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August 17, 2009

Changing Speeds

Behind the Screen at Fox

by Ken Funck

For many baseball fans, especially those like me who don't reside in a major league city, broadcast television is the most common way to enjoy a game. Don't weep for us-watching a game at home in high definition, with player close-ups and Super Slo-Mo shots of Tim Wakefield's knuckleball to enrapture us, is in many ways better than attending the game in person. But as I've written before in this space, the statistics displayed and discussed during a baseball broadcast haven't evolved along with the technology used to display them-even straightforward measures like OBP and SLG have not yet found their way into standard use. To me, this seems like a waste of an immense opportunity to improve the casual baseball fan's understanding of the game, which in turn would create more devoted fans and better ratings.

One man who shares my enthusiasm for watching a ballgame on TV is Pete Macheska, the Emmy Award-winning lead producer for Fox Sports' MLB coverage. "I'm of the opinion-and I always have fights with my friends about this-but I love sports on television," Macheska says. "Because I've got everything at my disposal. You've got the best pictures, you've got the replays, you've got the statistics; you've got everything."

As the producer for the most important Fox baseball telecasts-the playoffs, the World Series, the All-Star Game, and the lead national broadcast each Saturday-Macheska's opinion matters. It's his job to set the template for how a Fox baseball broadcast is run, how a game looks and feels on the air, how it entertains as well as how it informs. That's why I was glad to be able to speak with him recently about his broadcast philosophy, and more specifically his views on the use of statistics during Fox broadcasts.

Macheska began his career as a broadcast associate working on stats and graphics, and makes no bones about being an old-school guy who runs an old-school broadcast, particularly with regard to statistics. As an example of his philosophy, one of his big concerns is that sports broadcasts in general have started to use too many stats, and that these stats are not being appropriately integrated. "My feeling nowadays is there's so many stats, and the people that are most important-the announcers and the producer and the director-are not in control of those stats." Macheska explains that many broadcasts, especially football, transfer control of the Lower Third stats (displayed near the bottom of the screen) to someone other than the director, who then adds statistics to the broadcast without necessarily coordinating them with what's being shown on the screen, leading to a disjointed production.

"It used to be Randy Moss would catch a pass, and you took a shot of Randy Moss and you'd say it's his third catch for 35 yards and a touchdown. The director had to put that stat in. Now, you could be showing a shot of Steve Spagnuolo [head coach of the Rams], and the [Randy Moss] stat goes in because Moss just caught a pass. The front of the truck is no longer in control of this, and I think [they] should be. And they give that person free rein to put up whatever they want. It's not my philosophy to just shove as much information as you possibly can down your throat, because I don't think that's doing what's best for the viewer."

With Macheska in charge, it's clear that Fox baseball producers and directors retain a lot of control over what statistics are displayed during a game, and how they're integrated into the broadcast. To their credit, I can happily report that I never feel overwhelmed by the volume of statistics they feed me during a Fox telecast-on the contrary, I usually feel like I'd rather see more. So I asked Macheska about OBP, a fairly straightforward stat that's starting to show up on the broadcast templates of other networks, but not on Fox. His response points to another factor that has an impact on the stats viewers get to see.

"Yeah, we've talked about stuff like that. But I think if you listen to Tim McCarver's philosophy, on-base percentage is different for Albert Pujols compared to a guy who can run. I think what's pertinent is that a .429 on-base percentage for Albert Pujols, someone who's not as speedy as, say, Jose Reyes-it matters differently. That's Tim's philosophy, and we just sort of follow that."

Obviously the on-air talent, especially the lead analysts, have a say in what stats will be displayed and discussed. Does the production staff make different decisions as to which statistics to show depending on who's calling the game? "To a point, absolutely," Macheska says. "Eric Karros may have a different opinion than Tim McCarver or Mark Grace, so you may see [differences]. But basically we go by Tim more or less when we set the template, and on something like on-base percentage we just decided not to. I'm not saying we shouldn't revisit that, but I think Tim is the one that's not... he wouldn't be against it, but I don't think he's as thrilled with that as others are. If you put on-base percentage on there, you're making the graphic longer, and sometimes less is more. Each spring you go through these types of decisions and you ask, what's the risk/reward? If you feel it's not adding a lot, then you leave it off. And the other thing is, sometimes you can put up a statistic and the announcer doesn't believe in it, or if it needs explaining they don't explain it properly. Then what have we really accomplished except confusing people?"

Yet it seems to me that OBP is pretty straightforward-we're not talking about WARP or WXRL here, but a metric that can be roughly described as the percentage of time the hitter gets on base. I would think that the growth of fantasy baseball has improved the statistical awareness of many casual fans, and increased their acceptance of metrics beyond the basics. Has Fox noticed this as well?

"I think there is more acceptance to statistics, absolutely," Macheska says. "And again, I'm not against it, but our philosophy is this: I don't want them reading it. I don't want you reading television. We want to inform you, and believe me, our goal is that we don't want any broadcast to be left where you read something in the paper that we didn't say or show graphically in our game. But that said, we don't want to load you up with so many graphics that you're just reading television."

Macheska is especially concerned about making sure the Fox broadcast isn't too busy for a casual viewer. "People are used to Bloomberg Television, where there's all kinds of stats over there. I'm just of the opinion-and I think many of our announcers are of the opinion-that we try to put up the pertinent stats and we're not just throwing stuff up to throw stuff up. If you want that, go on a computer. We're trying to put on a good broadcast, and again this is just solely our opinion; that doesn't mean I'm right or I'm wrong. I just think there's so much stuff, and every little bit of it is going to block your screen, and the most important thing is you want to see what's happening on the field."

Personally, I think that's a very valid point: there's little value in just showing statistics unless they're enlightening to the viewer and can be discussed by the announcers. Bad statistics (say, those based on tiny sample sizes) are probably worse than no statistics at all. Why clutter up that beautiful high-definition shot of Carlos Zambrano stomping angrily around the mound after not getting a strike call with some random pitching statistic that nobody will understand? So, I take the point... and yet, I still think there's vast room for improvement in the quality of information shown during a broadcast. For me, though, the problem lies in coming to a common understanding of which statistics are both enlightening and understandable. And it's here that the proudly defiant old-school beliefs held by, say, Tim McCarver and Pete Macheska make me wonder how possible that is.

"Everybody's got opinions," Macheska says, "so that doesn't mean I'm right or I'm wrong. But I think we can get so carried away with stats sometimes. Take Joba Chamberlain, for instance; he can only pitch 160 innings. Well, I know the game has changed, I understand that, but to me... I'm a little bit old-school on that. Hey, if I were a pitcher I wouldn't want to come out of a game if I'm pitching a shutout. And I think if he throws 100 pitches... I know it's the philosophy now, but I'm still of the old school, let him finish the game. I think sometimes you fall in love with things like on-base percentage. Okay, so the guy walks, but he can't get to second base! So what good is he? The reason you want to get on base is to score-the ultimate goal is winning, you want to win, and we fall so in love with all these statistics. And GMs... how about the heart of a guy? You can't measure that. It's GMs, it's just the way the game is played now. But we have [on our broadcast team] one of the catchers that caught Bob Gibson. I mean, the guy just never came out. What's wrong with that? Are we gonna ruin Joba if he goes 180 [pitches]? I don't know."

Well, I don't know either, but I have my suspicions. And it's interesting to me to see that general managers as a group, whose jobs depend upon the on-field success of their team in the here and now, may have started to embrace philosophies that broadcast professionals, whose success isn't tied to wins and losses, are just plain uncomfortable with. To a fan like me, it's hard to imagine a downside to displaying OBP or SLG-but clearly others disagree. As Macheska says, fans that want more information can always go online. But that only ensures that casual fans aren't introduced to anything more insightful during a normal broadcast. Am I crazy to say that exposure to better information will lead to greater understanding of the game, and thus a greater devotion to it, as it has for me?

Macheska doesn't think that's crazy. "I wouldn't disagree with that. And that's why I said, if it's a graphic or a statistic that means something that the average fan or even the really guru stats guys like-we're not opposed to using it. If you guys have a good stat that you think is important, I'm all ears. Don't feel like I'm totally just set in my ways. If you guys can explain something to me and say 'hey,' I'm all for it."

Even though no one is likely to confuse me for a stats guru, with such an opening I couldn't resist putting in one last plug for OBP (and a few other things). So now my dearest dream is to tune into Game One of the 2009 World Series on Fox, and watch Ryan Theriot lead off against Mark Buehrle with Theriot's .360 OBP proudly displayed below him. Anything's possible, right?

Ken Funck is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ken's other articles. You can contact Ken by clicking here

48 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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dwinning

"I think sometimes you fall in love with things like on-base percentage. Okay, so the guy walks, but he can’t get to second base! So what good is he?"

Fail.

Aug 17, 2009 10:21 AM
rating: 26
 
schulertg

Very interesting how one network's philosophy evolves. I hadn't watched much ESPN Sunday Night Baseball in recent years until now, having an baby who doesn't like to sleep at night. I was very happily surprised to see OPS displayed alongside the more traditional stats, as well as occasional reference to league average and how the batter compared to it. I also heard Joe Morgan make several very cogent points about how power hitters shouldn't waste time bunting or stealing bases. Sounds like some evolution for the better!

Aug 17, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: 4
 
John Carter

Good for you, Matt. I've always yearned for interviewers to take a less passive role in their interviews. It seems you've broken some sacred rule.

Did you explain that OBA is as much about "not making an out" as it is about "getting on base"? Did you explain that you don't need a lot of speed to get to second base - or even score in most scoring situations. If Pujols batted lead-off, he'd probably lead the league in runs.

Aug 17, 2009 10:31 AM
rating: 2
 
John Carter

Woops, I mean "Ken".

Aug 17, 2009 10:33 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

It's an affliction my brain has that when I learn of two people at the same time with similarities in their names, I will forever mix up their names unless I pause to make sure I have it right. Both Matt Swartz and Ken have short WASPy first names and one syllable Germanic last names with a triple consonant. Both writers also stood out in the Idol contest for their glib writing style, though, I did enjoy Ken's humor and logical constructs much more.

Aug 17, 2009 21:47 PM
rating: 0
 
kcboomer

I guess this explains why Fox's baseball telecasts, as announced by Buck and McCarver, are so god-awful.

Aug 17, 2009 10:35 AM
rating: 26
 
bleaklewis

Not that I dislike Buck as a TV "personality" but he has to be one of the blandest, boring big time game callers on television.

Aug 17, 2009 13:17 PM
rating: 10
 
Chad

Nice article. I think "LOL Luddites" should be a genre of sports writing all its own...
And oh, that should probably be "180 [innings]," right?

Aug 17, 2009 10:37 AM
rating: 4
 
dconner

My TV pet peeve regards postseason statistical displays. Whether or not you see Ryan Theriot's OBP in that first at-bat of Game 1, that's probably the last time you'll see any of his regular season statistics on the screen. From then on, they shift to "Theriot is 1-for-6 with one walk and two strikeouts in the postseason" mode.

Aug 17, 2009 10:49 AM
rating: 8
 
misterjohnny
(925)

Arrggghhh! That is my biggest pet peeve of the playoffs. I'm a National League guy, but in the playoffs I watch both leagues. So here are a bunch of players I'm not very familiar with, and you show me what he's done for the last two days? How am I supposed to know if the guy is any good? If he's a power guy or a speed guy or a glove man?

There should be a law against showing playoff stats in baseball. Somebody call Congress, maybe they can do some good in their next circus hearings.

Aug 17, 2009 11:27 AM
rating: 11
 
ashitaka

I also hate the eventual "Theriot is 12-for-47 in his career against the White Sox." What a hitter has done vs. a dozen different pitchers over a four year period is not particularly telling.

Aug 17, 2009 13:07 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

Now that I've been watching a little more closely, it seems to me that you see less of those sort of small or meaningless sample size things on FOX than I would have expected. While they're not showing me much that's useful, they're also not showing me much that's useless. So to be fair, "Less Is More" accomplishes that, at least.

Aug 17, 2009 19:54 PM
 
ashitaka

Deference to the Tim McCarver Philosophy of Baseball Statistics is precisely why I have my laptop open when I'm watching baseball games.

Aug 17, 2009 12:14 PM
rating: 13
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

And it sounds like FOX is fine with that. Which, to me, is unfortunate -- but it's their broadcast.

Aug 17, 2009 20:08 PM
 
eighteen

At first I didn't believe someone so ignorant about baseball could be in charge of broadcasting baseball games; but then I started thinking about all the idiot announcers the game has been cursed with, and I realized: virtually no one associated with producing an MSM baseball product knows anything about at all about the game.

Aug 17, 2009 12:39 PM
rating: 11
 
Brian Cartwright

I guess then that Albert Pujols' batting average is more important than Luis Castillo's, because he gets more total bases on them. Oh wait, that's slugging average. These new stats are so confusing.

Aug 17, 2009 12:52 PM
rating: 18
 
baserip4

Well, this just puts the evidence in writing: Tim McCarver must go.

Aug 17, 2009 13:02 PM
rating: 11
 
jtreadway

To me, Fox's broadcasts have almost become unwatchable. McCarver and Buck, pointless graphics, too many quick cuts and extreme close-ups - I really feel robbed, especially when it comes post-season time because Fox is the only game in town.

For my money, of the national broadcastrs, I think TBS does a fantastic job.

Aug 17, 2009 13:04 PM
rating: 5
 
Justin

"But we have [on our broadcast team] one of the catchers that caught Bob Gibson."

So I guess that makes him an authority on baseball statistics? This whole article is really depressing.

Aug 17, 2009 13:16 PM
rating: 12
 
nateetan

Anybody who employs Thom Brennaman is by definition not someone to be regarded as relevant to anything.

Aug 17, 2009 13:52 PM
rating: 6
 
ZacharyRD

Ken - I really liked your style during the contest, but I wish you had just printed more of an unedited interview here - I was having a really hard time following what you said during the interview and what you're just editorializing about now.

If you have the full interview transcript, would it be possible to post it, un-adorned, as a companion piece (or blog post)? I would love to read it.

Thanks.

Aug 17, 2009 13:56 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

Thought about doing it that way, but it just wouldn't read very smoothly.

Here's what I asked him, if that'll help you sort it through: I asked him to describe his broadcast philosophy, explain the process used to decide what stats are shown, asked about OBP specifically, whether the stats shown differ for different announces, whether he thought general audiences were more becoming more receptive to stats, and whether he agreed that better knowledge of stats lead to more devoted fans. Other than that, I just asked him to clarify a few things and repeated a few things back to him to make sure I understood his points. He was a good interview in that he volunteered a lot of information, and I didn't have to prompt him much.

Aug 17, 2009 20:26 PM
 
evo34

I would agree. This was an interesting topic, but not a very readable presentation. A true Q&A interview would have been best. If not possible, then a more integrated use of quotes would have been appropriate. As it is, the author inserts the implied questions before every implied answer the interviewee gives. So you get a manufactured interview that the reader is not sure really occurred in the way is was written.

Aug 18, 2009 01:27 AM
rating: -1
 
BurrRutledge

At first I felt that way, but then I got it. Ken is giving us his thought process as he hears the answer he's getting, and that forms the framework for his followup question. I liked this format just fine.

Aug 19, 2009 15:13 PM
rating: 2
 
JoshuaL

Ken - great job pulling the curtain back a bit on what goes on behind the scenes of a Fox broadcast. At least know we know the reason the broadcast is subpar ... and I agree it is depressing.

On the other hand, I would love ESPN to cut out the running stats on the top of the screen that show how each batter does on a given count. (e.g. "Bay is 12 for 55, 2 HR, 9 RBI in a 1-1 count.") It's there for the whole game! Talk about cluttering up a broadcast with useless stats.

Aug 17, 2009 14:00 PM
rating: 5
 
lurgee21

to be fair, those numbers are usually tucked up at the top of the screen and not really cluttering up the main action.

Aug 17, 2009 20:15 PM
rating: 1
 
wonkothesane1

Pete Macheska's example with football and the Randy Moss stat coming on the screen is ridiculous. While baseball and football both have fantasy followings, football is far more accessible and every play matters more. You want to keep your fans informed of totals. Otherwise, you risk them going to check their computers for fantasy totals and missing commercials (or even the in-game commercials). In baseball, this isn't necessary because fantasy numbers are obvious (it's a lot easier to tell that my guy hit a grand slam or recorded a strikeout than it is to tell if my fantasy WR just got his 100 yard bonus or my DE got a half sack or full sack), so he can get away with it.

Aug 17, 2009 14:37 PM
rating: 0
 
Drew

"And GMs... how about the heart of a guy? You can’t measure that."

Good grief - he's pretty much a caricature of baseball's "old school" mentality. I simply can not believe that the network takes its entire direction on stats from Tim McCarver.

"I think what’s pertinent is that a .429 on-base percentage for Albert Pujols, someone who’s not as speedy as, say, Jose Reyes—it matters differently."

Reading something like this is just sad. Colby Rasmus is the Cardinals' best baserunner and he is a whopping THREE RUNS better than Pujols (who is about average overall).

Aug 17, 2009 14:55 PM
rating: 8
 
Dr. Dave

Clearly, when Albert Pujols makes an out, it doesn't hurt the team as much as an out made by a fast guy with no power. Um, right? Isn't that what McCarver just said?

Aug 17, 2009 18:41 PM
rating: 3
 
GMAN29

Macheska, must be the Dayton Moore of baseball broadcasting (if they got together they could start a team of the horrendously out of touch). If he got anymore old school, they may as well show the old games of Bob Gibson's catcher playing.

Aug 17, 2009 16:07 PM
rating: 3
 
gaucho777

Oh my, it's worse than I thought! I'm disheartened to find how much McCarver dictates what stats are shown on the Fox broadcasts. Showing OBP wouldn't confuse the average viewer. It would just confuse McCarver and Macheska. That Pujols/Reyes analogy is ridiculous. But then, McCarver is also the man who said: "Giambi walks too much. He's always clogging up the bases with all that walking." Maybe someone "old school" like Earl Weaver should sit Timmy down to explain the importance of not making outs.

Aug 17, 2009 17:00 PM
rating: 7
 
John Carter

McCarver is the "star" - the "talent", if you will. Macheska, of course, is the producer, but he can't be feeding something to McCarver that McCarver thinks is nonsense. Sure, we'd appreciate it, but McCarver would come off as phony or disdainful and it would be too off script. It wouldn't sell the game. You would have McCarver doing one sales pitch with the statistical feed saying something else.

It is for this annoying reason that you never hear broadcasters disagree with each other. That drives me crazy. McCarver or Morgan might say something completely wrong, but the other guys will never challenge them. It is boring and frustrating, but it keeps up the charade for the masses that McCarver or Morgan or whoever is the great expert on all matters baseball.

Aug 17, 2009 19:44 PM
rating: 2
 
Vince Galloro

First off, this was a good article on the whole. Kudos to Macheska for agreeing to the interview, too. It at least shows a willingness to discuss the issue, which is refreshing.

Second, as I read Macheska's comments, I thought he was mostly explaining that McCarver's opinions drive the stats that they use, and then, as the interview went on, Macheska was just taking his guy's side. He has no incentive to contradict McCarver publicly.

Aug 18, 2009 08:08 AM
rating: 2
 
John Carter

Good points. Agreed.

Aug 18, 2009 10:26 AM
rating: 0
 
TaylorSanders

Jon Miller sometimes repeats what Morgan has said in a way that makes it sound subtly ridiculous. I love it when that happens.

Aug 18, 2009 16:37 PM
rating: 4
 
BurrRutledge

Couldn't agree more. However, you should also note that the producer puts the guy in front of the camera.

Aug 19, 2009 15:19 PM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

I think that was Dusty Baker talking about Joey Votto

Aug 20, 2009 09:33 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian Cartwright

Switching to a football comparison...I was reading comment at steelerfury.com about John Gruden's announcing debut - mixed opinions, but people liked that he was willing to challenge Jaws on things like the 'Hines Ward Rule' and Michael Vick's signing with the Eagles.

The Steelers are mostly on CBS, which after nearly every play puts on-screen the cumulative stats for the RB or QB & receiver. I hate watching Fox, because they almost never show in game stats.

Aug 17, 2009 20:56 PM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Avery

I don't get all the vitriol directed at the director. Sounds to me like the guy has a general philosophy:

(1) Less is more, so don't clutter the screen
(2) Deffer to the on-air talent; don't put up stuff they don't want to talk about/don't think is worthwhile

Both of these seem to me like good strategies. I don't really want an information overload when I'm watching a game I care about. Maybe if I'm just watching whatever's on, I'll want to see a crawl and other "around the league stuff", but generally, I just want to watch the game. And if the broadcasters don't like a stat or don't want to talk about it, why would I try to force it down their throat? Get a broadcaster in there who "gets" OBP or OPS and would talk about it in a useful way and I'm sure they'd be happy to throw it onto the screen.

Aug 17, 2009 22:04 PM
rating: 2
 
TaylorSanders

Please!!! The guy could barely contains his anitpathy for all the 'fancy new stats', like OBP. What's with the apologetics? McCarver and his like are just plain wrong to insist that OBP is not important for power hitters. They create an incorrect impression of the game and misplace the credit for success. Now that we know better, it really is an injustice. And McCarver and Morgan do that because they don't understand and resent it.

Aug 18, 2009 16:40 PM
rating: 2
 
BurrRutledge

Actually, I think you have it backwards. The producer picks his on-air talent. Macheska is a self-professed "old school" baseball guy, and he picks his announcers.

His own Pujols/Reyes/OBP example shows that he does not understand the value of an out. And hence, he has selected baseball announcers with a similar level of understanding: Outs are going to happen no matter what... but stealing a base - that's talent! Not just anybody can steal a base.

If, somehow, Macheska had selected an announcer who understood and appreciated the advanced stats we know and love, he still would not put up advanced stats on the screen, because he simply doesn't understand how they explain the game better than the ones he does understand.

Ken, great interview.

Aug 19, 2009 15:33 PM
rating: 1
 
Nater1177

A more pertinent question, how much longer can McCarver be allowed to be the 'talent'. Do they do studies on viewer satisfaction? I mean noone I know who watches baseball thinks McCarver is any good. 'Unwatchable', 'I turn on the radio', etc, etc. Wouldn't this show up in some sort of market research? Are we being forced to endure him because of 'casual fans'? Are they the ones approving of his antiquated philosophy? I will admit to being a little surprised at the producers willingness to effectively throw a lot of the 'blame' for what is used on McCarver. Of course this interview and website are about as likely as to be cruised by Tim as one written in Chinese.

Aug 18, 2009 08:03 AM
rating: 2
 
TaylorSanders

The people you know aren't McCarver's core audience. Your friends are probably not the average fan.

Aug 18, 2009 16:41 PM
rating: 1
 
jnossal

Is there a Fire Tim McCarver website?

Aug 18, 2009 11:15 AM
rating: 3
 
Richard Bergstrom

Is Fox necessarily wrong though? I mean, let's play devil's advocate here. People who want lots of stats for their games are also the same ones subscribing to MLB.tv, MLB GameDay, Fantasy Sports, etc. They might even stream podcasts from their favorite radio station. In other words, they supplement their TV broadcast with other sources of information. If so, does it really matter as much what stats are talked about?

Are there those who watch a baseball game specifically to listen to McCarver? Maybe, maybe not. But even if the broadcast is muted because it's playing in a sports bar or something, I understand the point about not showing too much in the way of graphics.

Now personally, I'd like more efficient usage of stats... I think saying someone is 1 for 3 lifetime against a pitcher is a waste of space. But I can't outright disagree with Fox because I figure those who want to supplement their baseball viewing experience will figure out some way to do so.

Aug 18, 2009 15:03 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

You're right -- individuals that want other options can find them. They seek them out because they want more information than FOX (as an example) gives them -- and they do that because they're AWARE that there's more information to be had. But what about people that aren't? Watching the Saturday Game of the Week wouldn't do anything but confirm what they already think they know: a .300 hitter is a good hitter, even if he draws no walks and hits only singles; a pitcher with 9 wins at the All Star Break is having a great year, even if he has a 4.90 ERA and pitches in a low offense park; etc. Wouldn't it be nice if broadcasters didn't, whether accidentally or on purpose, perpetuate those sort of beliefs?

I'm not saying FOX is wrong for doing what they do. I'm just saying, selfishly, that it's a missed opportunity to allow casual viewers to learn just a little more.

Aug 18, 2009 19:56 PM
 
BurrRutledge

There's nothing selfish about wanting to transform the Fox baseball telecast into one that is more informative to its audience, Ken.

Kudos to you and BP for getting this interview with Pete. Every baseball fan website and blog from informed fans should link to this interview.

If Pete is truly amenable to new stats, I'd be happy to have a "beer summit" with him at the nearest ESPN bar to explain the value of an out and importance of OBP (e.g. not making an out).

Aug 19, 2009 15:43 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

I'm all for education, I even have a Master's Degree in it... but considering the quest for (and decline of) ratings for MLB broadcasts, I can understand the idea behind keeping it simple to attract more viewers.

On the other hand, that particular MLB Fox crew might need to give their viewers a bit more credit too. Even on other Fox sports shows, you'll see poker shows discussing and explaining probabilities, football shows discussing QB release times. Regional Fox Sports Network broadcasts also use a different blend of stats. I know out here in Colorado, they talk about OBP a lot (because of Todd Helton).

You're also right in another aspect. I used to consider myself pretty sabremetrics savvy but the Idol competition showed me that there's a lot of other kinds of work (Tango, etc.) going on that I didn't know about.

Aug 21, 2009 10:03 AM
rating: 0
 
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2009-07-28 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: A Fox Screen Test
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MORE CHANGING SPEEDS
2009-09-10 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: Situational Pitching
2009-09-03 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: No Contact Allowed
2009-08-26 - Changing Speeds: The Slash Stat Triple Crown
2009-08-17 - Changing Speeds: Behind the Screen at Fox
2009-08-10 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: Twin City Triplets
2009-08-05 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: PECOTAs Wild Pitches
2009-07-28 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: A Fox Screen Test
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INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2010-11-05 - Premium Article Changing Speeds: The BSAT Answer Key
2010-07-15 - Changing Speeds: Business Casual
2010-05-11 - Changing Speeds: Retro Game Story: Cardinals...