The Baseball Bunch is an American instructional youngsters’s tv collection that initially aired in broadcast syndication from August 23, 1980 by means of the autumn of 1985. Produced by Major League Baseball Productions, the collection was a 30-minute baseball-themed program airing on Saturday mornings, which featured a mix of comedy sketches and Major League guest-stars, meant to supply tutorial tricks to Little League aged youngsters.
During its run, The Baseball Bunch was nicely acquired by youngsters and adults alike. Throughout its 5 years on the air, the collection received a number of Emmy Awards for excellent achievement in particular programming, a gold medal from the International Film and Tape Festival in New York, and an award from Action for Children’s Television, in addition to receiving an endorsement from the National Education Association. In its time, the collection additionally spawned a fan membership, (often called The Baseball Bunch “Fun Club”), which younger followers of the present may be part of for a payment of $4.99. Members acquired a “membership certificates”, a Baseball Bunch T-shirt and wrist-bands, a full-size colour poster of “The Bunch”, and The Baseball Bunch “Fun Book”, which included colour images and biographies of Bench, Lasorda and the children, puzzles, sheet music and lyrics for the present’s theme music, and a comic book strip often called “The Baseball Bunchies”.
The Baseball Bunch aired in broadcast syndication, with native stations carrying the unique run of the collection from the spring of 1981 by means of the autumn of 1985. During this time, the collection additionally aired nationally on the essential cable community WTBS and later, in reruns on ESPN.
With the uncommon exception of the occasional “Best Of” episode (which had been composed of clips of earlier episodes), most each episode featured a well known guest-star from the Major Leagues introduced in to mentor the youngsters of their specific discipline of experience and included many future Hall of Famers. Some of the Major League guest-stars to seem on the collection embrace, in alphabetical order:
Throughout the present’s five-season run, the collection featured a rotating forged of eight youngsters who starred as “The Bunch”, normally ranging in age from eight to 14. As the children entered adolescence and outgrew their roles, they’d get replaced by youthful youngsters nearer in age to the audience. Linda Coslett (“Kate”, season 1) mentioned of her time on the collection, “I used to be eleven (when the present began). I turned twelve really through the month of February, through the filming, and I used to be on (the present) for one yr. […] As you realize, girls get mature throughout these years and (by the second season) I did not appear to be just a little woman anymore, in order that they wished to go together with any individual that was youthful wanting.” Erik Lee (“Rick”, seasons 1–4) mentioned of his run on the collection, “I used to be all of twelve years outdated once I began with The Baseball Bunch. I stayed with The Bunch for 4 unbelievable years, till my voice modified and I used to be taller than Johnny Bench.” With a rotating forged that included new youngsters each season, solely three children appeared as “Bunch” team-members for all 5 seasons; Stacy Blythe (“Michelle”), Jared Holland (“Sam”) and Danny Santa Cruz (“Louie”, typically credited as “Luis”). The youngsters who appeared as “The Bunch” team-members at one time or one other through the present’s five-season run are, in alphabetical order:
The collection starred Johnny Bench because the coach to a fictional baseball group of eight little league aged youngsters often called “The Baseball Bunch”. The ninth team-member was “The San Diego Chicken” (performed by Ted Giannoulas) who served as a comic book foil to Bench as he would try to mentor the youngsters. Each episode was divided into two segments. The first section featured a present or former Major League participant demonstrating a baseball elementary to the youngsters (e.g., studying to pitch inside a hitters’ strike zone) in addition to the youngsters’s typically humorous makes an attempt to mimic the star. The Major League guest-stars would additionally serve to steer the youngsters away from what not to do (e.g., explaining why a rising youngster mustn’t try to throw a curve ball). The second section featured a skit with “The Dugout Wizard” (performed by Tommy Lasorda), a mystical turban sporting “Swami” character who taught a second baseball elementary (e.g., tips on how to catch a fly ball). This second tutorial section was usually accompanied by a music video (a style then in its embryonic stage), composed of clips of Major League gamers both performing the act or failing at it-for occasion, the episode which featured knuckleballer Phil Niekro mentions how tough a knuckleball might be to catch and confirmed a number of clips of pissed off catchers attempting to take action. In addition to the technical fundamentals of the sport, the collection would additionally contact on among the psychological challenges children face, together with addressing efficiency anxieties (an adolescent boy’s fears of not being “ok” earlier than an enormous sport) and sportsmanship (a “little league father” criticizing his son unmercifully from the sidelines gently being urged to loosen up and benefit from the sport).
Filming every whole season inside a three-week interval through the month of February would turn into the usual manufacturing apply all through the 5 season run of the collection. Erik Lee (“Rick”, seasons 1–4) recalled, “Each 30-minute episode took mainly a day, so we’d begin early within the morning and simply go all day. […] We would movie for a pair weeks at a time and (whereas filming) we’d get out of college for a pair weeks at a time. It was wonderful.” While the Tucson location was chosen particularly to accommodate the Major League gamers simply previous to spring coaching, segments that includes Lasorda (“The Dugout Wizard”) had been filmed with out him. Linda Coslett (“Kate”, season 1) recalled, “We would fake. We would take a look at this chalk-board that was clean, after which they’d return to Los Angeles and movie it individually with Tommy after which plug him into the present. So Tommy Lasorda was by no means on the set.”, with Erik Lee including, “We by no means met (Lasorda), sadly.” Departing from the standard fall-through-spring tv season, the primary official season of The Baseball Bunch debuted in broadcast syndication on Saturday May 2, 1981, with new episodes airing all through the summer time months on Saturday mornings and/or early afternoons, normally both proper earlier than or proper after the networks’ line-ups of Saturday morning cartoons. Although airing in reruns year-round, the format of debuting every new season within the spring (April or May) and airing new episodes all through the “summer time trip” season was used for all 5 seasons of the present’s unique run.
As preparations for the primary full season started, manufacturing for the collection was moved to Tucson, Arizona to start filming in February 1981. According to a number of cast-members, the placement and time of yr had been chosen for 2 most important causes; citing the perfect climate (70° temperatures in February), and Tucson’s proximity to the Major League’s spring coaching camps, which accommodated the Major League stars who may are available and movie an episode through the month of February, then head instantly over to their camps for spring coaching. Youngsters auditioned to be a part of the unique “Bunch” had been chosen from the Tucson, Arizona Little League in addition to some introduced in from expertise companies as distant as Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. The eight youngsters finally chosen, girls and boys of various ages and ethnicities, had been chosen for his or her “boy/girl-next-door” enchantment, and to mirror the range of the meant viewers, quite than for extraordinary athletic prowess or singing talents (opposite to widespread perception, the eight youngsters who made up “The Bunch” didn’t sing the present’s theme music). In his interview with JustMyShow.com, Giannoulas added, “I believe they kinda had been on the lookout for children that did not have that polished ‘Hollywood’ look to them, that appeared extra actual and (would) come throughout as free and simpler that manner.”
Produced by Major League Baseball Productions, and starring Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench, and Los Angeles Dodgers supervisor Tommy Lasorda, the collection was envisioned as a enjoyable, however informative manner for Little League aged youngsters to study the basics of baseball. The unique pilot for what would turn into The Baseball Bunch was filmed at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles in 1980, and didn’t initially embrace The San Diego Chicken (Ted Giannoulas). In a 2007 interview with JustMyShow.com, Giannoulas recounted how he grew to become a part of the collection, saying “The producers referred to as me up and so they mentioned ‘We wish to shoot this once more. We suppose it is just a little dry for teenagers to be watching this. Loads of good baseball info, however not sufficient colour to it, so are you able to are available and simply improvise round what we have finished, and we’ll re-shoot the entire thing.’ I did that, and abruptly that they had magic within the can, and so they bought the present.” The pilot, starring Bench, Lasorda, and Major League guest-star Steve Garvey, aired as a “particular” presentation on August 23, 1980 (with some stations airing it the subsequent day as an alternative).
Throughout its five-season run, the collection starred Johnny Bench, Tommy Lasorda and The Famous San Diego Chicken alongside a gaggle of eight youngsters (girls and boys ranging in age from 8–14) as “The Bunch”.
The San Diego Chicken
The San Diego Chicken