Off The Bat, Episodes 18 and 19: Groundskeeping In Purgatory

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Last time, Off the Bat episodes were subsumed by the monumental news of the show’s new time slot. This time, I ponder the show’s bizarre, purgatorial state of having and not having “access.”


If you’re just getting started with these recaps, here’s a good introduction. San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is an in-studio guest and is subjected to a segment called “Questions From Left Field.” Sample question: “What’s scarier, grizzly bear or shark?” Hot damn was that from left field!!

As we discussed last time, the central paradox about Off the Bat is that, while MLB clearly wants you to watch it -- see the numerous televised and in-stadium ads for the show -- MTV2 has now put the show on Sunday mornings, which is a half step from putting it on VHS and leaving a few tapes at various bus stations.

Even more paradoxically, it appears that Off the Bat also has a hard time getting access to the stars to which it promises access. One would think that MLB, obviously invested in the destiny of this show, would require baseball’s superstars/MLB employees to spend as much time with Off the Bat as absolutely necessary to get all the footage that MTV2 could possibly need. And yet here is Fat Joe doing an entire segment with the Miami Marlins grounds crew: 


This is a picture that tells us most everything we need to know about Off The Bat circa now. Fat Joe relentlessly tries to hype the field-maintenance that is about to go down, while the groundsmen themselves are: very bored (on the left), slightly amused (on the right). Both appear to just want to get back to their required tasks, uninterrupted by the blustering ghost of the guy who once rhymed “kick it that-a-way” with “Piscataway.”

We learn how to roll the batting cage into place. As Fat Joe receives a tutorial, he deducs that the way to accomplish this task is via -- and I quote -- “Good old-fashioned pushing.”


After some finagling, Fat Joe is finally allowed to ride a tractor! The result is absolutely smashing:


Now this is a beautiful picture. MTV2 decides to go with an angle that includes both (1) an entire cameraman well within the bounds of the frame, and (2) the bored groundsman from before, who is at that point absentmindedly texting. Feel the access!

In the time-honored Off the Bat tradition of recycling footage, Chris plays a rousing game of “Pitch, Walk, or Bean” with Jose Bautista during the All-Star Festivities in Minnesota. Meantime. Icon of contemporary MTV culture Kris Humphries is literally in the background of the frame, looking quizzically at the proceedings.




Detroit Tigers rookie Nick Castellanos is subjected to “Questions From Left Field.” Sample question: “Pancakes or French toast?” This is almost too zany a question, but Castellanos is able to get it together and answer.

Today we go on a Florida safari ride with Off the Bat power couple Melanie and Giancarlo. Melanie is wearing the exact same clothes in this segment as she did in episodes 1 and 10 -- her “previous” hangouts with Giancarlo.


So, safari time! Here’s our couple amazed by the Egyptian sights while on camelback:


I don’t think I have to elaborate on the suggested phallic imagery here:


And then Melanie hugs a giraffe. Which goes fine until she says, “I wanna marry you, so cute!”


Just as it is a literary editor’s responsibility to save their writers from errors like missspelled wrods, it is presumably the MTV2 editor’s responsibility to save their hosts from having their enthusiastic endorsement of bestiality remain on a protected hard drive and not broadcasted on the American airwaves. I am forced in the direction of one of two conclusions: (1) Everybody on Off the Bat hates one another, and as such are almost too eager to leap into backstabbing plots like this, or (2) Off the Bat endorses bestiality. It’s not necessarily impossible that both are the case, either.

Since Giancarlo has clearly become the most common guest on the show, it’s fair for you to ask, readers: is young, Off the Bat love in the air between him and his flirty interlocutor?

Well, no. First, you have to remember that most of these segments, dispersed over the months as they are, were all filmed in one day back in March or something. And also, it has been recently confirmed by Melanie’s own employer that Melanie is dating Ryan Guzman, an actor who has appeared in movies such as Step Up Revolution, Step Up All In, and Ladies’ Man: A Made Movie. We can only hope that, somewhere in our couple’s hearts, they still carry a torch for one another.  

Did you miss Off the Bat on TV because you were screening through Ryan Guzman’s IMDb page one film at a time? You can watch highlights of these episodes here and here.

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