With some unexpected free time on their hands, players, coaches and broadcasters across Major League Baseball are passing the time the same way as many of us — by binge-watching their favorite shows.
Whether it’s revisiting a tried-and-true classic or catching up on something that seemingly everyone else has already seen, here are some binge-watching recommendations from players, managers and other club personnel from all 30 big league teams.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Ben Wagner, broadcaster — Bloodline, Breaking Bad, Billions (and more): “Bloodline has it all! Family drama and power struggles, great hooks, cliffhangers and ‘What the?!’ moments. Breaking Bad, I was behind the times with this one, but once I started, I was the one addicted. When it ramps up in season three or so, you can’t stop watching it. Billions is everything you love to hate about the elite and how and why they hold their power. A cat-and-mouse chase between good and greed — and, in recent news, parallels to today’s global issues.”
Honorable mention: Mad Men, West Wing, Nip Tuck, Ozark, Mr. Selfridge, Downton Abbey, Scandal, House of Cards
Sig Mejdal, assistant GM for analytics — Sunderland ‘Til I Die, Tiger King: After cruising through Tiger King, the viral sensation miniseries starring Joe Exotic, Mejdal has turned to Sunderland Until I Die to get his sports fix. The Netflix documentary chronicles the English soccer club Sunderland F.C’s relegation from the English Football League (EFL) Championship.
“It is so good,” Medjal said. “It shows so much of what is right — and wrong — with sports. It is impossible not to feel for their uber-passionate fans as they, and you, endure their failures. I’m just starting season two now. This is a great way to get your sports fix in during these times, with plenty of real life thrown in.”
Brian O’Grady, utility — Peaky Blinders: This gangster drama follows the exploits of a crime family in England in the immediate aftermath of World War I.
Honorable mention: Hell on Wheels, Breaking Bad
Michael Chavis, INF — The Office: Steve Carell and John Krasinski star in this mockumentary sitcom that followed the employees of a fictional paper comany in Scranton, Pa., for nine seasons from 2005-13.
“Obviously, I’m a huge fan of The Office,” Chavis said. “If you haven’t seen it, grind through the first few episodes of the first season to truly understand the characters, and you’ll fall in love.”
Aaron Judge, RF — Tiger King, Ozark: “I’m all over the map. I started with Tiger King. Everybody’s been talking about that Joe Exotic, man. I was hooked for a while. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Ozark; I just started season three. We’re getting to the good stuff, man. Everybody keeps telling me season three is where more twists and turns come. I ain’t ready for it — my anxiety is already through the roof.”
Oscar Mercado, OF — Prison Break, Money Heist: Prison Break is an action drama that revolves around a pair of brothers, one of whom is sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. The other brother hatches a plan — one that involves getting sent to prison himself — to rescue his sibling. As for Money Heist, this two-season drama focuses on a criminal mastermind who assembles an All-Star team of sorts to help him pull off the biggest heist of all time.
Whit Merrifield, utility player — Locke and Key: Asked what show he would recommend fans binge watch in the absence of baseball, Merrifield quipped: “The 2010 College World Series.”
Merrifield won the 2010 title for South Carolina with a walk-off hit, but his actual binge-watch recommendation was Locke and Key, described as an American supernatural horror drama based on a comic book series with the same name.
Niko Goodrum, utility player — Ozark: Though Goodrum said he is primarily splitting his time between exercising and playing video games (including a lot of Call of Duty), he added that he just started season two of Ozark, a thrilling crime drama series starring Jason Bateman.
Ron Gardenhire, manager — Let’s Make a Deal, Price is Right: The manager joked with WXYT-FM that he enjoys the daily morning game shows, “then I actually move off of my couch.”
Matt Manning, SP — The Office: Manning wore custom-made spikes to last year’s Futures Game that featured several characters from the long-running mockumentary sitcom. In true binge-watching fashion, Manning said last year that he’d run through all of the show’s episodes seven or eight times each.
Mitch Garver, C — Better Call Saul, The Masked Singer: It comes as no surprise that Garver points out that the fifth season of Better Call Saul is currently airing on AMC. Like its award-winning predecessor, Breaking Bad, the show is set in Garver’s hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., where he also attended the University of New Mexico from 2010-13.
Also on Garver’s mind? The Masked Singer. For those inclined toward video games, Garver would also like to direct fans to his Twitch.tv channel, where he was excited to use the new gaming computer setup built for him this spring by one of the clubhouse attendants. (Just don’t tell Trevor May.)
Jason Benetti, broadcaster — McMillions, Curb Your Enthusiasm: McMillions is a documentary miniseries from HBO that detailed the Monopoly game scam by McDonald’s from 1989-2001.
“For a kid who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s, the fraudulent Monopoly game at McDonald’s is a really compelling topic,” Benetti said. “It’s an awesome series. You should watch it.”
Benetti also enjoys Curb Your Enthusiasm, “even though Larry David is super awkward.”
Lucas Giolito, SP — Curb Your Enthusiasm: Like Benetti, Giolito is a fan of the comedy starring Seinfield co-creator Larry David. Giolito has introduced his wife, Ariana, to the show during this break. In a recent interview on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, an amused Giolito said he has no intention of opening any “Spite Stores,” which is a line understood by anyone who watched the latest season of Curb.
Joe Maddon, manager — The Office, MLB Network: Maddon loves The Office and often quotes Steve Carell’s character, Michael Scott, during his meetings with the media. One of his favorite things to say is: “To quote Michael Scott, it’s alllll goooood.” Maddon also said he’s been watching plenty of MLB Network.
“MLB Network has been great,” Maddon said. “I watched [a show] on the 1983 season. I played with and knew a lot of those guys. I watched the [George Brett] pine-tar game and Buddy Black was pitching, so I had to text him.”
Mickey Callaway, pitching coach — Tiger King: Callaway watched this wacky viral documentary with his wife, but said he wouldn’t let his two daughters watch it — and he added that the show gave him nightmares.
Alex Bregman, 3B — Love is Blind: This reality series attempts to help people find a match and fall in love, without seeing each other face-to-face.
Lance McCullers Jr., SP — Schitt’s Creek: McCullers recommended this Canadian sitcom featuring a wealthy couple that suddenly finds itself completely broke, but added: “I would plug in any game console you have and play some video games!”
Geoff Blum, former player and current broadcaster — The Man in the High Castle: Blum suggested fans check out this drama series that focuses on what the world might look like in an alternate reality had World War II turned out differently. He added, via text: “Through the course of trying to figure out what to do with all this time on my hands, I decided to go through some of my old equipment and news clippings. Found a couple of my old hitting videos and decided to watch ’em, #GloryDays.”
Jesús Luzardo, SP — Ozark, Money Heist, Tiger King: “I’ve been watching Ozark and Money Heist. Tiger King intrigues me to see someone so out there and not care what anyone thinks. I wake up and work out as much as I can, then it’s pretty much just Netflix and video games (FIFA 20 and Call of Duty) all day.”
Marco Gonzales, SP — Explained: This Netflix series takes an in-depth look at topics, questions and ideas that aren’t typically covered by daily news outlets.
“It’s a bunch of different episodes on random and interesting topics,” Gonzales said. “Plus, they’re only 20 minutes long.”
Nick Solak, OF — Narcos: This crime drama series, which is set and filmed in Colombia, chronicles the life of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, as well as the billionaire’s interactions with drug lords and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), among others.
National League East
Mike Soroka, SP — Peaky Blinders: “It’s a show that is so well acted throughout and one that takes a step back from all the sci-fi, futuristic shows that have been airing lately.”
Matt Kemp, OF — Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, New Amsterdam: A spin-off of the original Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, or “SVU,” is a drama centered around a group of New York City detectives. New Amsterdam, meanwhile, is a drama that follows a doctor who plays by his own rules to help patients after becoming the medical director at America’s oldest public hospital.
Honorable mention: The Good Doctor, The Resident
Seth Lugo, RP — The Office: “I love the stupid, awkward stuff.”
Sean Doolittle, LHP — Parasite, Knives Out: Parasite, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture this past February, is a Korean-language dark comedy thriller that follows a poor family who schemes to become employed in the household of a wealthy family. Knives Out is a whodunit film centered around a detective’s investigation of a family after the mysterious death of its patriarch.
Honorable mention: 1917
Mike Rizzo, general manager — Rocky, Major League, Miracle: Rocky is a classic sports drama centered around a small-time boxer who gets a shot at the heavyweight championship of the world. Major League, another sports movie, is a comedy that follows the trials and tribulations of a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians. Lastly, Miracle recounts the United States men’s ice hockey team’s historic upset of the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Andrew Knapp, C — Formula 1: Drive to Survive, Schitt’s Creek, The Office: Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a documentary series that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Formula 1 auto racing.
Christian Yelich, OF — 24: This action drama is centered around counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer’s efforts to protect America by any means necessary. Each season follows 24 hours in Bauer’s life, and episodes take place over the course of one hour, with events depicted as they happen in real time.
Paul DeJong, SS — True Detective, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Entourage: “I’m more into Parks and Rec lately than I am The Office, because it’s funnier, and it’s more Midwest, which I like,” said DeJong, who grew up in Illinois and has family in Wisconsin. “I can always just put on The Office or Parks and Rec whenever I’m cooking or something.”
Jason Heyward, OF — Westworld, See, Truth Be Told, Handmaid’s Tale, Black-ish: “We just started on Westworld. I think we’re on season two,” Heyward said in a recent interview on ESPN 1000. “What’s it called, See — that’s a good one with Aquaman, Jason Momoa. That’s a good one. Truth Be Told is awesome on Apple TV+, that’s a cool one. Handmaid’s Tale is also crazy. There’s a lot of different stuff going on in those, man. And also, Black-ish. Black-ish is a good one for families — it’s light-hearted, it’s funny, it’s got daily issues throughout the world and the country and also just something you see in any family home.”
Jameson Taillon, SP — Entourage, The League, Portlandia, The Good Place, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Schitt’s Creek: Taillon is always in the middle of one show or another — he was watching the second season of Bloodline on Netflix when he got the call to the Majors in 2016, and he burned through Schitt’s Creek during his career-best ‘18 season — which explains why he couldn’t narrow down his list.
“How do you really pick just one, though?” he asked.
Derek Shelton, manager — Tiger King: Shelton acknowledged recently that he, like many across the country, binge-watched the seven-episode Netflix series that turned Joe Exotic into a household name.
Jesse Winker, OF — Bad Blood: “It’s a gangster show. I love gangster stuff, so it’s right down my alley. If anybody has any other suggestions, throw them my way.”
Mike Ferrin, pre- and post-game host — Tiger King: “The biggest upset of the series is that the whole thing doesn’t take place in Florida,” Ferrin said. “Never before has there been a collection of absurd personalities quite like this. And every time you think the documentary couldn’t get any weirder or have a more bizarre turn, well, it does. Not appropriate for kids, but definitely worth watching for parents right before bed.”
Steve Berthiaume, broadcaster — The Crown: “The dialogue, the attention to historic detail and the engaging character development using multiple sets of actors over different generations makes this my most engaging binge watch. Not just the Windsors, but multiple British political and historical figures. Beautifully produced and very compelling. I really enjoy Downton Abbey for much the same reason.”
Will Smith, C — Ozark, The Sinner, Little Fires Everywhere: Ozark is a thrilling crime drama series starring Jason Bateman, whose character relocates his family after a money-laundering scheme takes a turn for the worse. The Sinner, meanwhile, is a suspenseful crime drama that follows detective Harry Ambrose as he works through mysterious cases. As for Little Fires Everywhere, the miniseries drama — based on the book by the same title — stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
Wilmer Flores, INF — Friends: No surprise here, considering Flores has used the classic show’s theme song as his walk-up music for several years. This one shouldn’t need much description, but for those that have yet to give it a shot, the sitcom centers around six friends living in New York City.
“I still watch it,” Flores said. “Before I go to bed. Whenever I take a shower, I’m just listening.”
Wil Myers, OF — The Office: “I’ve watched The Office over 10 times, and each time I find something funny that I’ve missed before. Michael Scott is the single best character in any show.”
Ryan McMahon, 2B — Money Heist, Narcos, QB1: “My big recommendation is Money Heist. Definitely not a show for kids, but my fiancé and I watched it in about two weeks. It’s a cool storyline of a bank robbery in the Mint of Spain. I also really like all the Narcos shows on Netflix, and QB1 was a cool show if you’re into high school football. It follows some big-time quarterbacks around for their senior year of high school before they become stars at the next level.”