Major League Baseball is again offering a free preview of its TV package during April. While I never have the time to watch so much TV that I’d spring for the season-long package, I take advantage of the preview to sample games and see teams from around the American and National leagues.
Last night I caught a couple innings on cable TV of the Pirates-Cardinals game, and MLB carried the TV feed from the St. Louis broadcast team. It was a bit jarring.
While I’m sure the Cardinal announcers are comfortable and familiar to the fans in St. Louis, to a Giants fan like me I found watching the game a bit unsettling, almost as if I were peeking over the fence at a party in which I knew no one.
The Cards team did a fine job (even if they did seem to find too much fault in Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton was mowing down the Cardinals hitters.) But I’m not familiar with these broadcasters, so the game experience wasn’t as intimate and comfortable as it is when I catch a Giants broadcast with its familiar voices of Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow (and Dave Fleming on radio).
The experience got me to thinking about how important the broadcasters are in our enjoyment of the game. During the Giants’ brilliant post-season run to the world championship last fall, we were forced to watch a lot of network broadcasts. That fundamentally changed the way we experience the games, and many fans griped about it.
I catch many more games on the radio than I do on TV, and the same goes there with announcers. I sample games from other markets on the MLB At Bat app on my iPhone, and some of the “homer” announcers whose style and schtick I don’t get chase me away.
On baseball broadcasts, there’s no place like home.