June 19, 2018

NESN: When What You Hear Does Not Match What You See

I had to mute NESN about halfway through Tuesday night's game. At times, I wondered what game Dave O'Brien and Jerry Remy were watching, because what they said bore little resemblance to what transpired on my TV.

(They both have numerous easily-corrected faults that they refuse to correct, but if they start calling plays that do not reflect reality, then they have crossed over into John Sterling territory and that is much worse than what I regularly complain about.)

The strangeness started during the first batter of the game, when Remy referred to the dark "batters' eye" located "behind the plate". The batters' eye is actually located in what OB would piss me off by calling "deadaway" center field. At Fenway, it's the section of the bleachers that is covered by a dark tarp during day games.

NESN's Pitch Zone was (once again) on the fritz. Jose Berrios's two pitches to Andrew Benintendi were labelled #6 and #3.

Remy said Benintendi "grounded back to the mound", but Berrios fielded the ball nowhere near the mound. Later in the game, O'Brien said (also incorrectly) the ball was hit "in front of the plate".

During J.D. Martinez's at-bat, NESN showed a graphic with Berrios's career record against all AL East teams. Because how he fared against the Orioles and Rays in 2016 will unlock the mystery of how he might do tonight, or something. Then NESN showed the exact same graphic when Mitch Moreland (the very next batter) was up. (The rerun was no more relevant than the first airing.)

NESN showed a home run that Moreland had hit off Berrios at Fenway last year. Remy described the blast as being hit to "straightaway center field" as we watched the ball sail into the Monster Seats in left-center.

And all of that was in THE TOP OF THE FIRST INNING! In the space of only five batters. Oy.

Chris Sale slipped strike three past Eddie Rosario for the second out in the fourth. NESN's Pitch Zone showed strike 3 near the middle of the plate. O'Brien called the pitch on "the corner". Remy agreed, saying the pitch was on the "outside corner".

Then we saw a replay of exactly what we had seen live only 10 seconds ago. O'Brien said, with no hint that he was changing his tune: "That pitch caught a lot of the plate." Yeah, no shit! ... But, really, who says a pitch right down the middle "caught a lot of the plate"?


O'Brien and Remy know they are not doing radio, right? They understand that we can see the things they are describing incorrectly? Maybe they just don't care, like NESN doesn't care if it shows old footage of Fenway from 2009 or 2014 with the intention of having viewers believe they are seeing live video from 2018.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Sale started Robbie Grossman off with a changeup. Remy said that might have been Sale's first changeup of the night (on his 46th pitch). Remy had obviously forgotten that two innings earlier he had made special note of Sale's 90 mph changeup to Mitch Garver.

Also: MLB's Gameday had Sale throwing nine changeups - 20% of his pitches at that point! - before Grossman's at-bat in the fifth, including a changeup on his second pitch of the game! (So there is another first inning flub.)

Eduardo Escobar hit his 31st double of the season in the sixth. O'Brien had previously called Escobar "a doubles machine" and, indeed, he does lead all of MLB in doubles. O'Brien added that Escobar "is set to break the Twins' single-season doubles mark" this year and is, in fact, "on pace to blow it out of the water".

That piqued my interest, and I expected to soon learn what the Twins' single-season doubles record is. But O'Brien never said another word about it. ... That was exactly like what he did last Wednesday when he said Atlanta had won a quick game against the Mets, one that was over in "the blink of an eye". But then OB changed the subject and never mentioned it again. (For the record, Atlanta's 2-0 win took only 2:12.)

Oh, and the Twins' doubles mark! Justin Morneau hit 47 doubles in 2008. (Prior to 1960, when the franchise was the Washington Senators, Mickey Vernon had 51 doubles in 1946.)


Jere said...

Ha, this post reminded me I forgot to tweet out my screen shot of the "6/3" pitch zone thing! As they said in Hangover 2, "that is just wildly inappropriate." I really wonder how that works in the control room. I mean if the first pitch comes up as "6," maybe just can it and hit some type of reset button. Or is it a couple of interns working in tandem, like Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate conveyer belt, struggling to keep up with a giant malfunctioning switchboard: "Dear god, this CAN'T be pitch 6!" "Well it has to be SOMEthing! Turn your key, soldier! TURN YOUR KEY!"

Remy's "behind the plate" gaffe was the culmination of a stuttering remark that he was probably happy to be done with and never mention again. (I would respect him so much more if he would just say "wow, I really screwed that one up!" He does have that ability, he just rarely uses it.) It was something to the effect of "the hitter's backdr... the batter's..... you can see it there behind the plate."

Bad job by OB using the "and this one's getting away" phrase on the very hit that untied the game. You normally save that one for a game where A. you had been winning and B. a point where it's become almost impossible to win. But fear not, he broke it out AGAIN when the next run-scoring hit occurred, which would have been a better time to say it for the *first* time.

allan said...

Mookie saw 5 pitches, so they did not reset it when Benny came up. So his first pitch was #6. But the previous 5 pitches were not there, so wouldn't that reset everything? Then there are the times when pitch #1 gets thrown 2 or 3 times! But GDGD also does that sometimes. Could that Pitch Tracker not be under NESN's control? I have no idea.

They came back from a break last night and showed a city skyline and a river and I exclaimed, "WTF! Are they showing Boston when they are in Minnesota?" Laura was pretty sure it was Minneapolis. The skyline did look less crowded, but I swore for a second I saw something that looked like the Prudential building! (Just the fact that I think it's possible for that to happen is bad news.)

Sometimes I think that I harp on this shit too much or write about it too much. But it's just so goddamn annoying. NESN doesn't have to be super-awesome. Why can't they just be competent? (I know you'll say I'm not overdoing it. You probably think I should do more!)

I'd like to spend a night in the NESN control room. Maybe it's much harder to time everything than I think - though many broadcasts manage it nearly every night. (And NESN clearly follows a set schedule/pattern; at the start of the game, we get lineup, umpires, weather, all in the same order every night.) That would be an interesting assignment. I'm sure many fans are curious about that true behind-the-scenes stuff (not the dull stuff Don filmed with his cellphone years ago).

If anyone from NESN is reading this, what do you say?

Jere said...

Yes, I think you should do more.