Rivera: Inside ‘SABRcast’ and MLB Network’s quest to challenge baseball telecasts

From Joe Rivera at The Sporting News on August 11, 2017, with mention of SABR member Brian Kenny and Micah Karg:

One of the most difficult things to get baseball fans to do, it seems, is, well, watch baseball.

Keeping fans engaged in what happens on the field is as difficult as trying to put mascara on a cat’s whiskers. In addition to game broadcasts being relatively formulaic, the pace of play, the length of games and the uber-controversial idea of in-game interviews are all speed bumps for fans’ enjoyment of TV broadcasts.

Seldom satisfied with national broadcasts — just check baseball Twitter on Sunday nights or during the playoffs — it seems as though fans are only happy when they’re unhappy.

“It’s like complaining in baseball has almost become sport,” MLB Network coordinating producer Marty Montalto told Sporting News. “Maybe baseball fans seem to complain the most about their sport. Or maybe they’re the most passionate about their sport, and they really care about it flourishing into the future.”

Alongside MLB Network producer Micah Karg, that’s where the forward-thinking Montalto comes in — by spearheading an experimental approach to televising a game. For the third year in a row, MLB Network has aired a national game and incorporated advanced analytics, blood-and-guts analysis and inside information into the broadcast. Dubbed “SABRcast,” the production — which used the network’s “MLB NOW” daily program as its base — aimed to show fans a different way they could consume and view a game.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/news/sabr-analytics-fangraphs-baseball-mlb-network-brian-kenny-mike-petriello-statcast/z1iexewc509b1flngepinrrqo

Originally published: August 17, 2017. Last Updated: August 17, 2017.