Home > Uncategorized > ‘The Franchise’ Episode 8: The Season Finale Brings Reflection

‘The Franchise’ Episode 8: The Season Finale Brings Reflection

It ends tonight.

I think I would give “The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants” a solid B grade. There were times where it failed with situations in which it really had a chance to provide an interesting view — the Carlos Beltran trade and the brawl with the Philadelphia Phillies, especially.

But overall, it gave us some great personal stories, and it generally did what it was supposed to do. It gave us a pretty nice amount of access to the clubhouse. It gave us the lives of the players both on and off the field. The episode about Brian Wilson’s relationship with his father, and Tim Lincecum’s private nature was the highlight episode of the season, by far.

It may not have excelled in all fields, but I think this was a very successful endeavor for Showtime (I have yet to look up the ratings), and I hope that it is able to get a team to sign on next year. The Giants have enough characters to make a follow-up season watchable, and I think they would agree to do it. But their story has been told.

In the final episode, four players who have been profiled in detail described their experience with the series and talked about what 2011 means to them.

Pablo Sandoval talked about how much he has committed himself to his craft now, losing 40 pounds over the offseason.

Ryan Vogelsong calls his own story — a pitcher who hadn’t played in the majors since 2006 comes back and turns into an All-Star — incredible. “I think, in 2011, I was supposed to have this story happen, and you guys were supposed to be here to film it.”

Brandon Belt talked about how embarrassing it was to cry on TV when he learned that he had made the big-league club out of spring training. But his year has also been about a yo-yo-like existence between San Francisco and Fresno. “It’s been a lot of ups and there’s been a lot of times where I said, ‘Hey, I’m done.’ I had just kind of given up the year, and I just didn’t care about anything. But … I took care of business so that I can get back up here as soon as possible.”

Barry Zito’s story for 2011: “Watching my team go out there, and I couldn’t be a part of it.” Injuries have ruined Zito’s season, a year in which he is making $18.5 million and many have called for the Giants to release him.

“I hear things here and there. … I rip my own heart out daily. That’s a big thing, that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I gave 100 percent. It hurts bad that it wasn’t enough in some instances. But you take it personal. And that hurts.”

  • Mark DeRosa is mentioned as he made yet another return from yet another injury earlier this month. He’d been out since May with a wrist injury and didn’t play past May in 2010 because of injury. There’s a slow-motion shot of DeRosa walking into the dugout on May 18 of this year after rupturing a tendon in his left wrist at Dodger Stadium. Thinking that he may never put on a baseball uniform again, DeRosa forcefully throws his helmet against the back wall. And if you watch this episode, the look on Freddy Sanchez’s face is absolutely priceless.
  • On the field, the episode centers around the end of the Giants’ three-team road trip and the start of a long homestand as they try to reclaim first place from the Diamondbacks. One good scene includes Bruce Bochy, general manager Brian Sabean, owner Bill Neukom and team president Peter Larry Baer. They are all talking about the amazing amount of injuries the Giants have had to play through this season.

Baer tells Bochy: “You can’t go on the DL.” Then Sabean interjects: “He may go into rehab.”

  • The show ends with a bunch of clichés from players saying how important September is, how they want to get back to the playoffs, how they have the talent and how they are indeed determined do it. But of course, Wilson gets the last word.
“We tasted cake last year. Daddy wants a piece.”

It must also be mentioned that in this episode, Wilson wears a shirt with “That’s What She Said” in bold on the front.

  • As the credits roll, Bochy and the players all take shots at the Showtime crew. Then the final three minutes are just an assortment of weird statements by Wilson from throughout the season. A sampling:

“I like sweatpant shorts. I call them shwarts. It’s new.”

“I remember there being two pancake houses in town that said “Best pancake house in town.” And I was like, ‘No.’ There can only be one.”

“Dan Brown, I need you to write a new book. My biography. Obviously, it’s fiction. … I am a free mason, and there’s like treasures and shit, and, you know, I was born in the amazon. … Next thing you know, people’s lives are in jeopardy and there’s weird portals to another world.”

Every Wednesday with that will be missed.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 1, 2011 at 4:59 am

    where can i watch it ?

    • September 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

      There will be re-airings on Showtime throughout the week. And, while I don’t know any site particular site offhand, there should be plenty of places on the Internet to watch the episode for free in the next day or two.

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