You could combine all of the characters that Hank Azaria voices on The Simpsons and they would not even come near matching the level of disfunction of his character Jim Brockmire (if Moe Szyslak looks better than you, it’s time to evaluate your life). That’s where we find everybody’s favorite/worst baseball announcer at the beginning of Season 4 of Brockmire, which premieres Wednesday, March 18 at 10pm ET on IFC. Even as Brockmire’s professional fortunes have rebounded after his viral meltdown, we’re left wondering whether his personal life has bounced back to the same extent as his career.
The backdrop of the fourth and final season of this show is an ominous look in the future of sports, almost too on the nose now that there are no games being played (that said, there are only so many reruns of SportsCenter you can watch, so perhaps this is right on time). Because the show is all the new baseball we have right now, the feeling you get watching it is to be grateful for what you do have and take the lessons it’s offering before we lose the games we love for good.
In Season 4, the year is 2030 and the average temperature begins in the mid 110s. Nobody can move without their digital assistant and, maybe worst of all, no one watches baseball anymore. Okay fine, the worst part is the global warming but one week into quarantine, life without baseball is already the worst (let’s not make it permanent).
Brockmire’s whole mission here is to save baseball as it’s commissioner. It’s a noble goal that he mostly achieves. But it’s not his most daunting challenge. The bigger issue is saving himself. He hits all the right comedic notes to get there but it makes you examine yourself. For better and worse, sports are often a metric by which we define our lives. But they’re not everything. I mean, when you come to realization that Joe Buck is the closest thing you have to a friend, it’s time to reevaluate everything you’ve ever done (in the show, at least Buck is actually in on this joke).
The legacy of your life won’t be the things you did or how many championships your team won; it’s the memories you made with the people you love at those games. Your legacy is the impact you made in those people’s lives. It’s a strange feeling to be reminded of that from a former raging alcoholic who has the best job in the world — announcing games — but does everything in his power to flush it all away.
But that’s the beauty of this show. We keep rooting for Brockmire even with all of his flaws. As the Houston Astros have reminded us, isn’t that what we keep doing with baseball? Sports aren’t perfect, but at their most beautiful, they bring us together and make us better. In their absence, this is about as much as we have to hold onto. In these scary and unprecedented times, it’s refreshing to get a laugh and watch some semblance of sports. Thanks Brockmire.
Catch the season premiere of Brockmire at 10pm ET on IFC. Previous episodes are available on Sling On-Demand.