ESPN decided to pull off an interesting idea the other night, by placing both of their Monday Night Baseball analysts in opposite camera wells, while the PbPer stayed up in the booth. I thought the plan had some promise, but after watching some of the game, I quickly figured out that wasn't the case. It wasn't that the reports from the wells were bad, rather that they were just boring. Others, namely Diane Pucin of the LA Times, seemed to agree as well....
Anybody watching ESPN's Dodgers-Cardinals television broadcast, where analysts Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips are working the game from photo wells near the dugouts? Has it been noticeably bad or good?Zing! Good one, Diane. As far as the whole sideline analyst thing goes, the reason this setup works for Hockey and NBC in particular, is because there's so much action between shifts. That and Pierre McGuirre actually talks with the players on the bench, as the game is going on. It just doesn't work with the slow pace of Baseball. Hershiser and Phillips, just did their same old analyst jobs, but from a different location.
Seems kind of neutral. Not at all like when Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray used to take off his shirt and report from the Wrigley Field bleachers with some beery-headed observations that often didn't make sense. But Caray always had the professional Steve Stone to lead the fans gently back to the action when Harry was having too much fun.
Honestly, if ESPN hadn't told us this was happening would you have even noticed Dan Shulman was alone in the booth? At least, so far, neither Hershiser nor Phillips have been nailed in the chin by a baseball a la Erin Andrews a few weeks ago.
No harm, no foul. It was worth a shot, didn't work, and now you move on.
ESPN's announcers in the photo well experiment (LA Times)