What happens when two Hollywood starlets try out for a Major League Baseball team? OK, that sounds like a typical “reality” TV stunt. Thankfully, the MLB Network is sticking to actual life in the big leagues for its first reality show.
MLB Network announced that it will televise a new reality program, “The Pen,” an original series produced by MLB Productions that follows members of the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen with unprecedented access to a Major League team. The series will debut on Sunday, June 14 at 8:00 pm ET. The series, which features on-the-field and off-the-field interviews, will air for six weeks and include coverage from 2009 Spring Training to the All-Star break.
Narrated by former Phillies relief pitcher and MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams, The Pen takes a look at the players’ lives following the team’s 2008 World Series win and the pressures of keeping their roster spot for the 2009 team. The series features relief pitchers Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Gary Majewski, Jack Taschner, J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park and bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer. It follows them to everything from fishing trips and youth baseball games to the White House for a post-World Series visit. The program also speaks with players following the sudden death of longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas on April 13.
“As a reality-based series The Pen is the ultimate look into the lives of these players, both on and off the field. So much of what we know about relief pitchers is based on statistics and saves, and a series like The Pen gives a level of familiarity to each player,” said Tony Petitti, President and CEO of MLB Network.
The program marks the first program ever produced using a camera and microphones installed in a Major League bullpen to film in-game and practice footage. Two other cameras were installed in Citizens Bank Park – one behind home plate and one at low first base – and were controlled by MLB Network’s headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey. Producer Danny Field suited up as a catcher with a camera attached to his mask to capture footage during Spring Training in Clearwater, FL.
The Pen was produced by MLB Productions. Gary Waksman is the Lead Producer, Danny Field is the Associate Producer, and David Check is the Executive Producer. The Pen is the third series produced by MLB Network and MLB Productions, following Prime 9 and Baseball Seasons.