MLB Network to launch a game show that sounds kinda neat

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I once tried out for “Jeopardy!”  Passed the test and went on to the practice game.  They said I was “in the contestant pool” but they never called me.  Since then I’ve had one boss and four coworkers who have gone on “Jeopardy!”, all of whom won at least once and two of whom were five-time champions.  Meanwhile, I roam the Earth as a Trivial Pursuit hustler.  Coulda been somebody. Coulda been a contender. Alas.

But I won’t let my life’s biggest disappointment put a damper on this, which actually sounds pretty cool:

MLB Network today announced the launch of Baseball IQ, its first-ever game show, premiering Tuesday, January 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Hosted by MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian, Baseball IQ is a recall-based trivia show featuring two participants, 30 minutes and a chance to win up to $45,000 for charity. Questions will cover all things baseball, from current players and managers to World Series champions, MVPs, Cy Young Award winners, Hall of Famers, milestones and more.

There should be rooting interests too, because they’re doing it as a bracket-style thing, with a representative from each club, one from MLB.com and one from the Hall of Fame.  But don’t think you’re going to have Adam Dunn facing off against Ozzie Guillen here. It’s way more likely that you’ll have the Tigers’ bright young media relations guy matching wits with the Mariners’ assistant to the travelling secretary. UPDATE: here’s a list with all of the participants and more details.

Which I think is way more fun, actually, because people will fall in love with these guys like they do reality show contestants. Some will be endearing, some will be off-putting. It should be kinda neat.

At least if we don’t get overload.  According to the press release, tthere will be two new episodes every Tuesday through Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET from January 24 through February 23, leading up to the start of Spring Training.

That’s a lot of those shows, but it’s not like we have anything else to do.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves