Jose, Can You See A Reality Show?

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - August 23, 2006
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If there is one medium that professional team sports have not been quick to jump on, it is the ever-growing phenomenon of reality television. Some would say that sports is the ultimate reality, but that counters the idiocy of modern television programming.

Reality TV has already been embraced by Ultimate Fighting, boxing, professional wrestling and even cooking where celebrity chefs school their charges on the finer points of sauces, glazes and how to inspire their staffs with four-letter words shouted loudly in an open kitchen for all to hear.

With amateur team sports jumping in with ESPN’s Summer House, it’s time for baseball to act. Why? Because it’s good publicity, and it already has a person on the periphery who is tailor-made for the absurdity of the genre.

Who is this future media darling destined for repeated performances on VH-1’s Best Week Ever?

Jose Canseco, of course. The big Cuban slugger has it all. A talented past, a history of intrigue and a reality track record. I mean, who else near the game could get The Apprentice uber-villain Omarosa and a surgically enhanced former crack head super model to cower in fear while swooning with delight at the same time?

Each week we could follow Jose as he goes about his quest to get back in the bigs through his efforts to help turn around the fortunes the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League.

See Jose hit .169. See him blast four home runs in 21 games. Watch as he lobs 60 mph nonknuckling knuckleballs at hitters with the athletic flair of Indians KY expert Eddie Harris. Decide for yourself if the Golden League is a reference to the state within which the league exists, or if it in fact refers to the age of its athletes.

Every reality show needs a moment where petty bickering turns into a jealous tearfest in front of the confessional cam. This is where it would really get good. Match Canseco up with someone who bleeds Cardinal red, and see them get semi-physical over whether Jose deserves Hall of Fame consideration along with ex-teammate and alleged bathroom stallmate Mark McGwire.

Cardinal boy will point out that Big Mac never popped positive and that he was the best long ball hitter of his era, while Canseco is an admitted cheater who achieved his greatest fame bouncing a ball off his head for a home run. This leaves another roommate, probably a former child star, rapping Christian actor in adult films who’s trying to recover his life after a failed wrestling career. It will be this person’s job to add fuel to the fire reading the standard reality TV action generating communicate that includes the following stats.

Canseco: 1887 games, 7057 at bats, 1,186 runs, 1,877 hits, 340 doubles, 14 triples, 462 home runs, 1,407 RBI, 200 stolen bases, .266 avg., .515 slugging, 3631 bases.

McGwire: 1874 games, 6187 at bats, 1167 runs, 1626 hits, 252 doubles, 6 triples, 583 home runs, 1,414 rbi, 12 stolen bases, .263 avg., .588 slug., 3639 total bases.

Then in the season finale Jose can complete the most intriguing mission in reality TV history by probing the hidden depths of the secretive and clueless society known as Opus Selig Dei. The group that engineered his banishment from baseball and that which holds the biggest secret of them all, that Abner Doubleday married and that his descendants remain alive and hidden in the form of Don Zimmer.

Armed with the knowledge that in 2001 Jose hit .258 with 16 home runs, 49 rbi and 46 runs scored in 76 games, he sets about his journey to reclaim what is rightfully his and to save the game from those who control it.

Now that’s reality TV worth watching.

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