I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately. It seems like the Red Sox are on every night, so it was a surprise not to see them on tonight’s television listings. A rare day off after a series in New York, and before a series in Kansas City that begins tomorrow night. But no matter - game three of the Stanley Cup final round is on tonight: Bruins at St Louis. So there’s that.
But with baseball, I have noticed an enormous drop off in quality from the Red Sox television and radio broadcasts, to the ESPN and FOX Sports broadcasts. The national guys and gals are awful, spewing statistics and prepared talking points and narratives, whereas (Boston) local broadcasters are very much in the moment, providing insights into strategies and situations.
Maybe we are especially blessed here in Boston to have commentators like Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy on television, and a rotating group of radio companions to Joe Castiglione’s play-by-play calls, which this season have included Sean McDonough and Chris Berman.
National network commentators like Joe Buck, John Smoltz and the ESPN team always sound like they’d rather be somewhere else while they’re calling the game as they bombard us with statistics instead of solid analysis. It’s painful to listen to them. I hate when NESN (our local Red Sox affiliate) is preempted by the national networks. I would pay to watch the local broadcast instead. (The same is true with hockey as I am discovering with the Bruins in the Stanley Cup final round, and our knowledgeable local broadcast team of Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley replaced by the NBC/NBCSN team.)
Fortunately, I can get line online radio broadcasts for all major league teams for a few dollars a month on mlb.com, which makes up for some of this.
Have any of you noticed this phenomenon with teams you follow?