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MLB Postseason Great but Fox’s Strikezone Technology Wasn’t

This year’s MLB Postseason was outstanding, to say the least! Whether you love baseball or just have a small interest in sports, you tuned in. I had multiple people tell me that they “don’t watch baseball,” but they couldn’t resist checking out all of the hype. There was tons of hype.  Each game was a thrill in its own way, most games featured their own style of baseball. The games were the best part, don’t get me wrong, I was blown away by the playoffs, but the way they were televised got to me…

The National League postseason was broadcast by TBS all the way through their side of the tournament.  TBS allowed the fan to enjoy the game with solid play-by-play calling and good color commentary. That’s the best way to do it.  Show the game, cue the interesting backstories, and let the two teams provide the battle you can only hope will be exciting. Now, don’t get me wrong, Gary Sheffield is not nearly the post-game analyst that Alex Rodriguez is, but the TBS crew gets the job done.

The American League postseason was put on by Fox Sports. They had the basics covered, just like TBS, and even had a better pre/post-game show. Both networks also made getting their games on demand as easy as possible. TV, laptop, tablet, or phone, you could find a way to watch every minute of every game.  There was only one problem: The strike zone was illustrated with an obnoxious box.

Look, I get it, they want more viewers. It’s the name of the game- more viewers, more money.  More money means a better cast, better equipment, and better graphics.  The reason they threw a box into the mix is to give fans a better understanding of balls and strikes. You can help a non-baseball enthusiast to argue their point with technology. That is exactly why this box took my viewing experience down a notch.

When you put a bunch of baseball lovers in a room, you’re going to get some great conversations, jokes, and undoubtedly some intense arguments. These are all huge components of a great get-together. My biggest issue with the animated box is that someone who doesn’t know a lick of baseball can argue strikes and balls.  I mean, they show you exactly what happens every pitch, right?! It is an argument killer and it shouldn’t be. Some of the pitches thrown are nasty enough to keep the program from illustrating the ball’s actual path.  Kershaw’s curveball just isn’t fair. I think Andrew Miller‘s slider is under investigation for being dirty. And any good knuckleball could fool technology!

Think about something you know about. It could be cars, hunting, or some other sport. Now, imagine someone who barely knows how to change their oil, load a gun, or the difference between a GB and an AB, tell you that you are wrong.  Wouldn’t that be enough to upset you? Well, in this case if someone does that, they think they have something to back their argument and it drives me nuts, especially when we know that the strike zone that TV broadcasts display does not necessarily reflect reality.

Maybe being upset about this annoying addition to Fox Sports isn’t going to change anything, but for baseball lovers all over the place this is something that is bothersome across the board.  Sure, put it on the screen when there is a close call. Run it back and show about where it landed, but EVERY SINGLE PITCH?! And overlaid on the real gaming action?! Let’s not.

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