The Giants Want to Share

A man who demands the spotlight.

Inexplicably, the San Francisco Giants have agreed to be the subject of a behind-the-scenes reality series that will air on Showtime next year. I feel bad for Giants fans. (Haven’t been able to say that for a few months!)

Life as a Major League Baseball team is pretty simple. The goal is to win the World Series. You face many challenges along the way, including keeping your clubhouse focused and productive. This is no small task — baseball players are famously delicate, like souffles or those flowers that start rotting if they’re two degrees warmer than they’re supposed to be.

Turning your season into a reality series seems like a distraction with no baseball benefit. Matt Cain seems to hope it’ll make him more famous:

“I think it will be great publicity for the team and the guys on the team… I think it could be a really good thing for San Francisco. Everybody knows the West Coast doesn’t get as much publicity as East Coast teams.”

West Coast teams obviously get less coverage nationally. For West Coast players, that likely means fewer endorsement offers and less leverage in free agency. So, with this show deal, the players get some fame, and the team and the players presumably get money. Giants fans get not much.

Showtime channel-receiving American households are about to learn a lot more about the Giants. We’ll see if they make San Francisco proud.

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I like that Showtime thinks people will be interested in the Giants. I worry that it will be a distraction and produce a lot of bandwagon fans. Also, I worry about it possibly producing an excessive amount of exhibitionist behavior like the beards, red thongs, The Machine, etc. A little of that kind of stuff can break the tension, a lot of of can be a huge distraction and become a self-parody situation.