Home MLBBST Game Guides Celebrating ‘Baseball on Five’

Celebrating ‘Baseball on Five’

by Matt Smith

As the news that ‘Baseball on Five’ will not return in 2009 slowly starts to sink in, and more and more of you pass on your comments about how much it will be missed, all of the little things that made it such a great show keep coming to my mind. 

If this is the end of an era, better to celebrate the good times than to be beaten down by the loss.  So, I’ve put together a list of some of the things that I loved about the show.  Please feel free to add any more in the comments box. 

“These are a few of my favourite things ..”

Jonny’s opening line: “Greetings fellow baseball nuts”.

The Jonny and Josh high-five.

Erik’s Montreal Expos cap (you don’t see them much nowadays).

The flags at the front of the desk showing which teams were playing that night (not to mention Jonny’s Chipper Jones model).

Jonny being caught eating chocolate as the game heads back to the studio (with Josh merrily throwing him under a bus about it, rather than covering for him!).

Jonny and Josh noting plays down on their scorecards and encouraging many of us to take up the discipline.

Erik’s Spring Training vignettes.

The always entertaining viewer e-mails; from the students to the night-shift workers to the mothers feeding their newly-born children.

Jonny and Josh honouring a ‘hardcore’ viewer.

The literal seventh inning stretch.

Josh answering Erik’s in-game (‘don’t e-mail in, it’s just for fun’) trivia questions like someone swatting a fly.

Jonny’s ability to turn any conversation into an excuse to mention his fantasy team (okay, some viewers won’t miss that so much!).

In recent years, the All Star Game coverage live from the stadium.

World Series

The Fall Classic is always a special time of the year, but Five’s coverage made it even more so, not least because of the following:

The World Series tuxedoes,

Rating the renditions of the Star Spangled Banner,

The specially recorded Dave O’Brien/Rick Sutcliffe pre-game segments,

Erik and Dave bringing us the sights, sounds and (primarily) the local cuisine from the World Series cities.


Simply having a British-based MLB show, with presenters who love the game and want to share that passion with the audience.  Presenters who teach Brits about how the sport is played and who make us feel like a part of the show.  A team who understood the skill and complexity of the game, yet who were able to mix in light-hearted banter as well.

Hope you’re back with us soon, guys.

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Joe Gray April 1, 2009 - 10:41 am

This is a great list.

I loved the extended banter permitted by rain breaks. It was like on Test Match Special, where sometimes the delays in play are the most entertaining bit.

Andrew April 1, 2009 - 10:46 am

Great post, you hit on everything that kept me watching for the two seasons I’ve been following the game.

For me, the best part was that they always seemed like two mates who enjoyed baseball and had just happened to end up presenting it on TV. They never seemed to take themselves too seriously (e.g. Josh’s reaction to Jonny caught eating, as you pointed out). That sounds a bit odd, but hopefully you know what I’m getting at.

I really hope the whole team can find a new home for the show, they all worked hard and it was always a pleasure to watch. Thanks for the laughs. 🙂

Christopher Massey April 1, 2009 - 3:37 pm

In the last few years with having MLB.tv I’ve watched MLB on Five purely for the studio analysis, I used to fast forward through the baseball a lot of the time unless it was the playoffs or the Yankees were playing. As someone above said about test match special the best part of the show was often the banter between JC and JG.

A few things to add that were ‘regular’ occurrences:

Jonny’s inability to remember the email address

The references to Jonny’s 2:2 politics degree and general Durham University references.

I liked how Jonny always tried to get cricket comparisons in the show

The ‘last-chance’ saloon in the 9th inning

Phil Smith April 1, 2009 - 3:55 pm

Tremendous list for a great show. I started watching the show way back in 97 (First show in fact, having gotten hooked on Baseball the previous season) I can’t quite believe it’s gone.

I will miss Jonny & Josh’s infectious enthusiasm and in particular their All Star Game, World Series coverage, and the road trips. We all now have other outlets to watch the sport we love but the show provided a kind of British based center point for us. I have a friend who was wanting to try watching Baseball for the first time this year and had been asking lots of questions, this is the real tragedy.

Is there any latest news on a new home for the show?

shep April 1, 2009 - 4:54 pm

Absolutely…and let’s not forget the Baseball Table. That table is a national treasure. The first live baseball game in the history of British TV was presented from it and every single one after (apart from the late night consignments to the broom cupboard that is. Anyone remember that?)
I hope Sunset and Vine haven’t chucked it. Here’s hoping we’ll be needing it again and soon even if it’s only once a week.

peter April 1, 2009 - 10:20 pm

i would like to thank them for getting me hooked on this great sport. i hope its not to long till we seee them again on our tv screens

Bob April 1, 2009 - 10:54 pm

I agree with everything said here. One night in 2001 or maybe 2002, I remember Jonny calling their producer an asshole on air. It was all in fun, and it still makes me laugh.

Graham April 2, 2009 - 11:50 am

Absolutely gutted, loved the show. I really hope the guys will return in some format, be it on five or elsewhere. I can’t imagine five has another show that people would miss quite the same.

My best memories of the guys:

Jonny and Josh wearing bermuda shorts with their tux’s for the world series.

the game that lasted til about 7AM, the guys looked shattered.

Jonny’s general enthusiasm, i swear that guy could get excited about everything.

The fact that Josh’s baseball knowledge seemed never ending.

David lengels rants when he disagreed with the views of Jonny.

Many many more I can’t think of offhand.

Hope to see you guys soon

Andrej April 4, 2009 - 7:13 pm

I just found this out and I’m heartbroken!!
I agree with all the comments above…
I hope JC and JG see this, so they’ll know how much they’ll be missed and just what a special show they created. I’ve been following their antics for at least 6 years and it is thanks to them and a friend in LA who took me to a game, that I decided to visit NY to see Yankee and Mets stadiums last summer before they were closed and replaced.
A very sorely missed programme, let’s hope another network has the good sense to pick it up.

SimonR April 5, 2009 - 6:02 am

I have to say I’m a little saddened by this I have been watching for about 9 years after catching a game when I couldn’t sleep one night, I knew the game existed just never actually watch one.

I thought it was amazing got even better when I found out one of my mates watched too, we even picked up the tradition of busting out our suits to watch the Fall Classic, I somehow don’t think it is going to be the same watching it over MLBtv or on ESPN with-out JC and JG commenting on the plays in the last half of the inning.

Having been rated as “Hardcore” a few times, I really am going to miss them and hopefully something even better will turn up. *Prays to the baseball gods* I’m sure even you “Softcore” people are going to miss them too

Jonathan Meehan April 5, 2009 - 12:39 pm

I have just found out today when i was looking through the tv guide and dint see it was on, I am shocked and devastated to hear that five has dropped the shop. I have been a loyal fan for over 8 years and will sorely miss jc and jg’s banter and coverage of the game. I hope they both read all of the things that people have said about them and the show and hope they realsie how much they will be missed by all of us. Lets all pray to the baseball gods that channel 5 realise there mistake and put it back on air as soon as possible or some other channel makes the smart decision to broadcast it with jg an jc back in the hotseat. Lets hope all us BASEBALL NUTS will have an influence on this. The show will be sorely missed.

Chris Roots April 5, 2009 - 6:19 pm

Just heard about this and futilely e-mailed Five the following:


Have just found out you have dropped just about the only decent programme your network produced – Major League Baseball on Five.

I can only assume you have done this to provide budget for more of your “freak show” documentaries. Can I suggest you start with one about the people who commission programmes for Five. They would appear to be a breed apart.

Yours disgusted,

Chris Roots

McLuke April 5, 2009 - 8:25 pm

I am outraged that 5 are taking this away. I was hooked from ’98-’99 onwards when Todd and Jonny taught me the rules when I was a shift worker.

Anyone know if MLB will return to british telly?????

James Hamblin April 5, 2009 - 8:33 pm

I too am distraught. I would like to give thanks to all the studio staff and pray that someone in tv picks up on JG & JC’s obviously successful programme. It has been a pleasure to watch over the last 10 years or so. I wish them all the best in the future and hope to see them again soon hosting a mlb show on a free to view channel.
Baseball on five for me rates as the best sports commentry show I have ever experienced, thanks again.

SB April 5, 2009 - 9:44 pm

Was never the biggest fan of baseball but did enjoy watching it on FIVE, especially the world series!

The presenters/studio were bloody great, they didn’t try to be all fancy and serious and it was a great way to spend a long sunday night.

Is there a petition going to get it back? Everyone should e-mail FIVE and complain.

Banokles April 5, 2009 - 10:57 pm

My life has got a little more painful. I will miss Johnny and Josh so much. I have been avid fan and regular viewer since 2000.

Can anyone tell me if big Davey Lengal (hope I spelt that right) still has the handle bar tash?

Iain April 6, 2009 - 12:11 am

#12 Chris: Well said, Sir – What it must be like to work at Five and know that you’re role in life is to commission “Nazi Facelifts From Hell”, or similar drivel.

Too sad on Day 1 of the new season to list all the great things about the show – JG and JC taught me the game. From the rules, to nuances, to the excitement that they never stopped conveying. I love football, but I’m not sure I’ll ever know thrilling drama like 2001.

Thanks to them all.

Jass April 6, 2009 - 1:30 pm

Like many others, I am still reeling from the news that FIVE have definitely dropped Baseball from their schedule!

If it is confirmed that there will be no free-to-air access to this great sport, then the next best option would appear to be a subscription to mlb.tv via the internet.

Can anyone advise whether this service permits downloading to view later, or does it necessitate staying up through the night to watch live (not a practical option).

Please help. All replies much appreciated.

P.S. Can nothing be done to reverse this decision??

Matt Smith April 6, 2009 - 2:02 pm

Hi Jass. You can’t download the games, but they are all available to watch whenever you like after they have been completed (although typically you may have to wait until the following afternoon in Britain before the game is available). As an example, this is the MediaCenter link for Sunday:

If the game is not yet there to be watched again, it will have an ‘S’ to state that it will be there soon. Where you have an ‘A’, you can just click on the link and watch the ‘archive’ footage, which is the whole game from start to finish.

This applies throughout the season and up until the start of Spring Training next year if you buy the full season package. So you can make a note of the best games this season and watch them back in their entirety over the off-season months if you like!

Alternatively, as an MLB.tv subscriber you can watch the ‘Condensed Game’ highlights which typically give you ten minutes or so of the game.

Steven Rice April 6, 2009 - 4:18 pm

I was trying to find the five coverage yesterday and was disappointed to find out from your site today it had ended. I missed a lot of last season but had planned to get back into it this yea and I am now upset. Will be emailing five some abuse!

Jass April 6, 2009 - 4:31 pm

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the quick reply and the info on the mlb media.
You seem to be familiar with using this. What’s the quality like as compared to watching television, say?

Also, I’m told that the ESPN America channel on SKY is a good option.
Do you know anything about this?

Thanks again.


AGS April 6, 2009 - 5:03 pm

NASN will get you the Sunday night game but at a price! But between the innings you’ll get commercials… not Johnny and Josh. I’d rather pay the MLB subscription and have access to all the games. But we’re digressing from the real issue here… it’s not having MLB on Five!

From the great JG himself:

I can’t believe Five scrapped it after 12 years! I’m a yank in the UK and I must say that MLB on Five was a hell of a lot more entertaining than the programing the had in the States. The guys in the studio were (most times) better than the game itself.

Matt Smith April 6, 2009 - 5:04 pm

The trouble with advising on quality is that it is dependent on lots of different factors (PC spec, internet set-up etc). If you have the system to cope with it, the highest quality that MLB.tv will go to (available under the Premium package) is genuine HD quality.

I certainly don’t have the highest spec PC or the fastest Internet connection and I have little trouble watching games at a decent picture quality. Occasionally I find that games can ‘buffer’ a bit, but this year they have added a new feature that allows you to adjust the quality, which should alleviate that problem.

I’ve written quite a bit about this year’s subscription options, which may be helpful to you:
(Note that the converted prices may have changed a little since then).

Have a look at the demo on the MLB.com website and test your bandwidth etc.

I can’t guarantee how well it will work for you, but from my own experience it is an excellent service well worth considering.

I don’t subscribe to ESPN America, so can’t comment on that one I’m afraid.

Kevin Coy April 6, 2009 - 7:17 pm

ESPN America is good for a variety of different games, almost every night of the week, and of course, unless you have mlb.tv and have wired your computer to your tellybox, you can see the game in proper quality.

The other advantage of ESPN America is also Baseball Tonight, which I find to be a great show to catch up on the latest goings on in the game.

Jass April 7, 2009 - 12:39 pm

Thanks fellers for the interest, and thanks to Matt for the comments and the useful info on mlb subscriptions.

I’m not too sure about opening an account with SKY just to get the one channel (ESPN), so the mlb.tv is looking the more interesting.

One further question – if viewing a match from the archive (even if it’s just one from the previous night) can I join a game at any point, and fast forward/rewind at will?

Once more, thanks in advance.


Matt Smith April 7, 2009 - 12:57 pm

Hi Jass. Yes, you can navigate to different parts of the game. You can do this in two ways.

Firstly by moving the cursor along to a different time (e.g. the full bar could be for 5 hours and then you just move the cursor to a different point – 2 hrs 20 for example -, although it can take quite a few seconds for it to recalculate).

Secondly, and most usefully, by clicking on a specific half-inning (top of the 3rd, bottom of the 7th etc). The key then is whether you want to know the scores or not. You can set an option in the media player to ‘Hide scores for final games’ and this will be remembered on your account details.

I should point out that MLB.tv has moved to a new media player this year (Flash based) and a lot of users have experienced teething problems with it over the first day or so. It’s far from perfect at the moment, but hopefully the issues will be ironed out fairly soon.

Jass April 7, 2009 - 1:24 pm


The info on navigation is good to know. Many thanks.

This is a great site, by the way,and I am still enjoying finding my way around it.

It’s a shame that it took the effects of the Channel Five axe to prompt me to make contact, but I’m glad I did!

Best wishes


M Striker April 7, 2009 - 2:56 pm

I’ve just had my fears for the show confirmed here. Gutted – summer just won’t be the same. I’ve written before about how much I loved the show here:


and I can’t really say much more.

Best wishes and good luck to Jonny, Josh and everyone on what was a great show. You’ll be missed.

Matt Smith April 7, 2009 - 3:01 pm

Thanks Jass. We can’t make up for the loss of Five’s coverage, but hopefully we can at least play a part in keeping the British baseball community alive for when Jonny and Josh (hopefully) return to our screens in the future.

M Striker: that’s a great summary of exactly why we will all miss Five’s coverage so much.

Jass April 7, 2009 - 3:35 pm

Here here!!

I’ve just read MStriker’s article. His evocation of the late nights with JG, JC and EJ is already feeling painfully nostalgic, and really captures the flavour of the FIVE presentation (or should we be praising Sunset+Vine for that rather than FIVE?).


sharon April 7, 2009 - 11:53 pm

Hi everyone, too gutted to speak, what are the f****** w****** at five doing, sundays and wednesday were the best nights on the telly, JC and JG were fab,loved the banter and learned the rules with no ads what is going on!!! by the way sorry for the language just too frustrated to be polite!

Global Color » BaseballGB » Blog Archive » Celebrating ‘Baseball on Five’ April 8, 2009 - 1:43 am

[…] Too sad on Day 1 of the new season to list all the great things about the show – JG and JC taught me the game . From the rules, to nuances, to the excitement that they never stopped conveying. I love football , but I’m not sure I’ll ever know thrilling drama like 2001. See the original post here: BaseballGB » Blog Archive » Celebrating ‘Baseball on Five’ […]

JC - no not that one April 8, 2009 - 3:13 am

I too have just e-mailed Five to say how disgusted I am that they have cut the only good show they broadcast. I watch the other US Sports on Five, but only for the actual live coverage. But Baseball on Five had developed over the years into a genuinely endearing show with two superb, enthusiastic but light-touch presenters who had a real rapport. I am gutted. I will miss the show a disturbing amount, and am still slightly in shock. It’s a tv show for crying out loud, but I really will miss it.

Dave Amos April 8, 2009 - 5:12 pm

It was quite simply the best sports programme on TV, and its devastating to think that we now have to endure a summer without our weekly fix of baseball. Let’s just hope the show returns soon, either on Five or one of the other terrestrial channels, along of course with Jonny and Josh, without whom the show would just not be the same.

Jimmy April 9, 2009 - 1:25 pm

I am totally gutted.. I have been a loyal viewer since the beginning. I feel like i have grown up with the show. It was there for me during my A level revision. It was with me during the university years. The day i finally finished unloading the boxes into my new home, it was there. I will admit i think i took it for granted that JC and JG would always be there. It is now that the show has been taken away that we realise the magnitude of what has happened. My girlfriend tells me “It’s only a TV show”. But it’s not, is it? Baseball on Five is your favourite sweat shirt that always makes you feel good. Baseball of Five makes your day better when you are stuck in traffic and you know you have it ready to watch when you get home. For a few hours a week Baseball on Five made everything alright.

I will miss everything about the show. The dynamic was perfect. Johnny’s sheer enthusiasm for life is infectious. Josh has a quick wit and boundless knowledge on the subject.

I wish the whole team all the best for the future and i hope i see you soon.

As for my baseball viewing. I have Sky and Setanta so i will view on ESPN America for a while. I will see how i fair with that and maybe try MLBTV for a month.

Great forum.


itchy April 13, 2009 - 12:59 am

what a shame, was just looking at all the schedules looking for mlb on 5 and discovered this.

GUTTED ….. was a good show and always tuned in even if i always fell asleep after the 6th inning!

Webby April 17, 2009 - 9:36 am

Gutted, great show. Big Angels fan so gutted.

The Monday and Thursday morning coffee hit won’t be the same.

The late night sport on 5 is going downhill fast.

Darren April 19, 2009 - 4:33 am


Bring it back.

Long Live JG and JC

Jax April 20, 2009 - 8:04 pm

I go back to the days of the Todd Meister as pundit! That’s 12 years of baseball which I have thoroughly enjoyed and am very sad to see the end of this great show – other ways of watching just don’t compare without JG and JC!There’s a petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/bbon5/petition-sign.html if it helps anyone vent their frustration…

dan April 22, 2009 - 9:11 pm

Gutted to hear the news. In someways, given how bad C5 is I am not shocked to see it get rid of one of its best programs.

Todd Macklin was brilliant as well especially in the early years when a lot of people got into it.

Drew April 23, 2009 - 12:45 am

So disappointed that Five did this, for whatever reason. There wasn’t a show when I wasn’t creased up with laughter thanks to Jonny and Josh’s repartee, they were the best double act on television anywhere. I’ve watched the show since the 2001 World Series and when I had two e-mails read out on air (after trying for ages to get one read out), it was the highlight of my year. To be honest, I’ve been miffed by how the show was treated for a while, always pushed back on Wednesdays by the blooming poker. But I was shocked to see it cancelled. Will miss you, JG & JC!

jim w April 28, 2009 - 1:22 pm

Like you all I am gutted by 5’s decision.I started watching at the beginning, of what has to be the most enjoyable sport programme ever.Got the baseball bug in 1996 when I visited family in Canada, been hooked ever since (still a Blue Jays fan.)I do have ESPN America but it’s simply not as good:no humour,no banter,no seventh inning stretch.Come on somebody,let’s get JG & JC back on tv where they belong:SHAME ON 5 FOR LETTING US ALL DOWN!!

Nicholas Mahoney April 29, 2009 - 6:13 pm

Baseball on Five is my favourite show bar none – literally. I hardly watched anything else on Five. Hearing it is not coming back is like losing a relative – what are those idiotic excuses for TV executives thinking of? I will search out whatever Baseball programmes I can find but it will be a poor substitute for a truly great show. I really love the way it did not take itself too seriously – there was nothing like it on the TV – it was unique & brilliant and must come back. Hollywood tries to turn every film ever made into the same formulaic garbage. Television suffers from the same allergy to originality. For God’s sake can’t you appreciate that you had something of rare value tucked away on a ridiculously late slot. I watched off video 3/4 of the time – why did they never show earlier games? How can you get anything more than a cult following when you show it at such a late time? Do you really think Police camera action is better TV? Really? Have an original thought for once in your lives and bring back the best show I’ve ever seen. I feel for you Jon & Josh and pray to see you again.

james anderson May 5, 2009 - 5:17 am

i came on here looking for info on why there is no more basball on channel 5 after i noticed that it isnt on nowadays, if anyone knows why it isnt on anymore e mail me at jamesa_lfc@msn.com, many thanks james

Steve May 5, 2009 - 12:20 pm

Hi All.

Also devastated as I have been watching it for 7 or 8 years. Also wrote to 5 to ask why they were dropping baseball but still showing extreme angling and the world’s most tedious motorsport, NASCAR. They couldn’t even do me the courtesy of a reply. God, how I hate them.

Chris Hoskins May 5, 2009 - 2:57 pm

I was also very disappointed when I discovered the lack of baseball this year on Channel 5. I also go back to the original Channel 4 days for my baseball fix. The more I watch JG & JC the more I enjoyed the game. I was in Chicago last year watching a Sunday night double header at the White Sox. The game was being broadcast live on Five and as the Game went on I was using my Blackberry to email the boys in the hope that one of my emails might be read out.

I’d set my V+ box before I went on the trip and you don’t know how upset I was that the sad message “recording failed” greated me on my return.

In my heart I know they read all my emails, live and thanked me for them!

Boys I will really miss you all (even Eric), lets hope you get back on screen soon.

Nick May 5, 2009 - 11:06 pm

I can’t believe its gone, R.I.P Baseball on Five.

I saw this coming as last year lots of the games were shown on tape delay. I’ve been MLB.tv’ing for the last 3 years as well as watching JC and Jonny. I must say that MLB.tv is great, and if you don’t want to watch the game live its usually available on demand by 8am GMT if the game starts at midnight or 1 am.

But it will never fully replace JC and Jonny fist bumping each other or Dave Lengel’s hommage to Jason Giambi’s tash!!!

kensal July 5, 2009 - 11:49 am

its just incredible that its been cut…what a great show..the inhost banter..stats…interviews were so comforting and entertaining to watch. how could five be so ridiculously stupid. they talk about costs and stuff but this was a gem in what is literally a bum channel.

Nick White September 20, 2009 - 7:36 pm

It’s good to see I’m not alone. Even if a game was on NASN I would still watch it on 5 as you felt like you were part of a community. I remember sitting with a friend in his house many years ago watching the Diamondbacks winning the World Series.
More recently the night shift at the companty I worked for at Gatwick Airport got very used to the Operations team having 5 Baseball on during the night and we started to get genuine interest from staff.

If only Channel Five had been a fly on the wall in my Operations office under the tower and near the runway at Gatwick Airport when the Red Socks did for the Yankees in seven.

It was genuinely educating and creating interest. Possibly more than they knew.


Billy Blagg October 8, 2009 - 2:01 am

Now the play-off’s are in progress and the World Series is on the horizon, the loss of Five’s Baseball show is most keenly felt. Could they have not at least has a World Series show? It can’t cost that much can it?

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