If The Cardinals Were A Reality Show

A young, hotshot television producer walks into a network executive's office…

Hello! I'm Walt Lamping with Redbird Productions. I know I only have five minutes of your precious time, so I'll talk fast. I've got a couple of sizzling hot reality show ideas that are burning a hole in my brain. Let me tell you what will get your network back into first place.

First up we have "Jason Isringhausen's Fear Factor." We have contestants come in and we sit them down and have them watch our host deal with a lot of high-pressure situations. Isringhausen's calling card is never playing it safe and always being on the edge of disaster. We can even have him fail a couple times and pretend like he died. It'll give the contestants ulcers! We can hook these poor saps up to heart and blood pressure monitors and the contestant with the lowest readings wins. I've met Mr. Isringhausen, and he's a star! He'll really get the people behind him.

Wait! You don't look thrilled. Stick with me here. That's just the first idea. Next: "America's Got Talent, How About the Starting Rotation?" I know there are a lot of people out there who believe they can pitch in the major leagues. So we bring in some of these guys, recruited through local radio call-in shows, coach them up during an episode and then have them pitch against batters and compare them to a real starting rotation. We can really mix up the other pitchers with say a Cy Young winner, any aging veteran that is "hurt" and drops his velocity, a hot head who refuses to listen to the coaches, a really nondescript guy who just goes out there and acts like one of the contestants, and oh, I don't know, maybe a California surfer dude. And if any of those don't work out, we call up a guy from the minors who is maybe better than most of the other guys. That would be a huge plot twist!

Alright, that one's got potential. I can see you're mulling it over. Good, good. Keep mulling while I talk to you about "Real World: Baseball Clubhouse." What do you get when you put 25 players, some cranky old coaches and the media in one dressed up locker room? Unscripted drama!

Think about the possibilities. Cameras could run all the time so you could see how players are when they start acting real. We could put English subtitles when the Latin players speak in Spanish and make fun of their hoosier teammates. Sprinkle in a few agents, secret girlfriends, shady entourage members, autograph hounds and personal trainers and I think we've got a ratings winner!

Smiles! I like! Stay with me here. "Project Urine Sample." We hire some guys in white lab coats and we conduct random drug tests. Now we might have some legal hurdles to cover with the union and hidden cameras in the "sample" room, but I think we can make it happen. After the test, then we offer the players immunity challenges such as a home run distance contest or bench press lifts or best back acne. I'm still figuring those out. The test result ceremonies will be tension-filled. I'm thinking the host, Bill Nye the Science Guy, could call them in and open envelopes and tell the loser "I'm sorry Barry, but the asterisk is behind your name. Mr. Selig would like to speak with you now." Cheesy, but it may work.

Alright, I can see you didn't really get on board with that one. It may have been the sample room cameras. I dunno. No, don't speak. I've got a few more ideas.

I'm still figuring out the details, but what about "Project Runway: Jim Edmonds Gets Dressed." We could have some fashion experts talk about his style. I'm sure Edmonds' wardrobe wouldn't need any additions. Of course there's always the "Amazing Pennant Race," but I think that would work better for the American League.

The ideas are coming fast now! I'm thinking of an interview show with Tony La Russa: "Inside the Manager's Studio" with host James Lipton. Maybe "Queer Eye for the Setup Guy." We could have guest hosts that are switch hitters. Or not.

There's always "All Star Search," or "Trading Spaces With Second Basemen," or "Iron Post Game Buffet Chef." We could do a bloopers show, "National League's Funniest Interleague Games."

I know, I've given you a lot to think about. Let me leave you with just one last thought: "Temptation Cardinal Nation." We take a beloved baseball team, make them just good enough to look like they can win it all, and then throw some challenges at them: a few injuries, pay a few players to suddenly forget how to play. Let other teams make big trades late in the season while this team stands virtually unchanged and then we watch the fans go through the roller coaster ride of the season. We could have a real cliffhanger ending where the spotlight team suddenly plays better near the end of the season allowing the fans to get their hopes up one more time.

You're right, that's too far from reality. I doubt anyone could pull that off.

Contact: lee@stlouisgametime.com


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