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Troy O'Leary Needs a Reality Show?

Former Red Sox outfielder Troy O'Leary was always an interesting character. Often Nearly always overshadowed by the likes of John Valentin, Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, O'Leary seemed happy to sit in the shadows and wait to pounce, whether on a pitch or an open situation.

Well, he sees the lack of a true baseball reality show as an opening, and he's taking advantage of it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his show -- "Play Big or Go Home" -- is only in its initial "shopping" phase. Yet almost inexplicably, there seems to be earnest enthusiasm about getting the show made somewhere, despite overreaching plot threads that try to connect "love stories" to baseball talent evaluation.

No, we're not making any of this up.

"We believe in the show and the concept," O'Leary told the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. "We believe people will watch and it will be interesting. It combines baseball and life. It shows you how much a kid will do to make it. How much they'll do for that one shot to live their dream."

There's only one problem: A stripped down version of this show already exists for a different sport. Sueno MLS found and discovered Chivas USA and U.S. under-20 star Jorge Flores during its inaugural campaign, and it's berthed the career of more than one player since then, as well. The difference is that, unlike O'Leary's souped-up version, Sueno focuses solely on talent in undiscovered players, regardless of age.

That means that O'Leary is banking his show's success on the concept that baseball fans are more attuned to melodrama than soccer fans. Give the flopping in the Italian game alone, that seems like more than a stretch.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but of all the things you can say about baseball fans, the concept that they're stats and performance focused rises to the top of the list. Trying to manufacture artificial drama by regionalizing talent and drumming up romantic plot lines is like trying to add MTV to ESPNews. The last time I checked, that didn't go over too well the first time.

Maybe I'll be wrong, and to be honest, I kind of hope I am. Troy O'Leary always seemed like a nice player. This just doesn't seem like a nice idea.

By Cameron Smith  |  May 12, 2009; 4:38 PM ET
Categories:  Red Sox  
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