One of our bold predictions for 2015 was the hope/possibility/thesis that MLB Network would be getting into the documentary and biopic genre that has seen much success across sports networks in recent years. Most specifically for the league-owned networks, a series along the lines of NFL Network’s A Football Life seems like too good of a fit for MLB Network given the appetite that exists for the history of the game and the limitless potential for compelling stories.
As Ben wrote just last week, MLB Network is best positioned among the networks to strike with a new series in this lucrative medium. The good news for baseball fans is that it’s about to become a reality.
Later today MLB Network will announce a new series, MLB Network Presents, that aims to tell some of these rich stories from the national pastime. Bob Costas himself will host the series that premieres on Tuesday night January 13th at 9 PM ET.
The debut episode in the personality-driven series is entitled The Odd Couple: Bochy & Flannery and chronicles the long-time relationship between San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and 3rd base coach that dates back to when they were Padres teammates in 1983. As the title suggests, the show centers on their differing backgrounds – Bochy from a military family and Flannery as an accomplished musician. Flannery just retired in November after another championship with Bochy in San Francisco. MLB Network Presents will not only examine their relationship on the diamond, but off the field as well. Flannery’s relationship with the family of Bryan Stow is also a major part of the film.
This new series is a fantastic development for MLB Network and should be a welcome sight for baseball fans as Spring Training approaches. There must be an uncountable number of rich stories from the past and present of the game that are just waiting to be told. And much like 30 for 30 or A Football Life, a series like MLB Network Presents can be a platform for telling those stories. With the personalities that populate the history of baseball, just imagine the possibilities for a biopic series like this that can either uncover new stories or tell familiar ones in a new light. The golden age of sports documentaries just keeps moving onward and upward.