World Fucking Champions, ladies and gentlemen. That’s what the Philadelphia Phillies are. And when you are the World Fucking Champions, which is what the Philadelphia Phillies are, people start actually paying attention to you (as opposed to those seasons when you’re piling up the losess to hold on to your title of the losingest franchise in American sports history). And so the MLB Network is going to be airing a reality show about the bullpen of the Philadelphia Phillies, your reigning World Fucking Champions.
What caught me off guard about yesterday morning’s press release is that the show starts airing this Sunday night (June 14). The MLB has, apparently, been filming this thing since spring training. How did I not hear about this during any of the game broadcasts, or on any of the Philly sites and blogs I peruse?
Anyway, “The Pen” will air for the next six weeks, following bullpen players from spring training through next month’s All Star Game break. If it weren’t for the fact that the Phillies are now the World Fucking Champions, it would kill myself and millions of others that “The Pen” is being narrated by Mitch Williams (for those not in the know, he devastated the City of Brotherly Love by blowing the lovable 1993 team’s World Series run, and was literally ran out of town with a police escort).
One possibly interesting storyline will be the suspension and return of J.C. Romero, a reliever who got a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy despite following the league guidelines and being told by the league’s hotline that he could take the supplement that got him suspended. The show will also discuss the sorely missed Harry the K (longtime Hall of Fame announcer), so fans can get their weeping rags ready.
They apparently have a ton of great in-depth coverage, including from a camera installed in the bullpen to pull practice and in-game footage. An MLB Productions exec talks about this being the most open access they’ve ever had to a team during Spring Training or the regular season. Which makes it too bad that the show is being co-produced and aired by the MLB Network, because that means there will certainly be an amount of self-censorship and “blemishes”; the J.C. Romero thing will surely be watered down (while I’m sure the network would say it did not allow itself to be influenced at all by the league, I say hogwash).
In any event, for the small minority of us who are fans of baseball, and the even smaller minority who are fans of a certain team of World Fucking Champions (did I mention that was the Phillies?), this should be interesting show to help pass the summer TV doldrums.
“The Pen” airs on Sunday nights from June 14 through July 26, at varying times of either 8, 8:30 or 9 p.m. Eastern (adjust accordingly for your time zone).