By far the most important story of the day is this: according to a Survivor rumors site, former All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent is on the cast for the next season of the reality show, which will be set in the Philippines.
The news has been met with several internet posts making some version of this joke: “If you’re one of the few people who still watches Survivor…” Well, I watch it so this is fantastic news.
When it comes to the Survivor franchise, I’m totally backwards. I never watched a minute of the show in its early years, when it seemed like everyone was tuning in. I was against reality shows back then (even though I shamelessly watched The Real World for the first several seasons) and I’m naturally skeptical when it comes to entertainment trends the entire nation seems to be into. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve never watched American Idol.
Then I met my future wife, and she had always watched the show with her dad (who has sent tapes to CBS in hopes of landing a spot on the show several times, but that’s another story). They had a pool in place where they’d pick certain cast members, with the person who chooses the winner (or, the “Ultimate Survivor”) winning a dinner made by the other family members. I was hesitant at first, but the fantasy sports aspect intrigued me so I gave Survivor a shot (also, Liz let me know that I had no choice).
Now, I watch every episode and love it. I love how there’s at least one player per season who seems dead set on breaking the record for televised stupidity. I love how host Jeff Probst effortlessly treads the line between snark and cheese. The show isn’t perfect by any means, but rooting for certain players to make it through each week more than keeps my interest — it’s the one bit of programming besides sports that causes me to cheer from my couch or hurl the remote control into the nearest pillow.
However, the last season of Survivor wasn’t one of their best. Once Colton — the flamboyant racist who seemed more than slightly evil — left due to some medical issue, the show was dead in the water. B-O-R-I-N-G.
With Kent around, that shouldn’t be a problem. As Grant Brisbee wrote: “Over/under on when he throws or receives his punch: three minutes before filming begins.” Generally Survivor starts with the cast divided into two separate tribes. If Barry Bonds is somehow included in either tribe, I’m taking the under.
A few other things I’m looking forward to seeing:
— We’ve seen enough obstacle courses on Survivor. It’s time for a truck-washing competition.
— If his team loses a challenge, I dare one of his tribemates to advise Kent to “enjoy the game more.”
— Kent’s known almost as much for his moustache as his career achievements (377 home runs, NL MVP in 2000, career .855 OPS). If he sticks around long enough, that moustache will be joined by a beard.
— Will Kent mention his playing career, or will any of the other players recognize him? Forget Kent’s prickly personality (perhaps no one else in the history of baseball has been more synonymous with the term “redass”), I’m not sure how many people are going to vote for Kent to win a million dollars since he pulled down over $86 million during his MLB career.