Chronicle sports columnist Scott Ostler called yesterday's premiere of Showtime's The Franchise: A Season With the San Francisco Giants "for Giants fans only."
(F)or a series promising viewers unprecedented access to a baseball team, the first installment came off a little puffy.
For Giants fans it had to be excellent watching, glimpses of the team you won't get anywhere else. Nice home/family footage of Matt Cain and Jeremy Affeldt. Nice glimpses of Bruce Bochy and his staff.
For the rest of the baseball world, it will be interesting to see if the series reinforces the image of the Giants as zany, offbeat guys having fun playing a game, or causes folks in New York and Philadelphia to roll their eyes and switch the channel.
I had to get rid of Showtime, for financial reasons and because how much TV can one human being possibly watch anyway? But there's at least one clip from the show that should be of dishearteningly prurient interest to all Giants fans: A two-minute spot on Buster Posey's rehab of his famous broken leg and severely strained ankle that includes a close-up of the bruised and battered latter. Plus this exchange:
Interviewer: "Your unborn children, they come up to you one day and say, 'Daddy, I want to be a catcher.' What's your response?"
Posey: "Nooo way. No chance, no chance."
I think he means it.
Also, here's a half-hour preview episode featuring clips from the show that Showtime put up on its site last week. Some individual segments below:
You'll also enjoy, I'm guessing, this fake promo of the show from Gar Ryness, also known as Batting Stance Guy, who has made a name for himself from his ability to imitate the batting stances of major league players. The personalities of Wilson, Zito, Lincecum, Bochy, Sansoval, Ross, Torres, Burrell, Schierholtz, and Posey are hilariously parodied.