Siberian Baseball

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Oh, you're so clever - Knock It Off, Bert Edition

Who's to say where the phenomenon of color commentary guys screwing around with the telestrator came from? Personally, my money is on John Madden, whose real-time annotation of groin sweat coming off of 300-pound linemen marked the beginning of the end for the technology, but that's neither here nor there.

Now every bored monkey with access is crudely marking up screens across America as they try to explain a concept that really didn't need annotation in the first place.

Football, basketball, hockey - these are all sports that lend themselves to the technology. You have set plays taking place on an open-ended field, but baseball? Really?

A runner has four places they can possibly be. First, second, third or home. OK, five places if you count the dugout - that's it. Batters are going to move the barrel of the bat from off their shoulder to in front of their bodies. Considering that the football guys have a hard enough time drawing squiggly arrows to the correct guard/tackle gap, I doubt the baseball guys have a level of control with the images to show the correct arm slot for the evening's starting pitcher.

Hell, when I use the same type of technology to sign a credit card receipt at Home Depot, it looks like I signed my name with with my foot. None of this bodes well for baseball color guys trying to make a point.

So what does that leave?

Repeated annoyances from the likes of the Twins' Bert Blyleven, that's where.

While it's nice that fans who bring the "Circle me, Bert" signs to games are given 100 bucks worth of Lotto tickets, the whole thing is a little annoying when signs litter the Dome before games and block views when you're coming back from inning breaks.

The strange thing is that it's much more annoying to watch the whole thing play out on TV, where Blyleven takes the responsibility of circling random fans a touch too seriously, like a younger sibling in charge of counting change for toll roads on a family trip. Give the guy just a thimbleful of power, I swear...

Incidentally, it's been a blast for me to watch games on this road trip, where they failed to bring the equipment along - see above for reasons why it's completely unecessary - and he's pouted a bit and felt the need to alert the audience to the fact that he's not actually circling and it's being added digitally by production staff in the satellite truck.

I have no idea what this is about, but he's either very modest and doesn't want to take credit for such perfectly drawn circles or wants to absolve himself of any issues that might arise from such utter amateurs circling fans without his years of experience.

(Image from WGN Broadcasting)

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