June 5, 2019

NESN Misses Several Pitches, Including Devers's Home Run, Extending Its Record Of Not Showing A Complete Red Sox Game To ... The Network's Entire Existence

That is a screenshot from NESN after Rafael Devers began the top of the seventh inning on Wednesday night by hitting Kansas City reliever Jorge López's first pitch over the wall in right-center. There's something about this that's so black, it's like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.

When the Red Sox are playing a game, NESN's only job is to show the Red Sox playing the game. Point some cameras at the game being played, turn them on, and show people what's going on. That's it.

When Devers swung, NESN was busy showing a commercial. NESN had stuck the game into an extremely small box on the side of the screen, which means the network knew the commercial would run long and interrupt the action, and had taken a half-assed precaution, because it was damn well going to show the entire commercial (which was for a computer on which to use Skype or something so as not to miss a granddaughter's birthday, which was fairly ironic). The commercial's sound was still droning on when the ball, which was not visible in that tiny box, sailed over the fence. (Here is the home run, from the Royals broadcast.)

And then NESN's screen went black. Because of course it did. (Was it an homage to The Sopranos? We are, after all, only five days away from the 12th anniversary of the final episode.)

NESN also missed a pitch three innings earlier, when Adalberto Mondesi grounded out to Devers in the bottom of the fourth. After missing that play, do you think NESN's producer and/or director might be a tad more vigilant in making certain that bush league mistake didn't happen again? ... Are you kidding? NESN? Learn from its mistakes? Hahahah! ... Indeed, not long after not showing Devers's homer, NESN attempted to squeeze in a 35-second highlight between batters.

I tweeted @NESN, asking:
Why is NESN unable to show an entire baseball game? For decades, NESN has missed pitches every night and now misses a Rafael Devers HR. How is it possible to be so bad so consistently for so long, making the exact same mistakes night after night after night after night?
This has been a problem for a very long time. I have been watching NESN as part of Extra Innings and MLBTV since 2003. And even then, NESN would come back from commercial with a batter jogging back to the dugout after making an out. During one game in April 2011, NESN missed eight pitches and one play in the field.

Many years ago, the MLBTV feed would come back to the game before NESN. Play would resume, but there was nothing but dead air on NESN. It became obvious pretty quickly that meant NESN was still in commercial. I'd be watching and Don Orsillo would suddenly start talking as the pitcher threw his first pitch, meaning NESN had come back just in time. Orsillo and Jerry Remy would at times stay silent through one pitch (and sometimes two pitches!), waiting for NESN to stop showing commercials or promos for its inane dating shows and get back on air with the in-progress game.

One memorable time, NESN came back from commercial and we saw Manny Ramirez, who had led off the inning by clubbing the first pitch over the Wall, was rounding second base in his home run trot. Despite nightly screw-ups - showing a runner who had just scored walking to the dugout instead of a live shot of a close play at second base, for example - neither Don nor Jerry ever acknowledged these many mishaps. I know I'm dreaming, but if Dave O'Brien had some guts, he would rip the network for its chronic unprofessionalism sooner rather than later, because this nightly clown show is also making him look unprofessional. (Not that he actually needs any help for that, but you know what I'm saying.)

NESN's mission statement states that it is "intently focused on delivering ... programming ... of unparalleled breadth and quality". Its website also states:
We are committed to understanding our customers' needs and exceeding their expectations. ... [We] strive to continually improve our performance. ... We are ready to meet the ever-changing demands of our industry with speed and flexibility. We believe these challenges afford us opportunities to learn and grow. ... We are committed to the highest level ... of professional standards. ... We accept personal and professional responsibility for our actions and results ...
I've seen most of NESN's Red Sox broadcasts over the last 17 years and I can attest that none of that above paragraph is true. My expectations have never been exceeded; if they were actually met, that would be an improvement. NESN's performance has not improved in almost two decades, they are not flexible, and they have not learned anything (they make the exact same mistakes they did 17 years ago). I have serious doubts whether they have any standards at all, let alone ones of a high level. They may accept responsibility for the product they produce, but based on the available evidence, they have absolutely no desire to fix (or even acknowledge) their myriad problems.

If a Red Sox player made the exact same boneheaded mistakes - swinging at pitches way outside, throwing to the wrong base, running into outs on the bases - night after night after night, how long do you think he'd last in Boston, or the big leagues in general? Yet NESN carries on like a Supreme Court Justice. Job performance has nothing to do with nothing. The network has been handed a lifetime appointment to show the games. Simply existing is the only requirement.

Back in 2011, I wrote: "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."

I wanted the option of seeing the entire Red Sox game in 2011. Now it's 2019 - and I still want that option. It does not seem like an extravagant or unreasonable wish, but I don't think I'll ever get that option. (Unless I watch the opposing team's broadcast.)


Jake of All Trades said...

You should add a page to the blog logging each time this happens and who the advertiser was — and then threaten the advertiser with a boycott of their product for impacting your enjoyment of the game. Encourage others to do the same.

NESN knows they are unlikely to lose fans over this, but if they got worried they might lose advertising revenue it could wake them up...

Also amusing: The KC broadcast had the homer full screen, but they were still wrapping up their recap of other scores until just before the ball cleared the fence!

allan said...

I'm not sure advertisers can pick exactly when their ad will be shown. Also, if there are 20 seconds until the game resumes and NESN flips a coin and says - what the fuck! - let's run a 30-second commercial, how that particular commercial gets chosen, since they could (in a perfect world) decide not to run that commercial.

I was thinking of adding a "NESN" tab to the other four tabs up top, though, because there are a lot of posts; many old ones are not tagged.

allan said...

When Don Orsillo was let go, it was explained that incoming announcer Dave O'Brien was "well known for bringing out the nuances of baseball strategy" and "sharing insights about players". ... The Red Sox were obviously pulling our collective leg with that one.
Also, as Universal Hub put it back in 2015, "Isn't that what Remy's supposed to do?"

Jere said...

"Also amusing: The KC broadcast had the homer full screen, but they were still wrapping up their recap of other scores until just before the ball cleared the fence!"

This is not accurate as you can see in the link in the post. They did miss the very start of the pitcher's windup, but you saw him throw the pitch and Devers hit the ball.