Thursday, June 21, 2007

Condensed Baseball

Fox Sports Net Detroit is experimenting with condensed versions of ballgames:

Southfield-based Fox Sports Net Detroit on June 14 debuted a relatively new format for viewing baseball. The network condensed a Detroit Tigers' 6-5 afternoon loss to the Milwaukee Brewers into about 23 minutes -- plus commercials -- and aired it three times during the evening.

The presentation showed every meaningful play -- including strikeouts, hits, walks, and home runs -- in bang-bang fashion.

I haven't seen it, but even the article -- which seems to view the condensed broadcasts favorably -- noted that elements of it left the viewer "disoriented" and "confused." My biggest potential beef is the decision as to what plays, or portions of plays, are "meaningful" and what aren't. Sure, they show strike three, butoften the beauty of a K can only be appreciated by watching a seemingly wasted pitch that, in reality, set the batter up.

I suppose, however, that people who care about this level of detail in a game aren't going to be all that interested in a condensed broadcast to begin with. I'm inclined to be skeptical, but I'll withhold ultimate judgment until I can actually see one of these condensed games. And make no mistake, if this is successful in Detroit, the practice will no doubt spread.