The dream pre-game
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.