While going through this pandemic and not being able to do as much, I have ended up watching many different baseball games this season. Watching these games, you start to realize certain things that have enhanced the experience of watching these games on television and made it more enjoyable. However, there still are certain things that bring down the quality of the viewing experience, of these games.
- Use of Statcast data: As Statcast has become more and more popular over the years, broadcasts have continued to add it more and more to their presentations of these games. Whether it is showing the data in a replay quickly after a ball was hit, or dedicating entire broadcasts to presenting Statcast data, the way broadcasts have slowly come around to this data has made some viewing experiences much more enjoyable.
- Hot Mics: I have enjoyed about these broadcasts with no fans around is the insight into the players with no competing sounds from the stands and the mics being able to pick up the audio from the dugouts. Being able to hear how players interact with each other when their teammates are at-bat or being able to pick up audio when players and coaches have argued with umpires makes for an exciting viewing experience for fans and for guys like Jomboy who make their living off some of those sound bites.
- In-Game Player/Manager Interviews: Whether it’s having a player mic’d up during the game or giving them the headset while in the dugout these interviews do a nice job of giving insights into players’ personalities, which is something MLB has been lacking over the years. The interviews with the managers also can help fans get into their heads a bit, and learn some valuable information regarding the on-field play or potential injuries.
- Mic’d Players and Coaches: Slowly, broadcasts have started to embrace the idea of putting a microphone on particular players or coaches during the game and playing these sound bites throughout the game. This has given us first-hand insight into what is going on during the game and more importantly given us insight into the personalities of these players. Giving us this firsthand look at their personalities provide for a more entertaining broadcast and even some memorable soundbites.
Lol Phil Nevin is the best pic.twitter.com/UH5AXQmxWV
— Talkin’ Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 3, 2020
- Blackouts: When baseball started on Opening Day I was so excited to turn on MLB.tv and watch my favorite team while being out of the state for them. Come to find out I could not watch their broadcast because I was blacked out from games against who they were playing. In an attempt to grow the game, at a time when fans are not allowed into the games, it might be important for fans to be able to watch the games they want to watch and not have to worry about their team being blacked out to where they cannot watch them.
- Announcers who can’t embrace the new style of the game: It is always fun to listen to former players analyze the game and give their insights into what’s going on on the field. Even when there is a comparison between baseball now and baseball back when those analysts played. However, it takes away from the viewing experience when these former players complain about the way that baseball is being played and about the new way players are evaluated. When trying to sell the game to fans watching it, it does not help when all they hear is how much worse the changes to the game have made it.
- Virtual Fans: With no fans in the stands, teams have resorted to different ways of filling the void, pumping in crowd noise, and putting cardboard cutouts in the different seats. However, certain broadcasts have decided to virtually place fans in the stands to fill that void. However, it just ends up looking awkward as they change the colors of their “jerseys” during the game or even when a home run or foul ball is hit to them. Immediately after the ball goes into the seats, the camera angle would switch showing the empty stadium once again. I get the idea of doing this, the final product just came out looking a bit awkward.
.@ABREG_1 in the clutch. pic.twitter.com/sLCPayjCyQ
— MLB (@MLB) August 7, 2020
As you can see the quick changes from camera angles goes from there being virtual fans in the stands when Bregman’s home run enters the stands. But when the camera angle shows the stands when he is rounding the bases, there is no sight of these fans. A prime example of the awkwardness that this can be at times.
- In-Game Player/Manager Interviews: When executed correctly, these interviews do a great job providing insight into both the coaches and the players. However, many times these interviews take attention from the action that’s going on in the game and ask questions about things that don’t even relate to the game at hand. At times these interviews will be with players who aren’t even the game being broadcasted and would steer the broadcast in a completely new direction.
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
Just moved to San Antonio from Houston, was excited to get MLBtv to watch them, and they are BLACKED OUT 4 hours away. Ridiculous.