September 20, 2014

Subplots of the 2010 Postseason

October 9, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Taking a look at two worrying subplots of the 2010 MLB Postseason after the jump…

In any good serialized drama, key plot points of a given episode are always supported by some combination of tension and subplot boiling just below the surface.  Sometimes those subplots make you want to tear your eyes out—like the Tyra and Landry murder catastrophe during season two of Friday Night Lights–and sometimes they build tension and effectively move the story forward—like the growing violent streak in Michael during season four of The Wire.

For better or worse, the playoffs of any sport are the equivalent of a theatrical mini-series.  They come with their own stars, their own dramatic moments, and their own theme song.  Baseball is no exception.

While the sports pages have already hosted exhilarating games and moments—Roy Halladay’s no hitter, a two-hit, 14 strikeout shutout authored by the kid from Dazed and Confused Tim Lincecum, two come from behind wins in Minnesota, and an eleventh-inning Rick Ankiel sighting in San Francisco—we’ve also got some serious tension and drama boiling just underneath the surface.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at two of the most worrying subplots of the 2010 postseason.

1.  Instant Replay vs. Baseball “Traditionalists”

By baseball “traditionalists,” I mean old men in overpriced suits who speak longingly about the good old days when segregation was a reality, players were treated as indentured servants, tickets cost a nickel, and sportswriters ate and partied with the players.  These people are the major obstacle to the expanded use of instant replay in baseball.

Less than a week into the playoffs, how many calls have we seen umpires unequivocally blown?

Today’s technology provides us with such clarity of video that I feel like I could reach out and pluck the toothpick from Dusty Baker’s mouth.  At this point, entire seasons should not be decided by an officiating error.

As for the instant replay will extend the time of the games argument, I say: really?  Every time an umpire makes a borderline call, a player argues the call; the manager waddles from the dugout to intervene, he jaws with the umpire, and lets loose some magical string of swears leading to his ejection.  He then remains on the field to give the umpire a final piece of his mind.

Isn’t the time of the game extended whenever a Lou Piniella wannabe tosses his hat to the ground, covers home plate with a mound of dirt, and throws first base into right field?  The only difference is, with instant replay we would wind up with the right call.

2.  TBS vs. Baseball

Have you watched this debacle?  The graphic displaying the count, number of outs, position of base runners, and score of the game is huge.  Michael Clarke Duncan huge.  The new PitchTrax, which attempts to digitally show the location of every pitch, effectively covers up much of the right hand portion of the screen.  To make matters worse, it then doubles in size in an attempt to show where the pitch crossed in relation to the width of home plate.

These overly busy and excessive designs are frustrating mainly because I’M ALREADY WATCHING THE GAME.  Doesn’t television already show me the live events?  Why do I need some overlay poorly describing what occurred less than a second ago?

The only thing these graphics do is replicate the experience of watching a movie while the person next to you reads the film’s IMDB plot recap out loud.

Add Craig Sager as a sideline analyst, and we may just have the most unwatchable baseball telecast ever.

There is nothing in the world that can convince me that some TBS big shot didn’t stand up and deliver the following speech.

Gentlemen, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: I hate sports.  Give me Friends re-runs and Tyler Perry vehicles any day.  To prove my point, I just canceled My Boys.  Along those lines, I just don’t think we’re doing enough to alienate hardcore baseball fans and remove that sport from our airwaves once and for all.

Sure, by starting games after 8:30 EST, we’re ensuring that no child will ever be a baseball fan when he grows up.  And remember when we aired the Steve Harvey Show instead of an ALCS game 7 a few years back?  Man, good times.

But we can do more.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve devised a new wrinkle to our broadcast that I like to call the PitchTrax system.  But just so you get the full revolting effect, I’m going to let Craig Sager introduce it…

Well, the joke’s on you, TBS.  I’m still going to watch every pitch I can.  But, I’m praying that you end up like Lost’s Ilana: blown up by a backpack full of dynamite.

Comments

2 Responses to “Subplots of the 2010 Postseason”
  1. Norm Coleman says:

    Josh:

    Well written piece and I pretty much agree but what is it with the line…
    kid from Dazed and Confused Tim Lincecum? He is neither. He is focused,
    bright, witty, sharp The Franchise. He is a young man for modern 2010 times and yes, he wears hair long and on occasion, smokes pot…and inhales. If anyone is dazed and confused, it is some umpires, and old dudes in ML front offices in NY and some old time sports writers. He is the Sandy Koufax of our time.
    By the way, his nickname is The Freak.

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