Baseball brass must be sinking in their box seats, judging by the debut of VH1’s newest series, “Baseball Wives.”
The show—a follow-up to the popular “Basketball Wives” and “Football Wives” series—promises enough nasty catfights, teary breakdowns and novel name calling (cleat chaser!) to bring a big ol’ dose of Jersey-style nonsense to America’s long-protected pastime.
But Anna Benson, sure to be the show’s star, has never cared what the baseball community thinks of her.
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“They don’t write me a check, they don’t own my image. They’re not the boss of me," Benson says. "My husband [Kris] is the only boss of me. And my dad.”
And if his tweets are any indication, Boss #1 approves.
KrisBenson34 tweeted: "@TheAnnaBenson Killed it babe! Episode 1 was EPIC! My sides are hurting I was laughing so much..."
It’s no surprise VH1 sought out Benson, who's never fit the mold of the traditional baseball wife. The sexy model and wife of pitcher Kris Benson famously told Howard Stern she'd sleep with the entire Mets organization if Kris ever cheated on her. Fans have long suspected he was traded to Baltimore in 2006 because of Anna.
The show promotes Anna Benson in a bio as a cross between Angelina Jolie and Bill O’Reilly. In an upcoming episode, the gun-loving, PETA-hating mother of four allegedly threatens her castmates with a stun gun ... and a sex toy.
“Baseball is just sooo conservative,” says Benson, 35, on the phone from Arizona where the show is still taping. “This is just so taboo. It’s perfect.”
As expected from today's reality shows, “Baseball Wives” offers little in the way of reality. None of the wives actually has a husband currently on any MLB roster (after more than 10 years in the big leagues, Kris pitched three games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 before hanging up his glove for good). One of the gals, Jordana Lenz, got on the show because she once dated Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan.
And “Baseball Wives” doesn’t show the actual life of baseball wives because, well, the actual life of baseball wives is boring.
Who wants to watch a frazzled mom schlepping whiny kids through the airport to meet her husband (who flew on a chartered flight) for an away series? Or the long nights waiting for him to come home from a game that’s just now going into extra innings? Or trolling the Internet to get to the bottom of those rumors about what he was up to on that last road trip?
Asked for a typical scene from her actual baseball-wife life, Benson remembers: “It’s February, because my birthday is the 12th and my daughter’s is the 14th, and Kris always left for spring training before our birthdays. And it sucked so bad every year.”
But thanks in a big way to Benson's feisty, no-holds-barred personality, #BaseballWives became a trending topic on Twitter during the airing of Wednesday's premiere—an encouraging sign for the ratings. However, some tweeters were most surprised by Benson’s new appearance. (Benson has put on a few pounds since FHM ranked her #29 their list of “100 Sexiest Women.”)
This is just the beginning of Act II for Anna Benson, who could follow in the footsteps of Bethenny Frankel or Evelyn Lozada, who's reportedly negotiating her own post-"Basketball Wives" spinoff.
That's what Benson's betting on.
"I love entertainment and this for me is my chance to entertain, to be a personality," she says. "I would love to have my own show."