So MLB Network was touting something called “Statcast” that they’re shoehorning into their game broadcasts–some sort of computery junk that gives the viewer “enhanced statistics” on this, that, or the other play. How far did the center fielder run to catch that ball? How fast was that pitch spinning? What was the angle at which that home run was launched out of the park?
Seriously? Who could possibly give a damn about how fast a pitch is rotating as it crosses the plate? The only thing that matters is the result: did the batter hit the ball, or not? Did he get on base safely, or not? Did a run score, or not?
This may seem fairly innocuous, adding these additional pieces of information to the already existing flood of stats and data that gets shotgunned at viewers of every game, but it has some very basic–and negative–consequences, especially when this junk travels from the game broadcast and into the highlight reel on the recap show. When we tune in to see the highlights, we want to see THE HIGHLIGHTS–not the same play showed over and over again, with various and sundry labels attached to it. Every second wasted on re-showing a play so you can deliver meaningless data along with it limits the time you have to show all of the critical plays (and of course, if you’ve ever watched a game and then watched that game’s highlight package on the recap show later that night, you know they never really show all of the most important plays).
This sort of junk is not limited to MLB Network, of course. Indeed, the Statcast stuff is not nearly as bad or embarrassing as some of the nonsense ESPN pulls on the unwatchable SportsCenter. The other night I actually saw highlights of the Tampa Bay-Montreal game where, every time the Lightning scored, the highlight was “made better” with an animated–you guessed it–thunder cloud with lightning striking into the net. That is, assuming I didn’t hallucinate something that stupid–but I was briefly watching SportsCenter, so if the shoe fits…Seriously, at this point calling ESPN the “Connecticut Clown College” may be letting them off easy.
Please, folks: just show the damn games and highlights, and stop being convinced about how clever you are. Because you’re not. We care about the games–not you.