TWIB focuses on Reds' fast start
Cincy's vets and rooks look to dethrone the Cardinals
Few teams were as hot as the Cincinnati Reds in May, as they climbed into a fight with the St. Louis Cardinals atop the National League Central.
While the Reds boast one of the league's most potent offenses, "This Week in Baseball" will take a look at some of the other factors behind the Reds' 2010 success.
Airing on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, TWIB will open with a look into the infield chemistry between Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera and second baseman Brandon Phillips. While Cabrera is in his first year with Cincinnati, he and Phillips have combined to lead one of the most reliable defenses in the Majors.
TWIB put microphones on both Cabrera and Phillips during a game to see how they work together and interact on the field and in the dugout.
"We thought it would be a great opportunity to get them together in the same game, both with a wire, and it was," lead producer Matt Anderton said. "We have some good conversations between the two of them during the game -- they're always talking -- so it's kind of a fun insider-access-type piece to start off the show."
The segment will emphasize the chemistry needed to turn two, while, later in the show in the MLB Network "Diamond Demos" segment from the studio, Harold Reynolds and former Reds star Barry Larkin will break down the footwork and other techniques necessary for successfully turning double plays.
After featuring Cabrera and Phillips, TWIB will focus on a pair of Reds starting pitchers. Veteran Bronson Arroyo and rookie Mike Leake have formed a close bond in Leake's short time with the Reds, leading to some interesting pregame rituals.
"Leake stays at Arroyo's house nights of his starts," Anderton said. "It started with a place to stay at first, Arroyo was like, 'Hey, come crash at my place.' So it was just kind of like the relationship they've built, which is also a ritual they've done."
Cameras followed Leake and Arroyo, capturing everything from playing ping-pong to hanging around downtown in Cincinnati to Arroyo playing music.
Leake will start his 11th game Saturday at Washington, and the 2009 first round pick is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA after pulling off the rare feat of skipping the Minors.
Following the segments on current Reds players, TWIB will take a look back at one of the most famous teams of all time: the 1975 Big Red Machine.
The Reds beat the Red Sox in seven games in one of the most famous World Series of all time, and players such as Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez will offer their perspectives on the team and their favorite memories.
In the final Reds piece, "Going All Out" will profile center fielder Drew Stubbs. TWIB has footage from Stubbs' days at the University of Texas -- where he was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award in 2006 -- and Stubbs will take viewers through the process of getting to the big leagues, from college to the Minors to becoming an established everyday player in the Majors.
The show will also include several regular segments, including great players and bloopers for the week in How 'Bout That, Gillette Rookies, XM Call of the Week, Holiday Inn Winning Road Trips, State Farm Big League Blast and One A Day Step Up To The Plate.
TWIB can be seen on video boards in stadiums, as well as internationally in Australia, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Japan, Latin America, Middle East, The Netherlands, Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama and Taiwan.
Viewers can e-mail the show at firstname.lastname@example.org, and can check out the Web site, MLBProductions.com, for original blogs and bonus footage.
Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.