Philly Media Sports’s (PMS) Weblog

Phillies Telecasts: A Little Bit of Joy and a Whole Lot of Pain

Posted in Uncategorized by phillymediasports on June 2, 2008

There are terrific reasons to watch the Phillies on TV.  Even after all these years, Harry Kalas is still a treasure. And though he attracts a chorus of haters, I like Chris Wheeler and I enjoy his easy rapport with Harry.  Best of all, we finally have a team worth watching, featuring three of the best payers in the game.  You know who they are: J-Roll, Chase, and Ryan.

Still, there are a host of reasons why watching Phils telecasts induces earaches, nausea, and vertigo.  I watched today’s game (v. Marlins, June 1st) with extra care.  As a measure of my fastidious attention to duty and my selfless disregard for my own mental health, I even endured the mutterings of Matthews, Gary, that is, the Sarge of yesteryear, but now a meandering nincompoop who should be reduced to buck private and tossed in the brig. I mean when Matthews wobbles and limps toward the heart of the matter, he invariably winds up at the liver. Oh, pain.

And there’s a bunch of additional aggravation one must endure during every telecast.  One of the things that most rankles me is the inconsistent posting of the miles per hour pitching graphic.  It’s maddening.  We’ve become used to certain on-screen data. In fact, we’ve come to depend on them as aids in watching a ballgame.  The measuring of pitch speed provides useful, and sometimes dramatic, information.  Remember when the Phils first got Billy Wagner and the roar that would ensue when the speed gun rated his fastballs at 100 MPH?  Imagine how much less fun watching those pitches would have been without the posting of the radar gun results.

But for careful observers, there’s another great reason for enjoying the MPH graphic:  noting the difference in speed between a pitcher’s fastball and change-up.  It not only informs the game, it reinforces just how hard it is to hit a baseball.  When a batter faces a 95 mph fastball, followed by a 75 mph curveball, well, it’s amazing these guys can adjust and put a good swing on the pitch, let alone hit it. Of course, in this city of perennial losers (We all know there hasn’t been a championship here in 25 years.), there’s always something that blights our hopes, our dreams, our simple pleasures.

Why can’t the Phillies seem to figure out this MPH graphic?  Why must they be so unfailingly inept?  On one pitch, it’s visible, and on the next, it’s not.  Or it’s visible for a half inning and not the next.  Or it’s visible for seven pitches and not the next two, and then visible again.  Or it’s visible for 8½ innings, but disappears when Brad Lidge comes in to save the game in the bottom of the 9th.  

The bungling is astounding, aggravating, infuriating.  I mean here we are well into the new millennium, deep into the digital age, and the Phillies can’t figure out how to present a simple graphic. ESPN can to it.  FOX can do it.  Even the folks at TBS can do it.  But not our Fightin’s.

So. I made notes during the first three innings of today’s game with the Fish, and here’s my report on the displaying, or non-displaying, of the MPH graphic:

Top of the First –  Graphic not displayed for first 6 pitches. Graphic IS shown for the 7th pitch.  Then, graphic not shown for the final 5 pitches of the half inning.  Absurd!

Bottom of the First – Graphic displayed 9 times, not shown 7 times.

Top of the Second – Graphic displayed on every pitch.

Bottom of the Second – Graphic displayed 14 times, not shown 2 times.

Top of the Third – Graphic shown on all but one pitch.

Bottom of the Third – Graphic shown on all but one pitch.

What about this one?  Here’s what our TV brain trust showed us (or didn’t) during Jimmy Rollins’ at bat in the fourth inning:

Ball 1 –    No Graphic
Ball 2 –    Graphic is shown
Ball 3 –    No Graphic 
Strike 1 – Graphic is shown
Strike 2 – No Graphic

Rollins popped out on the next pitch which, in an odd allegiance to contrapuntal rhythm, the graphic was shown.

Note to Phillies executives:  Don’t you guys watch?  Is there no oversight of your telecasts?  Do you not mind being so transparently incompetent?  I guess we all know the answers.

And now for a new feature of Philly Media Sports (PMS) blog: “The Matthews Idiotic Analysis (sic) of the Game:” OK.  In the second inning, Jimmy Rollins reached first on a throwing error by Jorge Cantu, the Marlins third baseman.  Here’s Matthews’ ultra insightful commentary, and I quote:  “One of the reasons J-Roll got to the bag is that he got there quickly.”  Oh, how deep is that?  How astoundingly stupid can a man be?  How insulting to the intelligence of even the most casual fan. How utterly and exhaustingly inept.

Here’s another topic I’ve addressed before: Tom McCarthy’s annoying, banal intrusions on the telecasts.  Several times a game – DURING game action – the camera cuts away to McCarthy, who is usually hidden somewhere in the distant reaches of The Bank, sitting ever so chummily among the fans, yodeling about something of bewildering inconsequence.  These unwelcome upsets to the continuity of the broadcast intrude well into the unfolding of the game.

Here’s the latest and clearly the worst, most awful example of McCarthy’s hideous encroachment.  (Of course, when I say McCarthy, I’m well aware he’s merely the front man for Brooks’ appallingly bad decision making.)  Let’s go back to Rollins getting on base on Cantu’s throwing error. Well, J-Roll wound up on second on the play. Next, Shane Victorino hit a long fly to center field, and Rollins tagged and went to third. The throw was off, and was recovered by the Marlins pitcher, Andrew Miller, who promptly threw the ball away, allowing Rollins to score.

So, fans, what do you think was telecast during the play?  Right you are. The camera was focused on McCarthy, who had just begun another nothingness of a report.  All of a sudden, the on-field fireworks exploded and in a flash, Rollins scored a run on the duet of Marlins misplays. 

The camera hastily turned back to the field of play, while our Tom belatedly attempted to describe the action. Meanwhile, poor Harry was bewildered, most likely by the switch to McCarthy, and admitted he didn’t see the play, that he didn’t know what happened.  Luckily, Wheeler saw it and rescued the run.  Whoooee. Thank you so much, Rob Brooks, for embarrassing your entire TV crew and for bastardizing the content and flow of the game.

The disconnect continues.  Our boys are in first place in the National League East, and our telecasts are stumbling over rats in the basement.





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  1. […] post by phillymediasports Bookmark and Share: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  2. phillyphan said, on July 29, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Let’s get started now on paying off McCarthy and send him back to New York via the Circle Line. He is absolutely the worse. Ever. He just doesn’t SHUT UP!!!

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