Off The Bat, Episodes 10 and 11: What's New Is Not New

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MTV2’s terrible two-headed dog invades Safeco Field in a pregame Off the Bat promo. (Photo by author.)

Last time, I examined the media ecosystem that Off the Bat was born into. This time, an investigation into how “new” the new episodes of the show really are.

#10

Man Josh Donaldson seems like a cool guy. Really. The Oakland A’s third baseman was this week’s guest, and instead of trotting him out and making him do a silly dance, Off the Bat had Donaldson essentially co-host the show with Sway, chattering about all the goofy cued-up videos. In addition to being the guest who received the most screen time, Donaldson is also I believe the first in-studio guest in the annals of Off the Bat-dom to escape total embarrassment. Quite an episode for Mr. Donaldson.

More importantly! In this episode we go cruisin’ with Melanie and Giancarlo:

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That is, Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton aimlessly drove around for a while, with the supremely flirty Melanie Iglesias riding shotgun:

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Eyes on the road, Giancarlo! Their conversation is worth reproducing in full:

M: Did you always dream about having a Maserati when you were a kid, or? [Sentence stops.]

G: Uh, my dream car growing up was probably like a Lamborghini I’d say.

M: What do you normally listen to when you’re driving? This is a really cool car by the way --

G: Thank you, thank you.

M: -- so like you have to play cool tunes while you’re in it. [She really does say “cool tunes.”]

G: Well it just depends. If I’m by myself I’m playing whatever, whatever fits the mood, and I’m probably singing to the top of my lungs.

[Melanie laughs]

M: Oh, you have tint[ed windows], right, so people can’t really see.

G: Yeah they can’t see who’s singin’.

M: You can sing as loud as you want.

G: I can sing as loud as I want, I can play N’Sync in here if I need to.

M: Have you done that? Have you played N’Sync in this car?

G: Absolutely.

M: What’s your favorite song by them?

G: By N’Sync?

M: Yeah.

G: They’re just all so good you know. I --

M: Do you like “Bye, Bye, Bye” ’cause you know the dance?

G: “Bye, Bye, Bye” you can do the dance always, so that’s usually the go-to if we’re gonna do some karaoke.

[Melanie in fits of hysterical laughter.]

M: How about recent stuff? Like new artists?

G: Oh, yeah. Li’l Wayne, Drake, all them. I’m usually open to anything. I’ll listen to --

M: Yeah well I heard that you like…[ominous pause] Rihanna. And Beyonce and some Miley Cyrus, and some. [Stops.]

G: Oh you heard that, huh?

M: Yeah, so you like your girly songs too. But it’s good. A guy that can embrace his feminine side.

G: I like everything! I’m not, I’m not biased, that’s the thing. I’m open-minded, and I can just go with the mood.

M: If you’re really sad you put some Drake on.

G: If I’m sad I put some Drake on, you know--

M: Call all your exes.

G: Yeah. Send ’em all text messages.

[Both of them in fits of laughter.]

M: That really happens! Don’t Drake and drive.

Awesome. Or is it?

You see, as a preeminent Off the Bat scholar, I recall that Giancarlo was in fact a guest on the very first episode. He and Melanie went to a junkyard, where Giancarlo proceeded to hit balls off a tee and into the rusting cars, a sequence that was totally lame but managed to produce the signature crunching of glass that punctuates all Off the Bat advertisements. Let’s look back at the foota -- gasp!

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I do declare that both Melanie and Giancarlo are wearing the very same clothes as they were while they were cruisin’!

Does this mean that, despite being in the middle of the baseball season and requiring only 22 minutes of content to fill each week, that Off the Bat is rolling out months-old footage on us?

I’m sure it was just a one-time thing.

#11

In this episode we learn that Chris Distefano is getting a “tryout” with the Arizona Diamondbacks. As Chris introduces the segment, the Diamondbacks let him “crash one of their practices.”

Oh, an in-season practice, eh? That’s quite unusual. I know the producers of Off the Bat wouldn’t have him say the word “practice” flippantly, because this is a show for crazy baseball fans and baseball fans know that baseball teams don’t really practice because -- aw shit this is from spring training:

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Alright, so this footage is from March, at the latest. But that’s okay. It’s okay because baseball players, even the fringe ones that Off The Bat could manage to get on the show, are hilarious.

The star of the show is not Chris Distefano -- it is Mark Reed, who managed to appear in 26 Triple-A games before transitioning to his current job as the big league club’s bullpen catcher. (Diamondbacks pitchers Josh Collmenter and Charles Brewer, the latter of which has thrown all of six major league innings, also make solid contributions.) Reed, who it should be reiterated is a bullpen catcher, is pitching Distefano batting practice because well who knows.

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Reed looks upon the proceedings with admirable bemusement and a wit that one-ups the professional comedian:

C: You got any tips on this?

M: Don’t swing and miss.

[Chris swings and misses.]

C: Never forget that I’m a comedian, so. [Sentence stops.]

M: [Aside to camera.] Should I throw hard?

[Chris swings and misses again. Vicious laughter is heard off-camera.]

[Next pitch, Chris taps a meek grounder past the mound.]

C: I could have run that one out.

M: You?

Back at the studio, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez administered a spanking to Chris, a moment that understandably befuddled the unfortunate lone pedestrian walking past the Off the Bat studio:

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Several other astonishing things happened in these episodes -- Jimmy Rollins receives lessons in how to be a trance DJ, for instance -- but this seems like quite enough for now. Maybe more than enough.

Did you miss Off the Bat on TV? You can watch highlights of the episodes, and thereby corroborate that all of the above and more is in fact true, here and here.

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