MLB’s got more documentaries cooking

Hey, this was pretty good news on a truly slow news day! From a press release:

January 8, 2015 -“ MLB Network will take viewers beyond the white lines and explore some of baseball’€™s most captivating stories and personalities in its new original series MLB Network Presents, hosted by Bob Costas and premiering on Tuesday, January 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET. 

The first installment of MLB Network Presents is The Odd Couple: Bochy and Flannery, an in-depth look at the unique friendship between San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and his longtime third base coach Tim Flannery, including the first interview with the two together since Flannery announced his retirement from coaching in November. Throughout the hour-long program, Bochy and Flannery discuss the bond they have shared for nearly half of their lives despite coming from two different backgrounds. Bochy, the son of a U.S. Army Officer, and Flannery, a noted musician in addition to being an accomplished coach, began their relationship as teammates with the San Diego Padres in 1983 and continued to enjoy great success together on the Padres and Giants coaching staffs for 15 seasons, including three Giants’€™ World Championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

It’s funny. When I first read this I thought, "Hey, great idea! Baseball documentaries with all that tremendous access! What a concept!"

And then of course I did remember that MLB Network, God love ’em, has been making documentaries for years. There was one about Darryl Kile, and a couple of great ones about Hawk Harrelson and Bob Uecker, and probably dozens more. I’m sure this new series is somehow distinguishable from what’s come before, but essentially this just means that yes, MLB Network will keep making documentaries.

And hurray for that! I’ve enjoyed those I’ve seen, and probably should have seen the rest of them. MLB Network is creating a tremendous resesrve of well-made films about subjects near and dear to all our hearts, and we’re lucky to have them.

Just now, though, this scene, featuring one of my all-time favorite performances, popped into my head. It’s long, but worth the time if you enjoy tremendous acting …

then, you will attain character. Because honesty will reach out from inside, and tattoo itself across your face. Until that day, however, you cannot expect to go beyond a certain point.

There are good people at MLB Network, great people even. But as a house organ, there is a certain point beyond which they simply cannot go. The network has made many good documentaries and will make many more. But making great ones will always be a terrible struggle, because if there’s one thing that Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association fear, it’s honesty.