It seemed like a natural choice. They had great characters, were coming off a memorable World Series run and looked like they were going to repeat. They didn't, but it was good television.

For the second season, they are following the Marlins. That seemed like as good a pick as you could make. The storylines included a new name, a new identity, new stars like Jose Reyes, new drama like Hanley Ramirez's position change, a new stadium and a new ugly statue in centerfield.

There have been winning streaks, losing streaks and Ozzie Guillen putting his foot in his mouth about Fidel Castro.

But if MLB had a chance for a "do over," there is no doubt that they would put a camera crew following the Red Sox.

Why do people watch reality shows? Do they want to see uplifting stories about overcoming adversity?

Of course not.

People watch reality shows for tension, seeing people fail and watching them face their failure. Whether it is seeing a singer be insulted by Simon Cowell, hearing Heidi Klum say "Auf wiedersehen" or Trump telling someone they are fired, the shows exist because we love seeing other people experience pain.

More specifically, we like to see the process of mistakes that lead to that disastrous moment. When someone does not take Tim Gunn's advice, listen to Gordon Ramsey or when a Real Housewife has a thought, the ensuing chain of events are never good.

Who is more tailor-made for reality television Schadenfreude than Bobby Valentine, whose personality and know-it-all grin makes him a perfect villain.

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 10:  Bobby Valentine #25 of the Boston Red Sox argues with umpire Al Porter after Valentine was ejected from the game in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals  during interleague play at Fenway Park June 10, 2012  in Boston,
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It is not even July and already the show could have featured episodes at the tension-filled spring training on the heels of their great collapse the previous season.

April would include a mess of brutal losses, including the extra-inning massacre in Detroit and blowing the impossible lead to the Yankees.

Then there was the Terry Francona controversy and his triumphant return to Fenway as the team was struggling.

The team has spent all season going on a winning streak, then a losing streak. Looking great and looking awful.

And doing that with a toxic clubhouse and in front of the craziest fan base in baseball.

The latest episode would have ended with the Youkilis and Valentine tension culminating in his trade and wonderful last game in Boston.

Then, of course, Big Papi starts complaining as part of the cliffhanger.

There is no way a show following this dysfunctional and schizophrenic team would not be compelling. It is a big enough train wreck and whiplash-inducing experience following this team from afar.

Throw a few cameras in the clubhouse and conduct a few candid interviews. They might win an Emmy.

Chances are the Red Sox are not winning anything else this year.


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