Moore: What’s wrong with TV baseball? Learning from Red Barber and MLB Classics

From Jack Moore at The Hardball Times on October 13, 2015:

Of the major sports, I believe baseball is by far the least suited to television. It lacks the constant motion of hockey, soccer and basketball, and neither does it have the predictability of football. It covers an awkward and irregular area as opposed to the convenient rectangles of most sports. Combine all these awkward difficulties presented in broadcasting baseball, and the result is the widest gap between the televised game experience and the live game experience in sports.

This shouldn’t be considered a knock on baseball. Baseball was not created for television. It was originally created by and for newspapers, and later adapted seamlessly to radio. The dimensions and unpredictable action of baseball, no problem for a fan with full view from the stands, pose a dilemma for a fixed camera. Baseball remains a game best experienced in the stands, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Still, I believe the typical televised baseball broadcast is not squeezing as much as it can out of the medium. Perhaps part of the problem is the standardization of these broadcasts. Aside from Vin Scully’s Dodgers broadcast, every television broadcast is conducted with a two or three-person booth, plus sideline reporters. These broadcasts use similar broadcast angles, lean heavily on replays and constant cuts to multiple camera angles, and employ regular use of graphics and statistics. This standardization has come at the expense of experimentation, and creative attempts at a different kind of baseball broadcast are rare.

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Originally published: October 13, 2015. Last Updated: October 13, 2015.