Showtime to feature Marlins on 'The Franchise'

Showtime to feature Marlins on 'The Franchise'

MIAMI -- Selling the Marlins on becoming the spotlight team of Showtime's reality-TV show "The Franchise" wasn't that difficult.

"We were approached," Marlins president David Samson said. "And they had me at hello."

Rebranded and reborn as the Miami Marlins, the organization has undergone a complete transformation. The Marlins have relocated to their retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami. They've changed their logo and uniforms, upgraded their roster and hired one of the game's most entertaining managers in Ozzie Guillen.

"If we want to be dominating in Latin America, and we want to be a force in this game and around the league, it doesn't just happen on the field, it happens off as well," Samson said. "It's been 10 years of struggle in that. All of this happening in our re-launch year is the perfect time."

The Marlins become the second team profiled on "The Franchise." A year ago, Showtime gave an inside look at the San Francisco Giants, who were coming off their World Series championship year.

"We have no Brian Wilsons on the team," slugger Mike Stanton said. "But we've got some characters. We've got some guys. We'll see how it is."

There is certainly plenty of personality on the club, with the additions of All-Stars Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano.

Cameras will have access to meetings, the clubhouse and pretty much everyplace the Marlins will be, starting with their arrival at Spring Training in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 22.

"Miami is not only one of the most sexy and cosmopolitan cities in the country, but has become one of the best sports towns as well," said David Nevins, president of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. "'The Franchise' has worked for us because it appeals to both the hardcore sports fan as well as audiences interested in compelling unscripted drama. A newly rebuilt Miami Marlins franchise full of big player personalities, and led by the larger-than-life Ozzie Guillen, are an ideal team for season two of 'The Franchise.'"

After spending 19 years as the Florida Marlins, and sharing a football stadium with the Miami Dolphins, the Marlins now are branching out, locally, nationally and internationally.

"Any time you can give fans unique access to what we do [it's good]," Samson said. "We're in the entertainment industry, and we have a lot of fun. We think it's some interesting TV.

"From a distraction point, distraction is not really a word in our vocabulary. Ozzie is our manager, and the team we have and the new ballpark, we are a working distraction. It's up to our players to get past it, our front office to get past it. We realize we need to win on the field."

Guillen is a no-holds-barred manager, who pledges not to change when the cameras are rolling.

"Mr. Samson asked me if I had any problems with it," Guillen said. "I said, 'I'm not going to change, no matter who is there.' I don't expect anything different. I am not going to manage the game differently or be a different person because I have cameras around me."

Shortly after the Marlins were approached to do the series, team officials met with catcher John Buck, the team's player representative. They also spoke with others on the club, getting their approval.

After years of playing before sparse crowds, the players welcome the attention.

"We're the greatest show on dirt, that's what it is -- with the new players we got in," first baseman Gaby Sanchez said. "We've got a new manager, who is very adamant. He's out there talking. We've got Zambrano, Reyes. We've got so many new guys coming in. That makes the team better and people are going to want to watch us.

"You see, just walking around Miami, all these Miami Marlins hats and shirts. You never saw that before. Now everybody is real interested in the season."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.