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A reality column about reality (in) sports

July 29, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

I, like the rest of my colleagues, are feeling the sting of the mid-summer blahs.

There isn't very much going on in the local area and the national sporting scene is less than captivating. There is more fodder for Outside the Lines than there is for This Week in Baseball and NBA Inside Stuff these days.

And let's not even get into summer TV ... there are either repeats or reality.

So it got me thinking. With the way the world is spinning and television is filling its time slots, why not make an offer or two for new shows networks could run in the fall season.

I was thinking ...

  • Get this guy that few think about with the exception of three weeks a year. Put him on a bike. Let him ride up and down mountains, giving sports fans a passing interest to see if he can beat the rest of the world in a couple-thousand-mile ride across a European country somewhere. Let's say France. It would be a short run (a little longer than Hello, Larry), but get it ready for next summer as this guy tries to make history.

    We can call it Lance Fever.

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  • Don't like that one? How about taking a grouchy longtime football coach and putting him with a team that is trying to cope with the idea of losing. Follow the trials and tribulations as this guy goes from coach to TV announcer to coach to TV announcer back to coach. We'll stick him out in no man's land, like Texas, with a wacky owner who feels he knows more about the coach's job than anyone. That should make for interesting interviews, considering the coach doesn't care for the media in the first place. And for good measure, we'll dye his hair blonde.

    We'll call it Mr. Personality. Ooops, that one has been used already.

  • All right. Then how about going to this community stadium to watch minor league baseball. The fans get confused because there is no consistent way to figure out the score or any information of the game because the scoreboard is so old, everything seems to print in Latin. We could get fans seated in the stands to yell out ideas on what the score could be.

    We'll call it "Who's Line is it Anyway?" ... Shucks, that one's taken, too.

  • We can trace the two-year stay of first baseman David Segui, who has spent more time on the disabled list than on the field for the Baltimore Orioles. He was just placed on injured reserve again over the weekend.

    This one is easy. We'll name it American Idle. ... Oh, that one's gone, too.

  • How about the story behind Juan Gonzalez and the week-long saga surrounding a trade that would have sent him from the Texas Rangers to the Montreal Expos. One of the main things that scared Gonzalez off was the summer-long travel ticket as the Expos seem to play everywhere but in Montreal because no one shows up at Olympic Stadium.

    This one could be named Fear Factor. But ... you guessed it.

  • Then we could have the Pittsburgh Pirates' trading spree and call it Extreme Makeover.

  • Or the Washington Redskins' quest to find a real place-kicker for once during summer training. That would be Boot Camp.

  • A personal favorite might be giving a guy a baseball bat and letting him take swings at the slowest moving of a cavalcade of sausages. He could weed out the wurst, er, worst and create a roar among the general public that could just boost ratings. We'll film his exploits from every conceivable angle, just to milk more reaction than it's worth.

    This is an easy one. Call it the Weakest Link.

  • Or how about nightly soap opera drama. It would feature sex, adultery and infidelity. Add the popular hip-hop culture, complete with wall-to-wall tattoos. Throw in some police blotter items like DUI's, traffic stops and drug storylines. Bring in characters from foreign lands to spice things up. And film it all in the fast-paced manner that has become popular over the years.

    We need a name though. Worst-Case Scenario, Crime and Punishment and Dynasty are all taken.

    I know, let's call it the NBA Season.



  • Now that one would be fan-tastic.

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