The Florida Marlins Will Likely Be The Focus Of Next Year’s Showtime Series “The Franchise”

Excellent choice with Logan Morrison, Carlos Zambrano, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Ozzie Guillen all in the same room on a day-to-day basis.  I predict at least one fist fight.  From Variety:

Showtime and Major League Baseball are believed to be close to a deal that would make the Miami Marlins the featured team in the second season of docuseries “The Franchise.”

“The Franchise” embeds cameras with its focus team over a period of months to gain on- and off-field insight.

A year ago, the series followed the San Francisco Giants in the wake of their 2010 World Series title and averaged 651,000 viewers over eight episodes.

In contrast, the Marlins (who changed their name from Florida to Miami over the winter) finished in last place in their division in 2011, but they offer other storylines including a new stadium, a personality-filled new manager in Ozzie Guillen, and established and rising stars in Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Mike Stanton.

Carlos Zambrano, who was traded to Miami after a volatile 10 years with the Chicago Cubs, could also get considerable on-camera play.

This will be fantastic television.

[Variety]

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“Up And Down” – Gen Y Sits Down With Documentary Filmmaker Jeff Camarra

Every basketball fan out there has heard of the D-League.  It’s essentially the minor league to the NBA and its focus is to develop talent so that players might one day reach the NBA level and contribute as players.  But what is the D-League really like?  What does it take for a player to achieve his dream of one day playing in the NBA?  Is it worth it?  These are the types of questions that intrigued filmmaker Jeff Camarra and so he set out to create a documentary about it all.    He eventually was hooked up with aspiring player Trey Johnson (you might remember him from his days at Jackson State where he was consistently among the top ten scorers in the country).  He followed him around for eight straight days this past year in order to put the film together. 

We recently caught up with Jeff to discuss all of it:

Jeff (pictured left) playing some horse with Trey (right)

Generation Y Sports: What was your inspiration for the documentary?

Jeff Camarra (JC):  I’ve loved basketball my entire life and like the guys in the D-League, I dreamed of playing in the NBA. The stories of players coming directly from college and even overseas are common, but I wanted to explore the players who take the less conventional route. Trey had such an impressive resume and was picked by many to be the first player to be called up to the NBA after the D-League Showcase. I thought it would be a great story to document a player on the verge of achieving his dream.

Gen Y: Can you give the readers a brief background on Trey and how you came to meet him?

JC:  After gaining access from the Bakersfield Jam and the NBA, I got Trey’s number from the owner of the Jam. I had to get him to allow me to literally live with him throughout the D-League Showcase. I didn’t know him prior to filming, but I gave him a call. I think he was reluctant at first, mainly as to why I wanted to follow him. Trey had played overseas, with a few NBA summer teams and was the second leading scorer in college. He was the player I wanted to document.

Gen Y: Admittedly I don’t know much about the D-League. The league has a stereotype as a place where everybody just tries to pad their numbers in the hope that it will get them noticed. Is that a fair assessment? How would you describe the league?

JC:  The D-League is a true development league; where developing parts of a player’s game to make him NBA ready is the main goal. I don’t know if padding their stats is truly a fair assessment. The league is a minor league for the NBA, with 20% of the NBA coming from it. The level of play is very high and it’s mainly for guys looking to work on specific areas to make themselves more complete players.

Gen Y:  You’re on record as talking about the sacrifices these guys make in the hope of one day playing in the NBA. Can you give us a short glimpse into some of these and the not-so-glamorous lifestyle these guys have to adopt in order to survive?

JC:  The first day I met Trey he scored 31 points to lead his team in beating one of the best teams in the League. After the game he signed autographs, took pictures and did a few post game interviews. I saw that he was a pretty big name in Bakersfield, CA. After the game, we went back to his apartment and I saw examples of his transient lifestyle. He shared a modest two-bedroom apartment with another player. Aside from a 20’’ TV, single couch and a folding chair, there wasn’t much. Trey simply had a mattress and a stack of clothing in his room. When they traveled, they didn’t get first class amenities. Shortly after takeoff the taller players tried to get into exit aisle seats for the extra legroom.

Jeff joins Trey on