Why I Get Upset At My Television

Yesterday afternoon’s match up between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers was everything you could ask for from a late afternoon game. It was a tense, tightly fought affair that needed extra innings to decide a winner. That winning decision was reached when Matt Kemp, the very same one who earlier kept his team in the game with an RBI single in the tenth, hit a walk off home run in the twelfth inning.

While the drama of an extra inning comeback and eventual victory in front of the hometown fans was exhilarating, it didn’t have to be that way.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and the bases loaded, the left handed hitting James Loney came up to the plate for the Dodgers as a pinch hitter replacing the emotional Juan Uribe. For the Phillies, right handed reliever Michael Schwimer was on the mound, having just come into the game to pitch around the right handed hitting Jerry Hairston with the idea that he’d pitch to Uribe.

Presumably in case Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly went to Loney instead of Uribe, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel had left handed reliever Jake Diekman warming up. But instead of going to Diekman after Mattingly made the switch, Manuel left Schwimer in the game. It was a gutsy call considering that in his brief Major League experience, left handers have crushed Schwimer to the tune of a . 377 wOBA. Meanwhile, Loney has considerable more success against right handed pitching with a career .343 wOBA compared to .295 versus southpaws.

Having such knowledge of the situation would’ve made the Schwimer/Loney mano e mano battle all the more dramatic. But instead of providing this type of enhanced context to the match up, the Comcast Sportsnet broadcast booth for Philadelphia decided to let us know that Loney has 85 RBIs with the bases loaded.

I don’t mean to suggest that RBIs are useless and television broadcasts should use only weighted on base averages. I’d like that, but that’s not the point of my complaint here. They could’ve shown other, more palatable numbers to compare the splits of the pitcher and hitter, like ERA, OPP AVG, AVG, OBP or OPS.

It’s just so completely lazy and unimaginative to put up the meaningless information that they did in an instance when they could’ve easily provided something that would’ve directly added to the experience of those viewing at home or on their computers. But that doesn’t seem to be the concern of very many broadcasters. No, they’d rather follow the status quo instead of bothering to offer viewers anything that might further engage an audience.

I’m sorry if this comes across as nitpicking, but I watch a lot of baseball through the year and the ongoing failures of sports broadcasters to provide proper context to dramatic moments adds up after a short while. Thank god there’s a Batman movie to see tonight.

Comments (20)

  1. You expect too much.

  2. wow. you are such a little bitch.

    why do you feel the need to prove your baseball knowledge every chance you get .

    we get it, you are more statistically inclined than bill james, just shut the fuck up already.

    • You must constantly be annoyed at any information, if that little sets you off. I’m imagining you watching a basketball game, and yelling at the screen when a crew gives out the bare minimum. “Who cares how he shoots from three point range!?!?!? Jus wan see hoopy hooper make ball go in hoop cause all da same if ball go in hoop!”

      • + 10 – 7 + 15 – 14 + 2 – 5

        (apparently just saying “+1″ made my comment too short)

        • +1 IMW for your effort. Maths is hard.

          -1 Brandon for your little rant.

          +0.5 Dc. He makes some sense because Parkes is being a little bit of a bitch with this. But you can’t hate on statistics that are better indicators of performance and match-ups.

    • I think you just like bitching about Dustin.
      This isn’t even about crazy stats. It is about a strategic decision that was made that goes against expectations. Fans of baseball often go on and on about how the game is so strategic etc and the announcers did nothing to explain what this little bit of strategy actually meant. It doesn’t require anything more than showing their splits (which is what RBIs in with bases loaded is, just a useless one).

  3. One might say that in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded is one of the very few times where RBI’s actually are capable of providing some form of context or narrative. Sure it ain’t perfect but I bet there’s all kinds of people out there wondering if the guy up to bat is actually capable of cashing in those runners.

    Also you knock them for not showing AVG (also an imperfect stat) even though they show exactly that.

    Also also, really, no comment about the guy at the game thats so excited he’s about to feel off his own right tit?

    • Average within the split is what I want to see.

    • The problem is there’s no context to the stat. The Blue Jays broadcasts love to do the same thing as well.

      Even if you think RBIs are still a relevant stat (which they aren’t), simply telling the viewer that a player has 85 RBIs with the bases loaded, but no other information makes it useless information. Did he do it in 100 plate appearances? 200? 500? 1000?

      The most appropriate stat there is clearly OBP. If Loney gets on base by any means the game is over. His power in that situation is irrelevant.

  4. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver covering the World Series exemplify your grievance but Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer covering a Twins game do not. I think the announcers that truly know the teams and are fans as much as they are broadcasters make the best television.

  5. EmoJuanUribe. Never forget. Always remember.

  6. Just as these guys play ball every day, these crews that do the games work all summer too. Can you really expect a broadcast crew to be perfect every game? I realize what you’re saying about watching a lot of ball and getting annoyed by bad broadcast, but lets be honest, most of TV is “bad”, and production quality across the whole board has gone down considerably. There are still great things out there though, but I think you hit your boiling point with this play (give’em a break, it’s an afternoon game, day 80-100 for these guys, yes being lazy with numbers) in particular, and you’ve unleashed that onto the GB page.

  7. Its asking a lot to expect them to actually add to your viewing experience. That is why most broadcasters suck. They seem to have as much actual baseball knowledge as someone who just starting watching the game last week.

  8. I call shenanigans. Why weren’t you watching the Scully feed?

  9. If you were not watching Vin Scully, then you have nobody to blame but yourself…

  10. You know, I think you work for a sports television network. How about convincing them to have a baseball highlight show (not unlike, but a little unlike “quick pitch”), but one where you look at numbers that actually explicate performance, and why the narrative of a given situation is interesting in a significant way? Even in the basic highlight packages that are currently shown on the network, why not provide WPA, wOBA, etc, instead of RBI, AVG? Honest question.

  11. Whatever Parks. You know all the stats off by heart anyway. The other commoners are happy enough with the basics

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