Off The Bat, Episode Five: Robinson Cano's Magical Memory Show

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Last time, I detailed the components of Off the Bat’s relentless content-churning formula. This week they throw a wrench in the formula by piecing together an actually good segment.

I want to be straight with you: I’m just here to report the facts. Reporting the facts is the only thing I’ve aspired to do in this journalistic endeavor, one so gonzo that Hunter S. Thompson looks agoraphobic in comparison. Yes, HST watched various sporting events under the influence of ether. He never watched Anthony Rizzo hit a meatball with a baseball bat. I am dealing only in facts. I am telling you what I see.

Through the first four episodes of Off the Bat, the facts were pretty sorry indeed. Don’t blame me for the oft-acidic tone in these reviews, please. I’m only holding up a mirror to society; MTV2 has been responsible for doing the makeup this whole time.

But things have changed this week, reader. In this, the fifth episode of Off the Bat, a genuinely entertaining and insightful segment rose out of the swampy mire. These are the facts, and shame on me if I do not report them. 

Robinson Cano’s guest appearance on Off the Bat got off to a characteristically rocky start. Sway introduces Cano as “The biggest thing to hit Seattle since Microsoft and the caramel frappuccino.” In short order Cano is forced to salsa dance, continuing with Off the Bat’s storied tradition of making baseball players perform ridiculous antics against their will, for the amusement of...eh, you finish it, I’ve got nothing.

But then, suddenly, without warning, the segment “Cano You Didn’t” gets rolling and I found myself unexpectedly experiencing genuine entertainment. The production team would show a broadcast clip of a random Cano at-bat, pausing the video once the pitcher released his pitch and then quizzed Cano as to what happened next.

The result is an astounding display of Cano’s impeccable memory. He immediately nails all four scenarios Off the Bat presented to him, not only recalling the end result of the play but also remembering the pitch type and its location. In the fourth and final challenge, Off the Bat loaded up a Cano at-bat from August of 2009 -- and without hesitation Cano recalls that he hit a home run off a slider inside. As the rest of the tape rolls, Cano contently watches as just that exact thing transpires.

This is some interesting and actually very insightful stuff! Cano, without preparation, is capable of opening up a detailed mental encyclopedia of his career’s thousands of at-bats and reciting from memory from, it seems, any page. I have learned something new, and I have gained a new respect for Cano. Awesome. It took only five episodes, but Off The Bat has belatedly justified its existence, more or less.

At which point, effectively proving the statistically-slanted argument that the “hot hand” is a myth, Off the Bat immediately returns with a segment called Fantasy Time With Melanie.

Melanie Iglesias is attempting seductively lay on a couch. The camera is set to a soft focus, R&B is in the monitors. In a breathy voice, Iglesias runs down the statistics behind the productive April from Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. As in, like, you should pick him up on your league’s waiver wire. As in, don’t actually fantasize about Neil Walker ya dummy, whaddaya think about this hot girl saying baseball stats?! HOT, right?!

Iglesias concludes the segment with: “I’m Melanie Iglesias, and I just fulfilled your fantasy,” and then encourages feedback using the #MelanieFantasy hashtag.

It’s hard to tell if the ensuing tweets are unintended consequences of the first Fantasy Time with Melanie, or perhaps this is exactly what MTV2 intended:  

 

 

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