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Monday, April 20, 2015

VICE SPORTS: AGAINST ESPN’S K-ZONE, WHICH IS THE WORST

The centerfield camera sits at the center of this operation, and only its ubiquity keeps us from recognizing it as the miracle it is. With this shot, pioneered by NBC producer Harry Coyle in the middle of last century, anyone at home—or at the bar, or in line for takeout—can see the flight of a pitch better than all but a handful of people in the actual stadium. It makes what had been in the pre- and early-television days the work of conjecture or imagination—the particular break of a slider, the height of a high fastball—plainly visible. It makes your sofa, when it comes to matters of pitch-to-pitch clarity, the best seat in the house.

Still, the view is imperfect. Ask Orlins. “Centerfield cameras are a little bit of an illusion since they are slightly off to the side,” he said during his spring PR derby. “You might think you can tell when the ball is over home plate, but you really can’t.” ESPN’s new box is here to correct that imperfection, to close the gap between sight and knowledge.

But whatever small gains the K-Zone delivers in terms of clarity—not many, to my agitated eyes—are far outnumbered by the jarring, video-gameish aesthetic presence. Philosophically, it’s even worse: K-Zone coats live action in crude binary, every pitch and swing decreed good or bad according to which side of the border the circle appears on and its closeness to the gray line. Though the markings themselves are light enough, as Orlins has been sure to stress, their mere presence makes the old appreciations nearly impossible. A swing and miss at a pitch in the zone becomes less forgivable—it was right there!—and a fastball just off the corner, instead of being clever but untaken bait, is just a big white ball. A called strike that does not show in the rectangle, of course, is tragic and unjust.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2015 at 01:03 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball on television, espn, k-zone, media

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sling TV to Launch Live, Over-the-Top Service for $20 Per Month; Watch on TVs, Tablets, Computers, Smartphones, Game Consoles

Sorry about the lame, week-old press release, but the ever-so-slight move towards a la carte programming seems like a big deal:

Priced at $20 per month, “The Best of Live TV” core package includes 12 Nielsen-rated sports, lifestyle, family and news networks: ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN.

My understanding of baseball economics is that teams make large sums of money effectively by charging every cable subscriber a small fee, even if the cable subscriber has no interest in baseball. That arrangement has obvious sources of insecurity, and it is more a matter of when than if this will change.

greenback wants the dh Posted: January 11, 2015 at 12:49 PM | 120 comment(s)
  Beats: espn, television

 

 

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