Siberian Baseball

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shut up and announce

It's no secret that I have a pretty short fuse for a handful of announcers in the big leagues.

I have one major annoyance on each end of the city here in Chicago and a few others spread out across the country who drive me totally nuts when they are the featured team on the Extra Innings package.

If I could clone Vin Scully, I totally would. That man could drop kick a kitten from his spot in the press box and I'd just pretend nothing happened and anxiously wait for the next Sandy Koufax story.

There's an interesting take on the Giants' announcers - Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper - who I can admit are a little over the top for some people. Call me names if you must, but I can appreciate two guys in a booth who get a little stir crazy in the middle of August. One the sliding scale of major league announcers, these two are certainly not the worst and don't seem to take themselves too seriously.

In an interesting column, Tim Goodman addresses the issue of what happens when the showmanship in the booth overtakes the game itself. The big piece for me is the idea - which seems pretty obvious now - that it's a conscious decision to make yourself the story when you have a feeling that the team will suck.

But the telecasts? Apparently nobody in Giants management sent a memo to their own TV producers to cut the clutter. With the games more interesting (if not always resulting in wins), viewers are instead forced to suffer through a relentless barrage of inane crowd shots. The camera crew loves people eating (what is it with watching people stuff their faces that can be deemed entertaining?) and often goes out of its way to find shots that Krukow is then obligated to talk about.

Thursday's game had two guys with ties walking - just walking - and that apparently demanded two separate shots. And while it's great to show kids at the ballpark, if only to dispel the notion that baseball is boring to the youth of America, Giants camera operators think it necessary to show every kid with a ticket, often focusing on them long after every member of the kid's extended family has seen Junior on the tube.

All told, it's a smart, thoughtful piece and applies to many of the telecasts being produced on a nightly basis. I'm with Goodman - clear out some of the clutter and let the games start standing on their own.

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