Baseball broadcasting has reached an evolutionary point. The game, the fans, and the information available has outgrown the current structure.
Let me explain.
Those that know me know that I am a baseball fan. I love the game as a whole. While, admittedly, I am a huge fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, I will watch any team play any game if it is available. Thanks to the world of the internet and streaming video, that is quite readily available to me on a regular basis.
Through the magic of MLB.TV, I can choose which broadcast team to listen to. While at times this gives me the added benefit of listening to legendary voices like Vin Scully, it also provides me the opportunity to listen to broadcasters talk about players that they know. Let’s face it, we’ve all heard a national broadcaster or an away broadcaster mispronounce a name or say something about a player that home town fans cringe at. Home town announcers tend to know the ins-and-outs of their players a bit more than visiting announcers who are basing their research on media guides and stats. Some of the worst home town announcers can still give more insight to a local player than even the best out of town announcer can.
A few years ago, during a spring training game, I tuned in to see a national broadcast do something truly unique. They did not send their own announcers, they did not find former players to talk about baseball in their day, and they did not send superstar names to cover the game. They grabbed an announcer from each team.
This year, during a game against the San Diego Padres, the St. Louis Cardinals Fox affiliate (Fox Sports Midwest) ran into some major technical difficulties. Their neighbors in the next booth over, calling the game for Fox Sports San Diego, were not having the same issues. What ensued was a combined broadcast booth for the rest of the game.
In both cases, information was the most accurate I have ever recalled. There was in depth information on every hitter, comments in context with every pitch, and a banter that was true conversation and did not feel rehearsed.
How would I fix the television broadcast booth? I’m glad you asked:
- One announcer from each team in the booth
- Each announcer provides play-by-play when his/her team is at bat
- The other announcer provides color commentary while his team is on defense
- Roaming interviewers should be from the home team and focused on the crowd
- A national “expert” would be provided for dugout interviews, inside information, etc.
The end result? A baseball game that is more informative and complete for all fans. Conversations on air that are taking place for the first time instead of two guys trying to build some chemistry. A more streamlined broadcast that is truly less biased towards either team.
Ultimately, I want things like Baseball Night In America to truly become a staple on television. Giving the fans true “experts” that are knowledgeable about the teams on the field as well as the game overall will improve the experience for all involved.