I look forward to the uncommon days when my favorite baseball team, the New York Metropolitans, are involved in ESPN’s Sunday night game of the week. It’s like when you were a kid and the all-star game rolled around–you had this quaintly provincial swell of pride when one of your team’s players did something good, and the whole nation got to see what a class organization they were (even if the Mets’ annual all-star contribution during my childhood was John Stearns catching a lone inning in mop-up duty).
But I have to say the self-titled worldwide leader in sports has turned me off on its game of the week, thanks to ESPN’s insistence on flashing updated statistics for every pitch, as in, Jose Reyes is hitting .259 with three homers and 12 RBIs when the count is 0-1, then Jose Reyes is hitting .227 with one homer and 4 RBIs when the count is 0-2, et cetera, ad nauseum.
It is, as the kids say, too much information. And it’s impossible to ignore, much the same way letters spelling out Do Not Read This Sentence are impossible to ignore.
Such statistics fit perfectly when one is tuned into an ESPN.com Gamecast, as there’s nothing to do in between pitches but stare at the ersatz green digital ballfield. But on television, when there are announcers, and an actual field, and fans in the background, and pitchers and batters involved in their subtle games of cat and mouse, there’s no place on the screen for up to the second graphics.
I considered applying a strip of duct tape across the top of the screen, but knew that would leave a sticky residue, perhaps forever.
Am I the only one that feels this way?
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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