Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Talking Heads - The Pittsburgh Pirates Edition

Last night, for the first time in 21 years, there was postseason baseball in a place called Pittsburgh.

You may have heard of it.  They have six gleaming Lombardi Trophies there, win by a team called the Steelers.

They once had a fairly proud baseball heritage, but not a whole lot of winning.  They have five World Series titles (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979) and became, essentially, an embarrassment of a franchise.  After 1992, they didn't play above .500 until this year.

So you would think, given the excitement of seeing the 'Burgh reemerge as a baseball town, that TBS (broadcasting last night's wild card game against Cincinnati) would want to let you get a sense of how great it was.


Instead, we get the continued tradition of worthless pregame banter by (no doubt) talented talking heads in a studio - or even on a set in the ballpark.

Who...the bleep...cares?

Seeing the introduction of these players helps allow us - the viewers - to meet them, especially if we've never seen them.  It allows us to get a sense of what it's like to be there.  Then the National Anthem, which was only sung by Pirates center field Andrew McCutcheon's MOTHER, brings the different emotions.  Then the ceremonial first pitch.

That's the pageantry.  The buildup.  The job that TV is supposed to play - to help us understand what it's like to be there.

It's been going on for years.  In countless postseason games at Yankee Stadium, we watched as the ceremonies took place before air time, god forbid Jeanne Zelasko or Matt Vasgersian might have some brilliant nugget that their producer wants to throw at us.

It's not their fault, of course, but somebody somewhere is making awful decisions.  They're forgetting what the fans want to see.

I guarantee you NOBODY in Pittsburgh (or Cincinnati) was in front of their TV going, "Great point, Keith! Can we have another one?"

It's ponderous.  The same goes for radio.  Crowd noise, with a public address announcer introducing each player, is wonderful.

You want your pregame? Change your start time.  Then babble all you want.

Incidentally, the brilliant Amanda Rykoff has more on this, including videos and tweets, over at Awful Announcing.

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