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The best and worst (mostly worst) of baseball on reality TV: Our top 5

Today we turn to a kind of sports programming you won't find on ESPN. Baseball has made a surprising number of appearances (some Emmy-worthy, others groanworthy) in the world of reality TV.

Cut4 watched so you won't have to -- here's our top five baseball reality shows.

5. Baseball Wives

Cast in the Real Housewives mold, VH1's Baseball Wives followed the drama and in-fighting within a group of women married to, dating or divorced from professional baseball players. It was not, as we had wanted so badly to believe, a show about women in romantic relationships with baseballs.

Baseball Wives only aired eight episodes -- it's probably for the best that this show didn't survive past its rookie season. In this clip, Anna Benson (then-wife of pitcher Kris Benson) shows off a stuffed possum dressed in a lifejacket and miniature Ugg boots that she bought as a revenge gift for a friend who didn't invite her to something. It's a wonder that a woman who gives people taxidermied revenge gifts would ever not get invited to anything. (Video contains mild language: a b-word that isn't "baseball.")

4. The Surreal Life, Season 5 (The Canseco Era)

Over six seasons, The Surreal Life documented the cohabitation of oddball, past-their-shelf-life celebrities. The show featured a cast of C-list characters as varied as Dave "Uncle Joey" Coulier, Salt (of -N-Pepa fame), Ron Jeremy, Flavor Flav and -- in 2005 -- former Bash Brother José Canseco.

Here, Twitter's poet laureate tries on one of Apprentice villainess Omarosa's mini-skirts. Canseco's career in the Majors may be long behind him, but he's certainly kept up his figure.

3. Life of Brian

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area recruited a pre-beard Brian Wilson to star in his very own reality show, Life of Brian -- filmed by the Giants closer himself on a camcorder throughout the 2009 baseball season. We're happy to report that the result (blatantly low-budget as it is) is legitimately hilarious.

In the video below, Wilson hungrily soliloquizes about the struggles of ordering room service on the road. Where can we find a Life of Brian box set?

2. The Franchise

Following the Giants in its first season and the Marlins in its second, this Showtime docu-reality program offered an intimate view into the lives of players and the backstage workings of their clubhouses. Easily the most serious-minded entry in our line-up, The Franchise has been rumored to return for a third installment, possibly featuring the Indians -- fingers crossed.

Watch as The Franchise's cameras follow shortstop Jose Reyes (now of the Blue Jays) to a Miami tattoo parlor.

1. Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.

The only show on our list that's currently on the air, this TLC series chronicles the daily life of Pete Rose and his wife Kiana Kim, a Playboy model more than 40 years his junior. 

Oh, Pete. What can we say about the disgraced all-time MLB hits leader that hasn't already been said? Here's a guy who managed to build a career around not just one, but two of his passions -- for Rose, baseball and gambling went together like peanut butter and jelly (whatever flavor gets you permanently banned from the sport).

As Rose and family stroll through Cooperstown, the former Reds manager pouts about his ineligibility for the Hall of Fame in a transparent appeal for sympathy. Warning: not for the weak of stomach.

-- Molly Fitzpatrick /