From the opening of Marlins Park, to the arrival of Ozzie Guillen, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Carlos Zambrano, there’s never been a more anticipated season in Marlins history.

And for Marlins fans, there’s never been a better way to go behind-the-scenes and get an insider’s perspective on life with the club than “The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins.”

The Showtime series, which debuts July 11, is produced by MLB Productions in concert with Major League Baseball and the club.  And for those eager for a sneak peak, Showtime airs a special preview episode tonight at 9.

Trust me: You’re going to want to see it. And I’m told tonight’s episode actually runs a few minutes long, so you’d be smart to set your DVR to record an extra 5 minutes.

For those who missed the first season of “The Franchise,” which followed the San Francisco Giants as they defended their 2010 World Series title, this is DEFINITELY a show worth watching.

Gary Waksman, Senior Producer of Original Entertainment for MLB Productions, is Supervising Producer of “The Franchise,” and I’ve been a fan of Gary’s work for years, since I first met him as he chronicled the Red Sox’ run to the 2004 World Series championship for MLB Productions and for the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary he directed, “Four Nights in October.” His stuff is tremendous.

Here’s how he describes “The Franchise”:

“It’s an up-close and in-depth perspective on a baseball team from inside the bubble looking out.  Throughout the years, baseball fans and sports fans in general want to be on the inside. They want to know what it’s like to be inside that clubhouse, to be part of the camaraderie, to be a part of the speeches to be as close to the action as they possibly can. To be that 26th man or woman on the bench.

“It also has a human-interest perspective it’s about the characters. It’s not just about the wins and losses. It’s beyond that. There are extra layers. Players, families, off the field, executives. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of great characters and storylines. The objective is to just bring it all to life.

The beauty about sports is it’s the ultimate unscripted drama, and that’s why people love it.”

And as for why MLB and Showtime chose the Marlins:

“This was as close to a no-brainer as you could possibly get.  The new stadium, the characters involved. It was just a perfect storm of elements, something that no one could say no to.”

While Gary and his crew have been hard at work since before the start of Spring Training, the series itself is constantly evolving.

“It’s never what you expect. There are a lot of storylines. There are some things that no one could have foreseen with this ballclub already. You can account for certain things, but there are a lot of moving parts. The season is a marathon, and part of the marathon is you have people jumping to the forefront of that run every day, and it’s our job to determine which stories are best on a daily basis.”

When the show debuts in July, each episode will be an hour. Tonight’s preview will last almost 35 minutes.

Here’s a trailer.

Set your DVR. This is going to be a lot of fun, and it promises to be incredibly interesting…just like this team.

For more on the Marlins, follow me on Twitter @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please “Follow” the blog above. And you can catch Marlins play-by-play on the radio all season long on 790 The Ticket and the Marlins Radio Network.


The preview episode is not tonight at 9p. On my guide it says it’s at 12p, now in an hour.

It was last night at 9. Must be re-airing today.

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