Monday, October 24, 2011

Five Years, Five Years, Five Years

Additionally, it's a five letter word:  S-T-R-I-K-E.

Time for the obligatory MLB on Fox post for this season.  This is a somewhat-unique situation:  This is the second straight year we have not had either the Red Sox or Yankees in the World Series, and this is allowing me (and probably Pat) to watch these games a little differently.  I've been able to take the Red Sox bias out of evaluating this Fox coverage and zoom out a little bit.  I have a few quick things to say about it as this series continues to be a really entertaining one.  I'm also so happy that Beltre just crushed one from one knee.

1.  Buck and McCarver are inherently in a really difficult position.  Unlike regular season games on Fox (when they give a half-assed effort toward it) and unlike local coverage of games (where it's not necessary to do at all), these guys in the playoffs have to appeal to the masses:  Casual fans and baseball people alike.  It's not an easy thing to do.  McCarver basically has to break down what a bunt or what a hit-and-run is into the most simplistic terms.  I've tried to notice this especially in the last two games, and I think it's been pretty darn good.  Buck and McCarver still stink to high heavens in general, but with this task, they're doing reasonably well.

2.  Fox listens to negative commentary - at least to an extent.  I famously sent a nasty email to a general Fox Sports email address in April 2004, and ever since the minute I sent it, that email address has been constantly spammed.  Thanks, Rupert.  However, the ultra-hokey stuff that used to plague Fox broadcasts (such as the RIGHT NOW!!1 graphic and Scooter the Talking Baseball) and appeal to the idiot to the extent that it alienates the person just trying to watch the baseball game, are either reduced or gone completely.  They have not over-used the strike zone graphic, and TBS as well has eliminated the nine-foot base-stealing crap.  People aren't adding cartoon thing after cartoon thing after cartoon thing.  Buck and McCarver themselves crap this thing up well enough themselves, and good for these guys for not adding more garbage to the broadcast.

3.  These guys suck a lot more when they're doing Red Sox and Yankees games.  This is intuitive, as they both know a lot more about the high-exposure baseball teams.  To the best of my knowledge, neither Buck nor McCarver were calling non-Fox Cardinals games, so they don't seem to know that much about the Cardinals this year.  That's refreshing.  The teams these guys know more about (in the early 2000s it was New York, in the later 2000s it was Boston) are the teams they favor.  They told way too many Derek Jeter, Arod, and Tim Wakefield stories while completely ignoring the other team.  In this series, they are unable to do such a thing.

4.  McCarver was too old to think about ten years ago, and whenever Buck gets excited (rarely), he just sounds like the jerk who dropped the infamous Randy Moss "disgusting act" line.  Joe Posnanski wrote his version of this post either last night or this morning, and he suggested that his readers (not to be confused with "Neither Will Your Readers") give their ideal play-by-play and color team for a World Series.  Vin Scully's solo act was the overwhelming consensus.  Via the SoreGloveHand Twitter account, I actually said something serious:  I would have gone with Scully and Steve Lyons.  They were an unbelievable fictional team in the movie For Love of the Game, and their combination actually added quite a bit to the movie in my wacky opinion.  I'd love to see them together, as they'd make the World Series as classy and dramatic as the movie was.


The GM said...

PF, if you don't make a comment about the "disgusting act," you will not do this post justice.

Anonymous said...

Some good points here although I'm not sure how 'the cathedral that is Yankees Stadium belongs to a chapel' or whatnot could be replicated in the Tiny Bandbox in Arlington.

The McCarver stuff remind me of the MNF crew- generally, I think Gruden and Jaws bring very little to the game in terms of analysis but the two tend to know their quarterbacks- when discussing the position, I always feel like I am getting something unique from the team. I suspect McCarver is a bit of the same way with regards to the pitcher-catcher dynamic. Unfortunately, it is when he gets off that area that things tend to slide and it seems a lot of the time this is the case. It goes well with the Sox-Yanks comment because those games tend to really focus on history, storylines, etc., and I could see how that is out of the Buckin' McCarver comfort zone.

(Tangent: I think this is the reason for the 'Year of the QB', partly as ESPN realized their MNF team is far more informative when discussing the position and therefore by creating more excuses to talk QB the MNF telecast would improve. Anyway.)

Fox is, in general, a good example of how 21st century sports works. Scooter the ball, the glow puck, the 'NFL Sunday' theme for soccer games, and all that show an over-emphasis on capturing the casual fan thanks to knowing a die-hard is going no place (but to HYDB to complain, of course). The Fox production of sport is like an NBA arena's production of hoops, the yapping horsehide being the rap music during the second quarter, the glow puck being the t-shirt cannon in the third. Do I blame them one bit? Of course not. It is just like how Pizza Hut in Japan serves curry & potato as a pie- an American is going no place so why not capture the local consumer?

I miss Randy Moss.