No More In-Game Coach Interviews

I already told you about one suggestion of mine to improve the quality of game broadcasts earlier this week. In case you missed it, my hope is that broadcasts allow the opportunity for the viewer to mute the microphone of a particular broadcaster, while still receiving sound from the rest of the telecast. That would be an awesome addition. Now another aspect of game telecasts that’s been killing me since it became the standard for nationally televised games are the in-game coach and manager interviews. I CANNOT STAND THOSE. I despise the 5th inning interview with the manager on ESPN and FOX. I cringe at the after-quarter interviews on TNT and ESPN. I abhor the halftime interviews with football coaches on all the networks. What brought this up and possessed me to write about it today was a post-third quarter interview on ESPN with Gregg Popovich. Pop reluctantly answered questions, Ric Bucher uncomfortably delivered them. It was about as awkward as David Wells in tights. Problem is this is more the norm than the unusual when it comes to in-game interviews.

So allow me to outline what is so horrific about these interviews and why all sports broadcasts need to end this practice. First of all, as previously mentioned, these are the most uncomfortable interviews you could possibly find. The coaches and managers all want to get back in the game, and they don’t offer anything other than crappy cliches. The broadcasters don’t want to ask questions because they know they’re completely intruding. They’re all the same; both parties act strictly out of contractual obligation. It’s like getting ex’s together for a reunion every single time.

Next, and most importantly, these interviews take all the natural competition feel out of games and make them seem like nothing but overly produced television productions. Rather than just letting both teams finish competing in their games, we have to have coaches hear from reporters DURING games asking them questions. What’s next, letting fans call plays? Why not just have a sideline reporter ask a quarterback why he threw the pass after an interception? How about pulling LeBron over to the mic to explain why he missed a jumpshot? Feel my drift? Why do we need in-game questions? They’re completely intrusive and completely unnecessary. They really ruin games for me. It just reminds why the travel rule is lax and why timeouts allow teams to take the ball out near their opponents baskets in basketball — to make it more exciting for TV.

If we continue at the rate we’re going, games will no longer be just games, but they’ll be complete television productions. I mean why even have guys play and coaches coach if we’re just going to ask questions in the middle of games? Why not just go to scripted ballgames so you can write the outcomes? Why not just televise wrestling? As far as I’m concerned, the field and court is a sacred place where TV broadcasters should not be intruding WHILE games are going on. That’s just going too far. It’s a trend that started because one network got the toy first, and then all of them decided they had to have it too. I’d like to see some of these networks realize how unauthentic and horrific these interviews look and actually get rid of them. Please, please, please get rid of the in-game interviews. I can’t take them.

No Walsh Super Bowl Walkthrough Tape?

Adam-Vinatieri-Field-Goal-RamsIf you remember back in February, the day before the Super Bowl, I was all over the Boston Herald for their story suggesting the Patriots taped a walkthrough of the Rams prior to the Super Bowl back in 2002. My issue with Tomase’s story was its exquisite timing; when you release something the day before the biggest game of the season, it sure seems intentional to me. Not that it proves Tomase’s story completely wrong, but it sure was suspicious that none of the tapes turned over by former Pats video assistant Matt Walsh to the NFL contained footage of a Rams pre-Super Bowl walkthrough. To compound this news, Chris Mortensen says ESPN had the story too, but decided not to report it.

Other media outlets including ESPN, had this allegation and pursued this allegation for months, and it just didn’t meet the standard in terms of what you needed to report it, and the Boston Herald evidently felt they had met the standard to report it,” Mortensen said. “They need to come out and say, ‘We stand by our story’ or they need to have a retraction and apology and deal with the consequences of it, but certainly it’s damaging to the Boston Herald at this point, especially if they stay silent on the subject.”

Again, we don’t know for certain that the Pats didn’t tape the walkthrough and that the Herald got the story wrong, but they’re certainly left out in the cold right now. Mortensen’s comments make it seem overwhelming like the Herald was intentionally planning to drop the bomb on the Pats the day before the Super Bowl. Seems pretty scummy to me.

How to Improve Sports Broadcasts

It’s so simple, so basic, so easy, I can’t believe it’s never come up before. I can’t believe I never before thought of this. I can’t believe no companies have actually done it! How many times have you had to press the mute button on your TV because a play-by-play guy or analyst was ruining the game for you? How many times did you wish a mild case of food poisoning would send one of the broadcasters into the bathroom for the duration of the event? I know it’s happened with me, I know it’s happened with many friends, and I certainly know there’s an entire website based on this dream, and one based on their blunders. So check it: how awesome would it be if networks allowed you the option to choose your audio feed for a game, giving you the ability to mute the play-by-play guy, the analyst, the crowd noise, whatever you want.

Imagine a world in which ESPN gave you the ability as a viewer to mute Joe Morgan on Sunday nights and just let the soothing sounds of Jon Miller tell the story. How happy would you be to hear him say, “and what do you think about that, Joe?” only to hear silence. I know that would put a smile on my face. Can’t stand homer calls by guys like Rex Hudler? Select just the Steve Physioc audio. Had enough of Bryant Gumbel botching names? Cut him out. Sick of Billy Packer pronouncing games over before halftime? No more! I might not be an audio engineer, but I know all the different audio sources are fed into the same audio mixer — the broadcasters, the crowd sound, etc. Now if they separated each of them and then allowed the viewer to choose his/her own feed of choice, how money would that be?

I know it can be done — and networks are always looking for new ways to get their audience to be interactive, so this would be perfect. They could even market a new gadget or something and get people buying special sound systems that allow this option. Whatever. I just know that sports fans across the country would be clamoring for the opportunity to hit the mute on Morgan or Madden or even Gumbel. How awesome would that be?

ESPN Right to Attack Tejada’s Age

By now you must have seen the ESPN E:60 interview with Miguel Tejada — or lack thereof. If you haven’t, welcome back to the States, hopefully you didn’t lose your passport during your travels. Anyway, for about a week now ESPN has been promoting it’s E:60 segment with Miguel Tejada where they break out a document proving Tejada had been lying about his age. Tejada promptly ends the interview and storms off, acting incredulous that they weren’t there to ask him strictly about his .370 batting average. Initially I felt badly for Tejada; he looked so helpless and innocent, you had to feel poorly for him. I know some other people felt the same way. But once I got past that, and making jokes about Julio Franco revealing his true age, I’m actually pleased that ESPN handled the interview and its promotion the way they did.

Think about this for a second here: Miguel Tejada is not the victim. The teams that paid him his salaries and signed him long-term are the ones who were duped. They’re the ones who should be complaining. Tejada obviously proved he could play at a high level, but he never should have lied to do it. Matter of fact, most players who lie about their age know exactly why they’re doing it — being younger makes them more of a prospect which in turn results in higher bonuses and more money. By calling out Tejada and humiliating him in the interview, not to mention replaying the clip over-and-over each day, they were sending a message to other players that they could too be exposed the way Miguel was. Maybe some players/representatives will think twice before they falsify information, take a spot away from another kid, and steal money from organizations.

You can watch the video after the jump if you haven’t seen it.

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Baseball Players Are Meant to Be Fat

There’s one thing about the media and their treatment of certain baseball players that’s irked me lately: their absurd treatment of overweight (read: fat) baseball players. Not to say that you should be a fat ass and play baseball, but I just can’t stand the way the media handles baseball players and their body weight. Ever notice how weight issues are only brought up when that player struggles? Oh, Miguel Cabrera off to a slow start, he’s too overweight. Andruw Jones is only hitting a buck fifty, it’s because he’s too fat. Bartolo Colon needs to get in shape if he wants to make the Red Sox’ roster. Prince Fielder isn’t hitting for power because he’s not eating enough (a topic on PTI Wednesday). Guaranteed you’ll hear something on Thursday about C.C. Sabathia struggling because he’s too overweight.

Well I have a major complaint about this type of thinking: the media needs to be more freaking consistent. Find something to pick on other than weight. Why is it that no complaints are made about these players’ weights when they’re kicking ass while fat? Why does the criticism only come when they start to perform poorly while maintaining the same out-of-shape body? Bartolo Colon was a blimp when he won his 2005 Cy Young. Don’t tell me otherwise. Andruw Jones was portly when he blasted 51 and 41 in back-to-back seasons. Miguel Cabrera ballooned last year but still had his typical stellar season. Matter of fact, “fat Miggy” set career highs for home runs and RBI. Prince Fielder might not be hitting because we’re only two weeks into an seven month season and because 50 home runs is not easy to duplicate.

If you’re going to tell me that David Wells didn’t reach his potential because he didn’t dedicate himself to the game and stayed out-of-shape, I’ll accept it. But don’t tell me that players who were successful while fat aren’t succeeding because they’re still just as fat. Now that doesn’t make sense. Find something else to pick on instead, like Bartolo’s rotator cuff being partially torn, Andruw habit of pulling outside pitches, and C.C. leaving his fast ball up in the zone too often. But don’t tell me it’s because they’re fat.

NASCAR Crapped on Race Fans Sunday

I’m not sure how many of you are race fans and know exactly what happened Sunday night. For those of you who aren’t, let me fill you in. The Auto Club 500 was set to start Sunday afternoon in Fontana but was delayed over an hour because of rain. They finally got on the track while it was still slick, resulting in two incidents that saw the race come to an end for a few drivers. Then after 87 laps, the rain really started to come down so the red flag was dropped, and the tarps were thrown over the cars. At this point it was well into the evening on the East Coast, and certainly in the evening on the West Coast, where the race was being held — I’d say around 6pm PT. What ensued over the following five hours was maddening, if not downright embarrassing.

Scrambling to decide what would happen, FOX began airing re-runs of shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy on my local affiliate as they presumably tried to dry the track off in Fontana. At 9pm — midnight on the East Coast mind you — there was a cut in to the FOX studio at the track where they announced the race would resume in an hour, at 10pm PT, since the weather reports indicated the sky was clearing up. Great. With nearly two-thirds of the race incomplete, they would try to finish it up at 1am on the East Coast. A nice kick in the nuts for the die-hard fans out in the Carolinas and whatnot. Anyway, the news continued to get worse for the soldiers who braved the hour of anticipation.

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Charles Barkley: Conservatives are ‘Fake Christians’

Charles Barkley was on CNN being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer when he let loose with one of the worst generalizations against a group of people I have heard in a while. Now we all like Barkley because he’s genuine and doesn’t hold back, like when he called the 80s Celtics the “ugliest team in NBA history.” But sometimes Barkley’s mouth goes a little too far. While talking politics, Sir Charles said he liked Senator John McCain. But while Chuck likes McCain, he said he wouldn’t vote for anything other than a democrat. His reasoning? Conservatives are nothing but “fake Christians.” Check out the video for yourself:

It’s funny how it took Wolf a question before he went back to Chuck’s response. Almost like he wasn’t paying attention and needed a producer to tell him in his ear to ask him again about the “fake Christians” remark. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not how to conduct an interview. But if you were looking for a way to offend half the population of the country, there you go. Charles said he didn’t have to worry because he didn’t work for Conservatives and Christians? He was wrong.

If I’m a Conservative, how does that make me a “fake Christian?” Did I all of a sudden convert? Sorry Chuck, no free pass here. You should be held accountable for generalizing about an entire group of people. Maybe the polls will say it all — good luck winning any non-left votes in Alabama. And while we’re on offensive remarks and generalizations, how were Chet Coppock’s anti-Semite remarks completely ignored by the media? Gotta watch what you say, and I’m surprised nobody made a rats rump about this.

Thanks to Christmas Ape at Deadspin for the Charles Barkley post.