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The Decline of Televised Live Sports


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15 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   cmasia

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 08:07 PM

OK, I'll admit to being 55 years old, and out of touch with the "entertain and inform me NOW" generation, but here is a list of things that really piss me off. Again, remember my age when you cut me a new one.

I must add, I've been out of the US for the bulk of the last 14 years, so these changes, perhaps gradual for you, are shocking for me.

1) The all encompassing sound effects that accompany a production truck's graphics. Baseball on the FSN RSN's is especially egregious.

2) Truck produced in game "packages" - someone's at bat from last night, sights and sounds of the game, etc. As a viewer - and listener - I want a seamless experience of watching the game.
Every time a producer forces his vision of the game on me, I get really pissed off.
Television used to be the closest thing to being at the game. It is now like being at an amusement park.

3) Announcers who think they are more important than the event. Sutton and Grace are the worst example of this. It's frathouse baseball.

4) The promotion of future events. I'm a sports fan. I know when the next game is and who will be televising it. The game I'm watching now is nothing but a 3 hour commercial for the next game.

5) The "Bloombergization" of the screen. The perpetual "crawl" is an absolute insult to the viewer. Every half hour is fine. Most people have the internet, or with D* "scoreguide", if they are desperate for a score.
How many times do I need to read the Pirates - Brewers game was postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date?
Worse still is the graphic that pops up during play. Versus NHL coverage is the most egregious example of this, telling us about a game they will show 2 days later while a team is on the power play, trying to tie the game.
Why don't they do this after the whistle?
Oh, wait, I know, it's because the idiot producer want us to see what he's prepared for the time between whistle and face off.

6) Announcers who believe the play by play action is in their way. Listen to Michael Kay some night. I actually like this guy, but on most pitches, even on those ending in routine outs, he flips a comment ending with his voice inflecting up, instead of down the way most people finish a sentence. The he immediately goes back to whatever he was talking about with whoever is next to him that night.
It is a small thing, but over 3 hours it makes the action he is being paid to report seem superfluous compared to his "listen to me" attitude.

7) For baseball, why does every pitch have to be shown from the centerfield camera? There are numerous times in a game the camera from behind home plate, either high or low, can reveal more of what's happening. For example: bunt situations, 3 - 2 counts with runners on, etc.
The centerfield camera is great. But, when you buy a ticket, don't you want to watch the game from behind home plate?

8) "Homer" announcers of any kind. At 55 years old, guess what? I know who I cheer for. I don't need Ken Harrelson telling me what's "good and bad".

9) Back to baseball game producers again. And this really pisses me off. There are certain games where the producer / director has someone adjusting the volume of a certain microphone during a pitch. The Dodgers are the worst at this. You can here the microphone aimed at home plate being elevated on most pitches to "enhance" our experience.
I'll use this word again. It is egregious.

10) Nah, I'll stop at 9. I don't want you to think I'm a grumpy old man.

I promise to start a thread about what I do like. Um, er, sometime soon.

Finally, if you want to watch an event the way it should be produced?
Watch any Word Cup match the next month - even if you don't like football.
ESPN, who created almost all the 9 things above I'm pissed about, has done a great job the first week of the World Cup.
It's about the event, not the producer.
Is that so tough???

PS: As I'm typing this, at the end of the Cardinals game, I heard something else that encapsulizes the copy cat mentality of sports production.
If I hear another announcer say, "We'll be back to break it all down", I may throw a beer bottle through my screen.

Other than that, Happy Monday!

Edited by cmasia, 14 June 2010 - 08:48 PM.


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#2 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 03:25 PM

I'll chime in. I'm 47 and started watching baseball around 1970.

1) I agree. Lose the bleeping sound effects. If I want a ballgame that sounds like Transformers versus Terminators, I'll write a videogame for it.

2) Those packages belong in the pre-game show and NOWHERE ELSE.

3) Fortunately our announcers seem pretty good. Even when they get into storytelling mode, the story is ALWAYS interrupted when there's play going on (I watch my baseball on NESN - home of the Red Sox)

4) I'd almost agree. Stop telling me that there are 'great seats still available' for an upcoming game at Fenway. We all know that the only seats that aren't sold on Day One are obstructed view and seats on the other side of the Turnpike.

5) NESN really stinks at this. Not only do they have that god-awful crawl, but they have it ONLY on the SD portion of the HD screen. Sometimes, I swear, a long word may start scrolling off before the end of the word scrolls on!

6) Can't really comment except to say that I *do* wish Ned Martin were still around.

7) Because you can see the break on the balls better. I remember 'back in the day' watching Mets games on WOR and when they played the Cubs at Wrigley, you got to see about 1/4 of every pitch because they were showing the behind-the-plate camera and the ball spent most of it's trajectory hidden behind the catcher, the ump, the batter (or all 3)

8) Harry Caray was the worst. Maybe I had the disadvantage of seeing him only long after whatever 'prime' he had in his career but I couldn't STAND watching games on WGN (trying to follow my Expos).

9) Agreed. Guys in the truck - KNOCK IT OFF.

10) Stop showing me all the fans between pitches.

...and Happy Tuesday.

#3 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:16 PM

10) Stop showing me all the fans between pitches.

Agree! Directors: Please get off those go semi-interesting crowd scenes and get back to showing managers, coaches and players in the dugout pickin' their noses, and showing tight shots of the on-deck batter scratching and adjusting his 'package' and chawin' n' spittin' terbacky.

Yes. by all means. :sure:

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#4 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:24 PM

It's called future shock my friends. Welcome to the "New World Order"!

#5 OFFLINE   wilbur_the_goose

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 06:39 PM

This is nothing new... Baseball on TV was ruined by ABC and their Monday Night Baseball. It was further ruined by FOX with their crazy audio effects.

Just give me Vin Scully or Dick Enberg and I'm very happy. Oh yeah - I like the M's announcers too.

PS - Rest in Peace, Harry Kallas

#6 OFFLINE   cmasia

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 09:16 PM

Baseball's Announcing Teams:

Baltimore - Competent. Thorne and Palmer are very professional. I also think Jim Hunter is very good announcer. Amazed he does not have a bigger job somewhere.

Boston - Competent, not intrusive. They pass the "Would I drink beer and watch a game with them" test.

Yankees - Michael Kay is very good except for that "dismissive" upward inflection that ends every phrase. They're analysts are very good.

Tampa - Competent, bland, nothing that stands out.

Toronto - Not a Buck Martinez fan, but a watchable telecast.

White Sox - I will not watch them, even if it's the only game on TV.

Cleveland - Very watchable. Rick Manning is a solid analyst.

Detroit - Both Impemba and Allen are amateurs, out of their depth. I never watch their feed.

Kansas City - Compentent play by play. Frank White is the weak link, but he's a Royal legend.

Minnesota: Bremer and Blyleven are true old school guys. A bit bland, but today, bland is good.

LA Angels of Anaheim, and California, and Orange County, or whatever they are called this week: The new pairing, Rojas and Gubicza are competent. Very sad to hear about the sudden death of Rory Marcas. Glad Physioc and Hudler are gone. They were woeful.

Oakland: Very listenable. Kuiper and Fosse are very comfortable.

Seattle: Neihaus - yes. Sims - no. Blowers - boring. Sims is just too full of himself.

Texas: Very listenable. Yes, they are for the Rangers, as are most home announcers, but they cover a game - and game situations - very well.

National League tomorrow.

By the way, it's becoming clear I have too much time on my hands.

#7 OFFLINE   tsmacro

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 10:18 AM

1) I agree. Lose the bleeping sound effects. If I want a ballgame that sounds like Transformers versus Terminators, I'll write a videogame for it.


Also one of my pet peeves when watching a game. The one that I really don't like is Fox's sound effect when they're showing you a replay on a baseball game, sounds like some kind of cheap race car sound effect or something, very annoying! Also any stupid little graphics that dance around on the screen while coming back from a commercial break, once again Fox is the worst, think about the "football robot" or the stupid rodent during races. Going back to baseball and once again Fox there has been for years a "digital skip" in the crowd background noise that happens every so often, it just sounds like a CD that skips once or twice briefly before continuing on, it's just in the crowd background sound, not the main audio. I'm sure most people never even hear it, but I was unlucky enough to notice it once and have heard it ever since! Of course that's a glitch and not on purpose i'm sure but it also fits in with things that annoy you during sports broadcasts.


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#8 OFFLINE   purtman

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:11 PM

cmasia, I do like some of the info during the game. However, we have to put Joe Buck and Tim McCarver at the top of the list when it comes to thinking they're above the game. Every time the Yankees play the Red Sox, I can't count the number of times I've heard 2004.
You have some great points. I'm 50 and love your thoughts here. As far as "homer" announcers, it depends on how it's done. John Sterling is considered to be a "homer" by many when it comes to the Yankees on the radio. However, Sterling is also quick to point out a great play by the opponent. Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone would cause anybody switch the channel. Stone used to be good but has fallen off the cliff with the White Sox. There's a big difference between being the home team's announcer and being a blind food.
Versus was terrible in the NHL playoffs with its logo appearing at the bottom of the screen. I have a 50-inch screen and would still miss plays because of the logo on the bottom. It was ridiculous.
djlong, the "great seats" point about Fenway is hilarious. I grew up in New England so I know what you mean.
Wilbur, I'm totally with you with Scully and Enberg. Give me Jim Kaat or Tony Kubek to do the color and we have a very enjoyable broadcast.

#9 OFFLINE   boiker

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 11:14 AM

White Sox - I will not watch them, even if it's the only game on TV.


White Sox fan here. Hawk Harrelson is the biggest homer and complainer around. Unfortunately, Stone gets roped into it. When Stone is allowed to analyze and provide color, he's great. When Hawk gets into a balls/strikes hissy-fit the games are unwatchable.

I usually turn on Gameday audio to listen to Ed Farmer and Darren Jackson. Ed Farmer is pretty good. DJ is bland, but serviceable. I really miss the John Rooney/Ed Farmer radio team. They were great together.

#10 OFFLINE   ARKDTVfan

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:43 PM

my TV sports complaints


1. Dick Vitale, Tim McCarver and Pam Ward- all three are annoying
A. Vitale is just an obnoxious tool
B. McCarver is the biggest crybaby behind a mic
C. Pam Ward just doesn't know sports
2. too many in game ads, enough with the stupid shots of the action just to splash Bud Light's logo all over the screen
3. sound affects, enough!!!!

#11 OFFLINE   Msguy

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:45 PM

Comcast Sportsnet Chicago is the WORST Sports Network for showing scores during a baseball game. They start running the sports ticker as soon as each inning starts. It does not matter what inning it is. They run that thing at the start of every single inning and it is very annoying. Try watching a Cubs afternoon game sometime when they are the only team playing in the afternoon for that day and everyone else is playing that night. They run the Ticker and NO OTHER Games are even going on at that time of the day. It will drive you up the wall.

#12 OFFLINE   Jimmy 440

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:02 PM

Wow someone else liking Gary Thorne ? I've heard so much negativity about him over the years on the 3 Satellite websites.I don't know who got roasted more,him or Jamie Campbell ? I've always thought he called a great game.He has a great PxP voice.And he's just as nice in person.The one I can't stand is Dwayne Staats of the Tampa Bay Rays.His voice goes right through me.(Though if I remember right he saved the day on a flight a few months ago when somebody went nuts.He gets my kudos for that).He just annoys the heck out of me.

And the one thing that really annoys me on these RSN's is that stupid score bar that runs almost the entire length of the top of the screen.I wish they'd use the FOX BOX thats less intrusive in the upper left corner.I can stomach that.

Well that's my .02 worth

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#13 OFFLINE   hoophead

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 05:29 PM

I really can't hold a candle to you guy's complaints but it reminded of one thing I've noticed on Fox RSN and possibly national telecasts (don't watch those). When it shows the batters info when he comes up to the plate why do they show his number (which we can see on his uni) but not his position. To me that is more important to show his position.

Maybe that's just me. :(

Carry on! :)

#14 OFFLINE   Ray_Clum

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 05:48 AM

Watching baseball on TV... interesting concept... I've watched one at bat since the 1986 strike. I was travelling on business, was in the hotel room flipping channels. Hit ESPN, Mark McGuire was up to bat and was sitting on 69 homers. Saw pitch, swing, ball goes bye-bye and changed channel...
If you can read this, you are too close.

#15 OFFLINE   Cable Lover

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:15 AM

Believe it or not, I think TBS has some of the best coverage of baseball.

I hate the Bottom Line on all the ESPNs now. Leave it on ESPN News and maybe ESPN2 and leave classic and ESPN for enjoying games.

I also agree about Fox's sound effects.

One thing WGN used to do great when Haray Carey was around was find the best looking women in the crowd and show them.
RIP Insight.

#16 OFFLINE   bidger

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:44 AM

Watching baseball on TV... interesting concept... I've watched one at bat since the 1986 strike.


:confused: MLB didn't go on strike in 86. The played a full season, Mets vs. Red Sox in the WS, ball through Buckner's legs and all that.

Sports in HD, the majority of games in packages for out-of-market and fanatics...sorry, don't really see a decline. It's not flawless, but I have no desire to go backwards.

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