Several seasons ago, this was a huge problem for the network. Game after game, NESN would come back late from commercials four, five, six times. I remember one game in which the broadcast returned and Manny Ramirez was rounding second base, having hit the first pitch of the inning over the Wall. A mistake like this should be taken seriously, but it's clear NESN does not care. (Remember this bizarre stuff last September?) The network gambles that the first pitch of an inning will be taken by the batter or maybe fouled off, so "nothing happened" and it can get some extra advertising revenue. And if NESN misses something exciting, it can always show a replay. Besides, where else are you going to watch the Red Sox?
I was watching last night's game via the Extra Innings package and it was unclear whether the missed-pitch problem was NESN or Rogers Cable (I was getting Canadian commercials, not the ads NESN was showing, and Rogers is also no stranger to giving fans the finger, often running full-screen commercials between pitches or between batters).
I watched the beginning of each half-inning of the NESN broadcast archived at MLB.com. It was easy to tell when NESN was not on the air, because Don Orsillo was not saying anything. Why should he call the action if NESN was showing a commercial? Orsillo began speaking only after getting the signal from the production truck that the game could now be seen by NESN's viewers.
Here is what viewers missed:
Bottom of 1st - Ball 1 to Brian Roberts.
Top of 2nd - J.D. Drew's first-pitch fly ball to center field. NESN is back as Adam Jones is catching the fly ball.
Bottom of 2nd - Ball 1 to Matt Weiters. NESN returns as Jon Lester gets the sign for his second pitch.
Top of 3rd - Called strike to Marco Scutaro. NESN returns after Weiters has thrown the ball back to Brad Bergesen.
Bottom of 3rd - Called strike to Robert Andino. NESN is back as Jarrod Saltalamacchia throws the ball back to Lester. (This is the 5th consecutive half-inning NESN has missed a pitch.)
Top of 4th - No pitches missed!
Bottom of 4th - Ball 1 to Derrek Lee. NESN returns after Salty has thrown the ball back to Lester.
Top/Bottom of 5th - No pitches missed because NESN needed to inform us that a bank sponsors both halves of the fifth inning.
Top of 6th - No pitches missed, though Bergesen is releasing his first pitch to Dustin Pedroia as NESN returns.
Bottom of 6th - No pitches missed.
Top of 7th - Called strike to Carl Crawford and a lengthy shot of the Orioles dugout are missed, though NESN is back in time to show us Crawford's double.
Bottom of 7th - No pitches missed, though Lester is already in his windup for his first pitch.
Top of 8th - No pitches missed at the start of inning, but after a pitching change, NESN misses ball 1 to David Ortiz and comes back as Mike Gonzalez is about to throw pitch #2. (I missed ball 2 as well, though it looks like that may have been Rogers's fault.)
Bottom of 8th - No pitches missed.
Top/Bottom of 9th - No pitches missed.
There is something wrong when noting that NESN showed the entire inning seems out of the ordinary. (And even for the half-innings when the result of the first pitch was seen, NESN often cut in right as the pitcher was letting go of the ball, which I would argue is not actually showing the entire game.)
In its mission statement, NESN states that it is
intently focused on delivering Boston Red Sox ... programming and promotion of unparalleled breadth and quality. ... We are committed to understanding our customers' needs and exceeding their expectations. ... [We] strive to continually improve our performance.It seems simple to me. If NESN is broadcasting a Red Sox game, it should show the entire game. And as a fan, I want the option of seeing the entire game.
If you agree, why not give NESN a call or send an email?
NESNI believe viewer complaints were at least partially responsible for NESN telling Jerry Remy a few years ago to stop hyping his website and various money-making schemes during games and to putting a halt to the bizarre banter between Remy and Orsillo after every promo during a few games last September.
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