Tomorrow is the first broadcast of FOX's Saturday Game Of The Week at 3:30pm EST. Normally, this game is preceded by This Week In Baseball. But if you look at tomorrow's TV listing, there is a new show called MLB Player Poll which will be debuting before the game. It is described as "a teen-oriented magazine offering debates on timely topics".
Did This Week In Baseball get cancelled? I checked the TV listings and the schedule to try and find it, but I couldn't. I then went to the Internet and couldn't find anything in the news, but I did find this press release from MLB.com.
There was also this tidbit from the Radio & Television Business Report website:
Major League Baseball Productions has created a new series, MLB Player Poll, which will air on Fox each Saturday at 3:00 pm ET (or at noon on certain weekends) during the 2012 regular season. The 30-minute series will debut April 7th.
Who is the toughest pitcher in the league to hit right now? The most intimidating hitter? Which outfielder has the strongest arm? How about the most over-used baseball cliché?
Those are the sort of questions to be answered – and by the players themselves. Hosted by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and presented by Pepsi, each episode will answer one of these questions using an entertaining and educational countdown format that features interviews with current players. The results of each week’s poll will be culled from surveys taken by hundreds of current players this season.
FOX had been airing This Week In Baseball since 2000. Prior to that, it was in syndication from 1977-1998. The show took a one-year absence after '98 before returning to FOX in 2000. Personally, I felt like the show never was the same after the death of longtime host Mel Allen in 1996.
Still, I grew up with this show and have so many fond memories of Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching it before the Cubs game on WGN. I still get goosebumps watching the old shows from the '70s and '80s and hearing the closing theme, "Gathering Crowds". It brings back so many great moments of playing catch outside and Wiffle Ball with my neighborhood friends as we'd try to imitate the players in slo-mo from the closing credits of TWIB. Now, that is gone.
To be fair, the world has changed and when This Week In Baseball debuted in 1977, there was no ESPN, no MLB Network or Internet. TWIB was the only show of its kind until ESPN debuted in 1979. Still, it maintained a popular following and relevance within the baseball fanbase. However, in recent years it has became less highlight-driven and more personalized. Instead of doing breakdowns of how each team was doing, This Week In Baseball was doing cover stories on certain individual players like Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Albert Pujols. I'm not sure how the ratings were or what the show's popularity was, but I personally wasn't a big fan of the new TWIB. So, I can understand why FOX might have chosen to cancel it. That being said, I still think that it's a shame that there was no press release or announcement from MLB that This Week In Baseball was cancelled. How about that? Thoughts?