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Way Back Wednesday: Bring Back The Baseball Bunch

Way Back Wednesday: Bring Back The Baseball Bunch

What ever happened to the old 80’s kids shows like the Baseball Bunch? I didn’t grow up in the age of baseball on TV 24/7, but I had some good shows to look forward to as a kid. On Saturdays we could look forward to seeing shows like This Week In Baseball (TWIB) with the late great Mel Allen or The Baseball Bunch with Johnny Bench. Both of these shows were kid friendly and helped introduce a whole new generation to the great game.

But what do kids have now? Yes I know TWIB is still around on Fox, but to be honest it doesn’t have the same feel to it since Fox took it over. It’s still a great show, but it seems kids are too busy now to watch it. Are we just a victum of too much available TV? Or are we a victum of the 24 hour networks that show sports non-stop?

All too often I hear kids are intersted in other sports and baseball is falling by the wayside. As someone who has been passionate about the game for as long as I can remember, that is just hard to wrap my mind around. The game has such a history, but when we start to look at the history it seems to deal with a slower paced society. Fathers were playing catch with their sons and coaching little league. Sandlot games were played by the kids in the neighborhood after school and on weekends. Maybe I was just one of the more fortunate ones to experience things like this, or perhaps as Dylan once sang, “The times they are a changing”.

I know this isn’t the case everywhere, but it does seem like life is starting to go at a faster pace. Does this have anything to do with baseball’s loss as the biggest sport in the US? Baseball in itself is a slower paced game than most others. With society becoming an “instant fix” society perhaps the game of baseball just doesn’t fit.

Of course, I don’t believe that and I feel people who don’t give baseball a chance are missing out, but I am biased.

Baseball’s  popularity might not be fading. Overall the decade of 2000-2010 was the best the sport has ever seen attendance wise. However, it seems more and more young players are choosing other sports over baseball. The NFL has become the biggest sport in the US although that might change with a long protracted lockout this next season. In the grand scheme of things, baseball seems to be picking up steam worldwide even without it being a sport in the Olympics anymore.

I guess my main point to this long rant is I would like to see more kids baseball programming. It was such a great show with Hall of Fame baseball players each week giving tips to kids in little league. Add in the greatness of the San Diego Chicken and it was a great combination to not only entertain kids but to educate them as well on baseball and just being a good sport. But I wonder if a show similar to The Baseball Bunch would be a hit today with so much competition on the TV front?


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3 Responses to “Way Back Wednesday: Bring Back The Baseball Bunch”

  1. John S. says:

    Hey Eric, I can never remember if I saw this show or not. I feel like I did with some Ozzie Smith sprinkled in there or something. I was reminded of the show last year when Homage Clothing did a shirt about the Baseball Bunch. I do think though that since there is too much on tv and kids are so preoccupied with everything else that shows like these just don’t really exist anymore.

  2. I saw those t-shirts and I gotta get me one. I loved the show but you are right with so much going on now kids would never watch it. Which, in the end, is the sad part I think because it was a great show.

  3. Doug Wilson says:

    The Baseball Bunch was one of my favorite shows. When I had kids, I found a videotape of several episodes and we watched it together over and over. It was just a great show for kids–it had Ozzie Smith coming out dressed as a wizard and showing kids how to play ‘wallball’ and giving fielding tips, Graig Nettles, Gary Carter, Dusty Baker, Dan Quissenberry and a bunch of other great players as well as the San Diego chicken and Johnny Bench taking turns with corny jokes.

    In my all-time favorite episode, the kids noticed an old man in a fishing hat practicing his casting behind the fence. The old man noticed them playing baseball and mentioned that he used to know a thing or two about the game. The kids invited the old man in and Johnny Bench fell over when he recognized him–it was Ted Williams. Teddy Ballgame then gave the kids some tips (‘Ya gotta get a good pitch’) and then Johnny talked him in to getting in the batter’s box and taking some swings. Ted was in his 60s, but he still could rip line drives. What a great show! Thanks for reminding us.


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