Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's Your Baseball IQ? The MLB Network Will Help You Out

It is hard to put into words the excitement I felt when I saw that the MLB Network was debuting a new show called Baseball IQ.  A show that pits fans of actual teams against each other for a 30 minute baseball trivia brawl?  I was in.  I set the DVR and guarded the remote control like I do during the World Series.  Nothing was going to get in the way of me and a baseball trivia show--except for putting a kid down to sleep.  Thank God for giving humans the ability to invent aforementioned DVR.  By the way, has anyone taken notice of who still has a Super Bowl pick playing?

So how was Baseball IQ?  Not that bad. There are some kinks to be worked out, but if you're a fan of the game and want to chill on the couch for an hour, it's not a terrible way to pass the time.  Two players--each representing an MLB team--square off against each other for 9 innings.  The game consists of 8 categories, with each category making up an inning.  Each category's answer is a list of some sort and the contestants go back and forth trying to name a player or team on the list.  First contestant to miss loses the inning.  The other contestant gets a certain amount of runs depending on...nevermind, it doesn't matter.  Anyway, the 9th inning category is kept a secret until the game gets to the 9th inning.  The contestants are given a chance to bid on how many answers they can get correct, Name-That-Tune style.  If the player that wins the bidding gets all his answers, he wins that amount of runs.  If he doesn't, his opponent gets the runs.  The person with the most runs wins.

The thing I immediately liked about Baseball IQ was the fact that the contestants weren't fans.  They work in the front office for the team they represent.  Of the four guys tonight, 3 worked in statistical analysis and the other worked in PR.  I also enjoyed that there were a lot of questions about recent history.  It was a little awkward watching two guys who looked like they were younger than 30 try to guess Hall of Famers in the 1971 All-Star Game, especially when one guy's first guess was Pete Rose (yeah, for reals).

But for my money, the best thing about the show is when the players miss an answer and they get a close up for what seems like an eternity.  Lots of unintentional comedy.  You know how The Price Is Right has producers scan the crowd for potential contestants that would be great on tv?  Baseball IQ didn't do that.  These contestants weren't terrible on tv, and I suppose that a show with no studio audience, only 3 people on set, and with trivia as the subject matter doesn't have much to work with, but there wasn't much energy on set.

That was probably the biggest drawback of Baseball IQ.  There's just not much energy.  But like I said, the subject matter kind of lends itself to that.  The other thing about the show is that it is a little lame when the contestants have a list of 20 players/teams and they can't come up with a single one.  It's not very dramatic.  The questions aren't necessarily easy, but there is low hanging fruit on every question.

Baseball IQ is going through what appears to be a tournament bracket.  The winner of each round continues on, and there are 32 contestants in total.  I'm not sure which two MLB teams get a couple of extra representatives.

But since I'm a baseball junkie and a baseball nerd, I will be watching again the next time it airs, which I think is tomorrow.  Did you watch Baseball IQ, and if so, what did you think?


  1. The 2 extra contestants will be one from and the other representing the Hall of Fame

  2. any idea where it can be watched online? I have a family member who is a participant and I would love to watch him but I am out of the country.

    1. Not sure if they show entire episodes, but check out for information.

    2. I looked for them, but couldn't find anything. One site gave me a note that there are no legal episodes available online. What team did your family member represent?