I’m not going to go back over how The Franchise faltered because I believe I covered that in every recap of the season. Oh, OK, once more for old time’s sake: it didn’t go nearly as deep as a reality show about a major league baseball team should go.
With tonight’s final episode, the producers opted not to show us too much about where the Giants are now or where they’re headed, but to go the “tell ‘em what you told ‘em” route, which amounted to an extremely skippable finale.
What’s new is that the Giants are chasing the Diamondbacks, feeling more vulnerable than last year despite being closer to first place than this time in 2010. Tim Lincecum is having a good season, but the team feels the pinch of not having injured closer Brian Wilson on board. During the managers’ meeting, we hear key insights like “pitching will be critical.”
And then…well, if you watched the whole season, you already know everything that came next. The narrator reminded us of Ryan Vogelsong’s fairytale season, Pablo Sandoval losing weight, Brandon Belt coming up into and out of the majors, Barry Zito’s lost season. I’m recapping a recap right now.
What comes next for the Giants? Of course it’s impossible to predict the future, but we received no insight as to what realistic odds they have for making the postseason, what has to go right for them, or even tough business like who from this team will most likely be gone by 2012. No, we heard gems like “It always comes down to the end.” I wish that the series’ season had finished off with a more typical episode, but tonight’s autopilot finale makes me feel negatively towards the show and rather pessimistic for the team.
The only people who I think would have gotten a lot of out of this episode are the true Giants fans who would love the footage of the players and management goofing around with the cameramen, talking about the fun and torture of being on The Franchise. I understand that feeling, to love your guys so much that you’d watch them do anything, including be spontaneously cute on camera, because they bring you so much joy. Unfortunately, I don't think The Franchise was able to draw in many people who didn't already love the Giants. This series isn’t going to make me pay closer attention to the team as the season closes out, and it didn’t teach me more about baseball. But I do feel like I learned a little something about making a good, insightful reality show about MLB and it’s that it’s really damn hard, if not impossible.
—I will say that thanks to this show, I am 100% more aware of Brian Wilson and for that I am glad.