Thursday, July 15, 2010

IL Wins, TV Fans Lose

All-Star Game: International League 2; Pacific Coast League 1
Wrap, Box, Video

Our own Elliot Johnson won the game for the International League with an opposite field double followed by the PCL’s catcher mishandling the throw from left field to home letting the run in. Good for Elliot (at least until he dashed for home on a Dan Johnson smash to right center and got doubled off the base when it was caught). Terrific story focused on Johnson and Charlie Montoyo in today's Herald-Sun.

I think that it might have been a pretty good game. Not really sure. Here’s why:

MLB network’s broadcast was simply awful, awful, awful.

How bad was it?
  • The broadcasters clearly knew almost nothing about AAA baseball except the barest minimum. For example, we were informed that PCL ballparks are out west and — talk about a blinding glimpse of the obvious — some of them are in high, dry climates. The ball carries better. Somehow that means that the 25 home runs of Las Vegas catcher J.P. Arencibia is some kind of fluke.
  • During the game we got to listen to endless opinions of what kinds of pitches the pitcher should be throwing. Who cares? To that end, did anyone catch the name of either of the broadcasters? Never mind. Not sure I want to know.
  • They hadn’t given even the most minimal of thought of who would be watching the game. Who else but fans of the teams with players in the game? So talk about their home teams, Durham, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Indianapolis — that’s who’s watching the game, dummies.
  • Players came into the game, but we never found out who they were, when they came in, or where they were playing (you had to get the box score to find out that Elliot came in at shortstop, but even there you don’t know when.)
  • I can’t tell you how little I care about even listening to, much less watch while the game is going on, the President of Minor League Baseball natter on about “the product”.
  • I think I can go the rest of the year without watching sweat drip off a pitcher whose name I don’t know.
  • Whose idea was it to hide the home team of players? I think, but I’m not sure since there were almost no shots of the players in the field, that players wore their team caps. But at bat they were wearing helmets, had their parent team logo on a sleeve, and, usually, the broadcaster was interviewing, say, the CEO of the Phillies. So, unless you got lucky, you never found out much about the batter, his team, or his prospects.
  • According to the wrap, the players had a good time. And it did look like the fans had a good time.
  • So just fire the MLB network. Instead hire Explorer Post 50 to work the cameras and bring in Neil Solondz and Scott Pose to do the commentary. They could have done a much, much, much better job.


  1. One of the commentators was Mitch Williams, the old "Wild Thing" Cubs reliever. I was actually excited that he was doing the game at first because I remember him from when I was growing up . He was on a "rotisserie" (before they called it fantasy) baseball team I had.

    But yeah, as it turns out they were both awful. The game was also on 620, and those guys weren't great either. Not sure if Neil was a part of that team later or not as I only half-watched.

  2. I've got a mistake up there, but think I'll leave it. Elliot's hit was a single and he went to second on the throw.

    Also should have been more appreciative of the Herald-Sun. They at least paid a stringer for a story. Good for them.

    Didn't know it was on 620. Should have checked. That's what I did for last year's AAA championship — turned off the TV commentators and listened to the radio.

    Fundamentally, MLB TV didn't make the effort to get inside the heads of the viewers. At best, they seemed to think that the viewers were mostly Phillies fans, towards whom they were typically obsequious.

  3. I turned the tv off. A pet peeve of mine is announcers who do everything but call the game. Glad to see it's not just me.

  4. I had a GREAT time! The whole experience was a lot of fun!

  5. Good for you! That's exactly as it should be. We fans didn't have as much an opportunity to share in the fun, but at least Elliot was a star. Good for him.