- Jon Greenberg, Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
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Fans of the Chicago White Sox, reality television and the word "bleep" rejoiced last week when it was announced that the South Siders had signed on to be featured in an MLB Network "reality" series creatively titled, "The Club."
The show will film through the trade deadline and start airing this summer, giving baseball fans an inside, albeit edited, look into the goings-on of one of baseball's more entertaining front offices. With Kenny Williams' stage presence and Ozzie Guillen's unpredictability, this could be a huge hit.
I got a sneak peek at a re-created script for the show. Shh! Don't tell the Sox it's been leaked.
EPISODE 1: OZZIE'S OFFICE
INTERIOR WHITE SOX CLUBHOUSE -- LATE AFTERNOON
(Ozzie Guillen is at the desk in his office, scribbling furiously on a piece of paper.)
(reading paper out loud)
"The Club"? That's lame. I've got some new names for the show. "The Real White Sox of Bridgeport," "Five-Tools Academy," "The Manager: On the Wings of Bleep," "Real World: My (Expletive) Team." I like that one. I'm going to run it by Junior. That kid watches a lot of (bleep) (bleep) on TV.
(Joey Cora, sitting on couch, rolls his eyes. Goes back to reading Wall Street Journal. Pitching coach Don Cooper, also sitting on the couch, is eating an apple.)
(spitting out apple pieces while he talks)
Why are we doing a reality show? We won a World Series five years ago; we're the president's favorite team; and no one's forgetting either one of those things as long as we have a marketing communications department. Seriously, I get a wake-up call every morning that's a loop of President Obama saying "I love my White Sox hat." Forget the show. Can't we just build a few more statues instead?
Listen, you stupid (bleep), this is Ozzie's TV show. You don't like it, we move on without you. And we're building the Brian Anderson statue as we speak. It's going to be outside of Jimbo's.
Well, it was Major League Baseball's idea. So it can't go wrong.
Are we just doing this in a vain attempt to highlight our "brand" and try to gain some national attention at the expense of the Cubs? What kind of show is it going to be?
This note says we're going to "merge 'The Bachelor' with 'Hard Knocks,' combined with the suspense of C-SPAN." Speaking of the Cubs, did I ever tell you about the rats in Wrigley Field?
COOPER, CORA and 50 OTHER PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE OFFICE
(Jerry Reinsdorf walks into the room dressed all in black)
How is the Hispanic Jackie Mason? You kill me with your zany humor!
We were just talking about the (bleep) Cubs. Did you kill their spring training deal yet?
(Reinsdorf strokes his nonexistent mustache in a sinister way.)
My plan is not yet complete. By the time I'm done with them, they'll be training in the Rickettses' backyard in Omaha.
Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, one New York expatriate to another, why are we doing this?
We should have done it last year when we still had Thome. It would have been like "The Andy Griffith Show." Chris Getz could have played Opie.
We've been pretty successful developing talent and plucking players from bad situations and remaking them in our little cocoon. Why risk it?
Can you believe this (bleep) Cooper? He doesn't want other (bleep) learning his (bleep) secrets. You know what his secret has been? A three-run (bleep) home run by JD! I'm sorry, my English still (bleep). I meant to say that we win by playing Ozzie-ball!
To answer your question, Don, it's marketing. These reality shows are like printing gold. We lost 7-Eleven, and we're paying a Twitter expert big bucks to teach people how to do a third-grader's job. We need to boost our revenue streams. Our early ticket sales are good, but TV exposure is where it's at. And people can only stand so much Hawkaroo. Besides, we already know that America loves foul-mouthed reality TV stars named Ozzy.
Enough (bleep) small talk. What are we filming today?
It's exciting stuff! Kenny is coming down with the cameras, and we're going to kibitz here in your office. Then we're going into the dressing room to do "confessionals." We're really going to show people how the sausage is made. We're going to bring fans closer to us. Not William Ligue close, but at a reasonable distance where I don't have to mix with them.
(Kenny Williams walks into office with two more cameramen, a boom mike operator, a producer and Southpaw, the team's green-furred mascot.)
Gentleman, we have a lot to discuss. So let's get down to business. White Sox business. White Sox business is our business, and business is good.
Um, what is Southpaw doing in here?
(angry, puts down his foam coffee cup)
You better stay out of Southpaw business!
First thing first, we have to cut a man today, and it'll be the most dramatic rosin bag ceremony ever. (Looks at producer.) Can we add some ominous piano music when I say that? Or immediately go to commercial?
What, wait's a rosin bag ceremony?
We're trying to amplify the drama during cutdown days, so we're borrowing the rose ceremony thing from "The Bachelor." We need to have one today even though it's too early to cut. I figure we can do what we want, given that Bud Selig basically lets us do what we want anyway. Speaking of, I just moved the press box to Hyde Park.
So we're a Bachelor knockoff?
Well, we're a mix of all the great shows. This is just like "Hard Knocks," but with a little "Bachelor" and a sprinkle of "Jersey Shore." Maybe some "American Idol."
All this drama is (bleep) -- kind of like my bullpen last year! Kenny tell me to deal with it. I don't need to stay here. They have to fire me. If they fire me, I still be a rich (bleep).
(Reinsdorf is clutching his side laughing.)
(Glaring at Guillen)
If you know what's good for you, you stay out of White Sox business, Ozzie!
(Everyone looks around in confusion)
(Looks directly at camera, pulls comb out of pocket to brush hair in place.)
Enough bickering. Let's get down to business.
We have a big decision to make here. Do we keep (name redacted), or do we send down (name redacted) in a couple of weeks to the minor league camp? We have our first, er, rosin bag ceremony coming up. (Looks at cameras.) Jerry, I agree. This is kind of awkward having the cameras here. How about I trade this show to the Royals? I think our team is just a few more mediocre Royals short of being a true competitor!
Well, I just think our viewers, I mean, our inner circle here in this completely private, off-the-cuff chat, should know more about each player's strengths and weaknesses so they feel like they're part of the team. Not just a fan who pays a lot of money for tickets, tchotchkes, two-foot-long meatball subs and whatnot. This is about expanding the Sox brand so we can afford to pay for any more of your waiver wire spending sprees.
(Cut to confessional room. Williams sits in front of the camera.)
I hate when Jerry makes light of my pickup of Alex Rios. Once he learned how to text, I was getting that sad-face emoticon every time Rios struck out last year. It's really hurting my feelings. I barely have time to fleece other GMs or have contempt for the things I usually have contempt for.
(Cut back to Ozzie's office. Gordon Beckham enters.)
What's going on?
Look who it is, the tow-headed future of our franchise. Hello, young man. I'm glad you came by. We like to hear our players' input before we make any moves.
(Expletive) no. Go to the Circle K and get me another coffee and one of those magazines I like.
Sure thing, Skip.
(Beckham exits into confessional room.)
I'm getting tired of running Ozzie's errands. I thought I wouldn't have to do it this year, but he said that because I didn't win Rookie of the Year, I'm technically still a rookie. It's not my fault I didn't win. The team tried to market me with Jayson Nix and Chris Getz!
(Cut back to Ozzie's office.)
Are we done yet? I've got a golf match with Freddy and some Twitters to answer.
We still have to decide who gets the rosin bag tomorrow.
(Expletive) Fire A.J. I don't care. It's like the first week of camp. Most of these guys are horse(bleep). I've more important things to do. My Twitter account is red-hot, and I am (bleep) popular. I haven't been this excited since
You got hired here? Beat the Astros? Traded for Juan Pierre? What? I'm actually excited. Please tell me.
When was the last time Ozzie was this excited? Which player will the Sox cut from the team? What crazy shenanigans will this ragtag bunch get into next?
Tune in next week for the bleeping answer.
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
Here's a sneak peek at an episode of the White Sox's reality show.