The Franchise Episode 2 Recap: Hey Now, You're an All-Star
Yet, while Wilson comes across as a likable person and not just a raving lunatic, manager Bruce Bochy is the most likable figure on the team throughout the half-hour. It's instructive to note that Showtime doesn't try to foist any storyline on the viewer -- instead, it just edits together some of Bochy's funniest moments and lets them speak for themselves. That includes an pre-ASG speech that touches on the importance of homefield advantage in the World Series but mostly focuses on telling the guys to have fun; a few jokes about the Giants never getting three-run homers like Prince Fielder's bomb in the fourth inning; and a mound visit with Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens in which he takes the ball and says nothing more than "I gotta get your buddy in here." Bochy also gets the best line of the episode when, while looking at his lineup card, he shakes his head and says, "Fuck, I can't keep up with this shit." Through these short clips, Bochy seems like an even-keeled, funny, and altogether egoless manager, the kind of guy who keeps everyone loose and keeps up friendly relations with every player and coach on the roster. You get a sense of why he's been successful over 17 consecutive years as a manager even as some of his lineup decisions seem illogical.
These Bochy segments are The Franchise at its best: With unprecedented access, the series give you a picture of baseball life without shaping the narrative too much. It feels natural and true to the big-league experience without being obvious about it all. In these moments, the show doesn't seem shaped for diehard fans or casual viewers. It's just about the people in baseball, with no narratives or extraneous bullshit, and it's the better for it.
- At the ESPYs, Wilson refers to his cougar-adorned cane as his "plus-one."
- Vogelsong on San Francisco: "This is what a big-league city is all about. You don't get a view like this in Fresno." Or Milwaukee. Or Phoenix. Or Detroit. Etc. ad infinitum.
- While watching the Home Run Derby, Tim Lincecum (still mostly undiscussed on the series, weirdly enough) and Matt Cain discuss the latter's daughter. Lincecum: "Did she go?" Cain: "She peed on me."
- Zito says his postcareer aspirations involve opening a restaurant and working as a chef. His scrambled eggs look terrible, so he probably needs some training. He also claims that his Hollywood Hills home is "pretty far from civilization," which makes you wonder what he thought of Fresno during his recent rehab start for the Grizzlies.
- Brian Wilson on beard maintenance: "If we upturn the mustache, it's not threatening. It's inviting, it's fun." Try it some time!
- The episode has a few clips from All-Star introductions but neglects to show that the Arizona fans booed every Giant in attendance. In fact, I'm pretty sure they piped in some fake cheers to make it seem like everyone loves this team. Which they should, of course.
Eric Freeman has lived in San Francisco his entire life. He writes daily for Yahoo!'s Ball Don't Lie NBA blog and is one of the authors of FreeDarko's The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. He did not speak about the 2002 World Series at length until four hours after the Giants beat the Rangers in Game 5 last fall. Follow him on Twitter @freemaneric.