It's become an almost perennial right: to complain and mope about the TV or radio crew broadcasting a baseball game. We complain about John Sterling, about Michael Kay, about Joe Buck and Tim McCarver and about Joe Morgan and John Miller.
In fact, the only currently working broadcaster of whom I have not heard a bad word spoken is Vin Scully.
Still, despite our lofty expectations (that the play-by-play announcer receive timely eye exams so that faulty depth perception may be corrected with *gasp* glasses, that the HD feed remain steady without freezing or jumping, that the camera angle be set to the greatest advantage for the fans) the TBS broadcasts of the 2009 League Division Series have got to be near the bottom of the barrel.
My biggest issue right now is that TBS still employs Chip Caray to do play-by-play broadcasting.
Check out this post from It's About the Money Stupid. One line sums it up: "Line drive. Base hit. Caught out there."
We all saw this when we were watching the Twins/Tigers game--perhaps one of the greatest baseball games ever played. Well, almost all of us. I had by then switched to the Spanish language broadcast, something I'd taken to doing last year to avoid listening to announcers I couldn't stand. (Hey, as a way to get some language practice, it actually works pretty well, but I digress.)
The astute fans out there took that immortal Dewey-defeats-Truman photo and replaced Truman's face with Caray's, and the paper's headline morphed to "line drive, base hits!"
The pity here is that Caray has been paired with Ron Darling, who by many counts, is one of the best that national-level broadcasting has to offer. Darling deserves better.
Next, we have the issue of Off-center vs dead center cameras. Click on the link to RAB and watch the video clip...it's enlightening.
TBS can't be held accountable for using off-center cameras when there are no dead-center cameras available, but as the video states, the network is using only off-center cameras even though dead-center options exist in Boston and St. Louis: two cities with playoff teams.
This is perhaps an issue that should be addressed at greater length in the off-season. I'm not sure that every stadium can fit in a dead-center camera, but I would imagine that it's a possibility for most.
We're so concerned about getting the best viewing experience possible, it'd be nice if we could actually see pitches the way that they really are, and not at a tilted angle that can obscure whether they are inside or outside of the strike zone.
Speaking of an enjoyable viewing experience, TBS has got to do something about their 'technical difficulties' with the feed.
On numerous occasions (and this isn't just me)--the feed has frozen, both audio and visual, and sometimes for long enough periods of time that game action is missed...such as last night when catcher's interference was called in the Boston/LA Angels game, and none of us got to see it.
Instead the broadcast went blank, to commercials, back to blank and only then picked up the action at the top of the next inning.
TBS here isn't some regional start-up network; it's a major national station which is
broadcasting playoff baseball: you know, games that actually really matter.
I'm not looking for Hall of Fame broadcasting quality here, I'm looking for basic competency, and so far TBS has not impressed.
I don't know when TBS' broadcast rights are up, but at this moment it's hard to imagine another station would be that much worse.