Baseball story lines get readers writing
Dear readers: Thank you for the many kind (and vicious), thoughtful (and insensitive), insightful (and off-the-wall), and occasionally "I wish I'd thought of that" e-mails over the 2 1/2 years "SporTView" has been operating under this byline.
Jack Craig, creator of this column (and inspiration for all those who have emulated it), once wrote: "Never forget that the readers (at least some of them) know far more than you can ever hope to know about what went out on the airwaves."
Which brings us to this: Suffice it to say that nothing has sent folks in Readerland to the keyboard in such numbers as two baseball-related topics of the past 10 days.
The first issue is relatively simple: the seeming inability of WEEI (850 AM) to synch its radio broadcast of Red Sox playoff games with the Fox telecast, so listeners can tune out national TV announcers Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Bret Boone and listen to locals Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano. Technically it can be done, but apparently it takes some practice and diligence.
WBCN (104.1 FM) works hard at synching its broadcasts of Patriots games with the telecasts so local fans can listen to Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti with the sound turned down on the TV. Some games it's right on; some games it's not. WEEI, after finally getting it right for Tuesday's Game 5 at Fenway Park, was unable to keep it up for Wednesday's Game 6 at Yankee Stadium -- the radio audio was farther ahead of the TV picture than ever, roughly three seconds by my count.
Call it a work in progress. The 'EEI people are well aware that plenty of fans want to listen to their Sox broadcast when one of the local TV carriers (NESN, Ch. 38) doesn't have the game.
The second topic is the aforementioned Fox announcers: Buck, McCarver, and Boone. An amazing number of citizens of Red Sox Nation regard McCarver, in particular, as a Manhattan Yankee in Count Theo's Court.
McCarver's response to the charge is enlightening.
"In my years in this business [as a national announcer], I've learned one thing: Listeners hear what they want to hear," McCarver said. "You're talking to a guy who was fired by the Mets and dismissed by the Yankees. How would you feel in those circumstances?"
Anyway, on to your comments, all received before yesterday's Game 7 of the ALCS:
From Eddie in Everett: The Fox announcers are OK, but can you get the word to Fox that the telecasts are pathetic? Manny's home run was not shown Tuesday until after the fact, due to ads . . . Pregame introduction of players and national anthem isn't shown. The name of the game isn't baseball, it's $advertisement$.
Eddie, you're a perceptive viewer and know what you've been missing.
From Bob Dempkowski: The truly maddening thing about the Fox coverage of baseball is the almost constant jumping away from the real game that we want to watch for replays (and replays of replays), flashbacks to other games and seasons, previews/hype of later games, Jeanne Zelasko in LA, and cellphone polls with lame questions. Fox should advertise itself as the ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) network. They completely ignore the rhythm of the game, and superimpose their own twitchiness on it. Bring back Sean [McDonough] & Jerry [Remy], who understand and appreciate baseball for its own joys, and don't get in the way of the game. Amen, Bob, except that my perception is that we're getting fewer replays, mostly because of all the other stuff Fox has to get into the telecasts.
From Gene McMahon in Weston: Some rules for televising baseball: 1. Never have more than two announcers.
2. The cardinal rule is that you don't have to talk.
3. Talk only enough so we know the audio is working.
4. Communicate needed information -- "John Jones is in as a defensive replacement at second base." Do this before he runs into Johnny Damon and almost kills him.
5. Do not say anything unless it adds to the telecast.
6. If you say something once, you are done with that item. The listeners are not idiots.
Gene, are you teaching Broadcast Journalism 101 someplace? If you are, don't forget to have the students do the drop-ins and promos.
From Daniel Shaw: I disagree with your opinion of the impartiality of the Fox broadcast team, particularly for the Boston-New York series. I believe Fox, as well as any other national broadcasting company, is biased in favor of New York, if for nothing more than financial considerations. The reporting is always slanted in the favor of the Yankees, and not just when they are playing the Red Sox. This was the short version of an insightful and impassioned argument about the lack of Yankee accountability for last Saturday's Fenway follies, and about one of life's truths for non-Gotham sports fans. You're either with 'em or against 'em. And Fox didn't get the one thing it wanted most: the Cubs in the World Series.
All tuned in
Wednesday's Game 6 earned a 39.4 rating (64 audience share). The game's rating -- the percentage of TV households in the market tuned in -- peaked at 54 at 8 p.m. The audience share -- the percentage of households with TVs "in use" tuned to the game -- topped out at a 74 at 7:30. That means three of four sets in use in the Boston market at that hour were tuned to the game . . . Before last night's game, play-by-play man Buck said, "I'm looking forward to this game more than anything I've done professionally. You'll be able to count my words in the first inning. I don't plan on talking unless something happens. I plan on sitting back and letting the action, the crowd, and the reactions speak for itself instead of droning on with play-by-play." . . . Nationally, Wednesday's Cubs-Marlins NLCS Game 7 did a 16.9 national rating and 27 share, becoming the top-rated LCS game in 10 years and posting a higher number than 24 of the last 27 World Series games. In Chicago, the game did a 47.1 (61 share).
Bill Griffith's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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