Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thank you, Shane Victorino.

Fox Sports has an established pattern (since 2005 if not before) of inordinately focusing on missed calls as a part of their postseason coverage. Maybe focus groups like that...I don't know. Tonight they were at it again. They repeatedly showed zoomed-in close-ups that appeared to show first base umpire Tom Hallion's safe call on Jamie Moyer's diving shovel into Ryan Howard's bare hand was incorrect. With a freeze-frame, one could see that Howard squeezed his hand around the ball when batter-runner Carl Crawford's foot was about four inches above the bag. Thanks to freeze-frame and zooming, we saw that he was actually out by about a tenth of a second.

Fox, of course, chose to show the play about a bazillion times.

Later, however, they showed a conversation between Phillies outfielders during a pitching change. Shane Victorino said something like this:

"There's a lot going on. He has to look over at the bare hand when [Howard's] glove is out like this..."

Nice perspective. Now, if a player for the team on the short end of a missed bang-bang call can mention how immensely close the play was, why can't Joe Buck and Tim McCarver? It seems to me that the sportscasters are paid for at least some measure of distance, perspective, and equanimity...but on umpiring issues, Fox has less of all three of those than at least one player who have been working all year for this before getting a bad break.


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