Mr. Blogtober: Neither Best Nor Seven - Broadcasting & Cable

Mr. Blogtober: Neither Best Nor Seven

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So it was: A mercifully short World Series.

The best-of-seven had its minimum possible outcome, with four games, no extra innings, not even the bottom of the ninth in the first two. It could not have been any more efficient.

From the start, there was a feeling that the Red Sox and Rockies were not evenly matched. The now well-documented free tacos for America promotion still hung in there as the most interesting thing to come of the series. There were no new kings of the game anointed; there were no epic or historic moments. The legacy of this year’s Fall Classic seems be a national case of stomach cramps looming in the near future.

Throughout the series, our familiar duumvirate of Buck and McCarver seemed, at best, bored. Their reliably silly between-pitch banter felt flat, almost as if they knew no one cared. The consistent mentions of the thin atmosphere and expansive dimensions of Denver’s Coors Field began to sound like little more than filler. Sure, it’s a big place, but reminding us a few times per inning was overkill. Even their employers seemed asleep at the switch. The network’s department of obscure and useless statistics seemed to take much of the entire series off.

Perhaps nothing indicated the overall apathy better then a moment from last night’s finale. In a move that crystal-clearly demonstrates how utterly uninteresting Fox regarded this series, in the top of the eighth inning, Buck cut away to the network’s other man in the stands, Ken Rosenthal, who was holding a hot piece of news in his hand.

He relayed how he had just spoken with Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras. Boras, an organism on par with a parasitic Cestode, reported to Kenny that A-Rod would be filing for free agency. Here we are, one and a half innings away from the crowning of the World Series champion, and we’re treated to a tale about a player who has nothing to do with the on-field activity. What kind of a statement is it that, in a team sport, news of one player who hadn’t been on the field in two weeks, trumps the championship itself? A-Rod is the game’s greatest player, and he is well versed in the modern economics of this game. But how does the network play along with an ugly media stunt like this?

But I digress.

In all experiences in life, there is always something to be gained. Each little moment should be regarded as, at the very least, a learning experience–stored away for future recall to tackle an unforeseen issue lying in your path.

So what did I learn from the 2007 World Series?

I learned that the broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are no longer as objectionable as I used to regard them.

I learned that Fox can cram seven games’ worth of commercials into a four-game series. As a bonus to this fact, I learned that no one needs to see the first pitch upon return from a commercial break.

I learned that important American brands like Taco Bell and Chevrolet are vital players in this greatest of games. (This realization came to me as I was suffering from searing gas pains while cursing my rented Malibu and its seemingly disposable alternator.)

I learned that watching four games of uninteresting baseball will beat watching one episode of According to Jim any time…no contest.

And finally, I learned that 2008 will bring a new season, and it is likely that for the fourth season in a row, we’ll see two new teams rising to the top of their respective leagues. But we’ll still have our friends at Fox to guide us through.  

This season displayed two real milestones. We saw what might be the last of the 300-game winners and watched one of baseball’s greatest seasons yet. And don’t forget there was a balmy August night in San Francisco when the asterisk became a statistical necessity.

There seem to be no dynasties any more, and I don’t expect to see one again anytime soon. In years to come, we’ll come to rely on off the field familiarity. Joe and Tim will be there, as will the odd promotions, the hackneyed dramatic montages, the infinite corporate pitch jobs, and the branding of every single element of each broadcast.

Perhaps I’m being a little too cynical, but that may just be the taco sauce talking.

By Mr. Blogtober

Better known as Mr. Blogtober, Jim Cheney is a failed jazz musician who likes to write. The author of the TV-sports column “Idiot Box” in the now-defunct New York Sports Express, Cheney works in an industry with little or nothing to do with either sports or television.

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