To take a page from It’s Primetime Somewhere, I want to review the MLB Network’s new game show, Baseball IQ. It premiered earlier this week and features representatives from two teams going head to head answering questions about baseball, both past and present. The two players play for pride of their organization and for a $5,000 contribution to the charity of the organization’s choice.
The show begins with a “Lead-off Home Run,” a single question worth one run in which the first contestant to ring in and answer correctly gets the first point. The host, former San Diego Padres announcer Matt Vasgersian, then reveals the eight categories from which the players choose. The categories represent innings, with the ninth inning acting as the final round.
Each inning is worth one run initially, but can increase in value depending on how many correct answers the contestants give before an incorrect answer. Categories can include just about anything, ranging from the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry to naming the players who have played over 20 years with one team. As further incentive, each player gets one chance at a “Big Inning,” in which a contestant can elect to risk the runs he/she has just earned and try to add 3 more runs to the current inning by listing off four more correct answers. This can only happen after his/her opponent has provided an incorrect answer.
After eight innings, the players receive the final category, and enter a bidding war which decides who answers the final question. As an example, with the category “MVPs in the 21st century,” the players go back and forth saying how many MVPs in the 21st century that they believe they can provide. Once one contestant calls the other’s wager, the final round begins. If the contestant cannot provide as many correct answers as he/she claimed, then they lose. If the player calls the bid, then they win.
Overall, I think the show is pretty good. It is still working out its kinks, but is a fun way to test random baseball knowledge. The final round is probably the most interesting part; it involves strategy and the ability to get away with a bluff. The biggest problem is the realm of categories; although they span across baseball history, some of the questions are very specific and difficult. However, I’m sure the show will find its groove over time and provide baseball fans with a challenging test of baseball knowledge.