The dream pre-game

DMZ · October 3, 2008 at 10:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

During the season I do a lot of complaining about the broadcasts, so in the spirit of constructive criticism I wanted to offer what they could do to make it interesting and useful. Instead of lame “keys to the game” that feature amazingly obvious points (“score early!” “prevent the Angels from scoring!”) how can they offer genuine insight?

Make the game-specific episodes include game-specific previews. The pre-game offers a perfect opportunity to talk about things in a longer form than can be done in a game and make the game itself more interesting.

Preview both pitchers, focusing on the opposing starter we’re less familiar with. What do they like to throw to left and right handed hitters? What do those pitches look like? Show video — FSN has access to a massive video library they can slice and dice as they want. One of the things I hear a lot is “how do I recognize different pitches?” and the pre-game offers a chance to educate people on what different pitches thrown by different pitchers look like.

And what does the pitcher do well? When they struggle, what are they doing wrong? And show video!

An hour before the game, when lineups are known, if there’s anything interesting going on, talk about that. Who’s out, and who’s in that we haven’t seen (show video!)? Who’s being rested, who’s injured, and who might we see in relief or pinch-hitting duties — and who’s not available because they’ve pitched two days in a row, or are nursing a sore hamstring?

There’s also a whole level of series-level analysis that can be done and isn’t. What does the opposing team do well, and what do they stink at? Compared to every other team, and the Mariners, what do they do differently? Who’s stealing on the roster, and how fast are they? How do you try and get their best hitter out (video!) and what defensive positioning changes are used against which hitters (video!)?

There could be two major blocks to doing this kind of a program:
– It’s harder and more expensive. It requires someone to work out all of that stuff, pull video, and edit together profiles. It is comparitively easy to do the current version: one camera, a desk, and Bill blathering. Cut to a pre-recorded segment of Sims on-field. Cut to an interview with someone.
– It may well be that as long as the current pre-game’s drawing a lot of fans, especially compared to other teams, they’ll be convinced that it’s doing something right, and be reluctant to make any change. Maybe fans don’t want to be educated, and they don’t care about in the matchups!

Still — I end up watching every M’s broadcast for road games, and every time I tune in early and watch the pre-game, I feel disappointed and frustrated at the wasted opportunity.


14 Responses to “The dream pre-game”

  1. Evan on October 3rd, 2008 10:08 am

    I think you’re just destined to be unhappy, Derek. But hey – it’s almost winter. You’ve got 100 consecutive days of rain to look forward to.

  2. Matthew Carruth on October 3rd, 2008 10:24 am

    I think this dream scenario is a little too close to factual and too far away from promotional, which is all it is in reality. It would be hard (for them) to compare the other teams to the Mariners in any good sense if it makes the Mariners look bad.

  3. phismi on October 3rd, 2008 10:27 am

    I never watch the pregame for the very reasons you state. If you’ll excuse me saying so, there is no there there. I wonder if the less-involved fan (less than the average USSM visitor) would be interested in in-depth analysis or if the pregame show is just background noise while they eat dinner.

  4. Carson on October 3rd, 2008 11:01 am

    You do realize that if they did somethnig like this, you may finally get your wish for pre-game chemistry reports, right?

    My faith in FSN teaching the casual fan anything worth while is low.

  5. bakomariner on October 3rd, 2008 11:02 am

    I am torn…I usually watch it, but I hate it. Bill is TERRIBLE…sounds like a friggin idiot. But what else is there? As Derek pointed out, it’s one of those “if it ain’t broken…” typed deals. If people are watching, why change it.

    It really is awful and I pray it’s upgraded for the next year.

  6. msb on October 3rd, 2008 11:14 am

    It really is awful and I pray it’s upgraded for the next year.

    especially as this year they sank to New York Vinnie and Nicole and her Zaloumis.

  7. Joe C on October 3rd, 2008 11:16 am

    Did it ever cross your mind that they’d rather do their 547th interview with Raul than actually try to figure out why the team sucks because they are trying to improve their ratings in a bad year? I have a feeling that if they were to show more detailed analysis, they’d teach the fans exactly why the team stinks and even less people would watch the game.

  8. jzalman on October 3rd, 2008 11:41 am

    “In the year three thousand and thirty,
    Everybody want to be a producer…”

  9. great gonzalez on October 3rd, 2008 12:39 pm

    I never watch the current pregame show. I would watch the dream pregame Derek describes.

  10. the other benno on October 3rd, 2008 12:54 pm

    While I’d love to see a real and informative pre-game show, I think what the networks see the pre-game show as is a way to get a lot of advertising money versus minimal production cost. It seems like they go to commercial about every 3 minutes whenever I do watch a pre-game regardless of network or sport.

  11. Steve T on October 3rd, 2008 2:35 pm

    The problem is, they have no tools. They could be asking those questions, but they have no idea how to go about finding the answers. What does the other team do well? You’d just get the same inane unrooted blather you get now, because they have no clue what “do well” or “do poorly” means.

    Which reminds me: the crew doing the postseason on The Baseball Network make me want to pound sharpened pencils into my ears until they touch in the middle.

  12. Evan on October 3rd, 2008 3:34 pm

    I don’t think most fans want to examine the upcoming game and consider the actual likelihood of winning.

    I think most fans just want to be excited and cheer for their team.

    If the pre-game came out and said “this team is way better than us at everything”, no one would watch the game.

  13. Oolon on October 3rd, 2008 4:19 pm

    I never watch the pre-game show but I often do pretty much what Derek is suggesting by going through the Game Notes from each of the teams involved in the game. They’re free and on the site here:

    These Game Notes are the same as the ones distributed in the press box before each game.

    They often have a lot of very interesting information about the players and the teams. Worth checking out.

  14. msb on October 3rd, 2008 9:02 pm

    The problem is, they have no tools.

    or too many Tools.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.