Last week, Dan Caeser of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a proposal by Fox Sports Midwest to experiment with the practice of interviewing players during Major League Baseball games had been kiboshed before getting past the discussion stage.
Not surprising, when you consider that the world of professional baseball is typically less enthusiastic regarding newfangled ideas, zany or not. But as MLB continues to lose market share to the National Football League, you have to wonder if they're only hurting themselves by refusing to embrace technology in order to make game broadcasts more appealing to larger audiences.
In this case, they had a chance to make the players more accessible while adding a new element to a slow game.
Why'd it fail? FSM executive producer Kevin Landy told Caeser that "a lot of cooperation" would be required in order to make something like this work, and that's understandable. Not all managers would be thrilled with the idea of having their players distracted by a conversation with Joe Buck while sitting in the dugout.
From an optics standpoint, such a practice might also be considered cheesy.
Still, I think the positives outweigh the negatives, which is probably why it sounds like FSM will keep pushing in future years. National Hockey League broadcasts have been enhanced by in-game interviews, and NASCAR broadcasts benefit greatly from having driver audio during races.
It might not be classic or old school and it might feel like you're selling out a little, but that might be worth it if even a few more fans keep watching a more entertaining broadcast.
The question, I guess, is whether the broadcast would actually be more entertaining. Do more people watch NHL hockey now than before because they've adopted a similar feature? Are we just asking for more clichés? It's possible, but I also think the idea of a play-by-play man having the ability to ask a batter about the pitches he faced in his previous at-bat is an intriguing one.
“It’s not frustrating, I think baseball guards its product very well and they do a good job of that,’’ Buck said, per Caeser. “I think when you start asking for things outside the box, it becomes multi-layered trying to get stuff approved. So because of that I think there were a lot of layers to get through and eventually it just kind of got lost. I’m not closing the door on it entirely. It’s something I think could benefit all parties involved, and we’ll see if maybe we can attack more it in the offseason this next year and maybe gear up for a couple dates next year.’’
The STO crew interview Indians players (and coaches) in the dugout all the time during the broadcast. They are generally boring and take away from the game. If MLB were to say that they couldn't conduct these interviews I would be absolutely ok with that.
Umm...I've seen Verlander interviewed at least 3 or 4 times over the last couple of years while in the dugout during the Fox Saturday games DURING gameplay. Why is this a new story?
Are you seriously trying to tell me that more people would watch baseball if they conducted interviews during the game? That hearing players say things like "We just have to keep our heads up and keep working hard" or "We need to do the little things right and get some breaks" in the fifth inning is going to make people tune in? Come on.
Most player/coach interviews I've heard in other sports (and indeed in baseball) don't really make me feel more 'connected' with said player/coach. The questions and responses are repeated so often that you can predict what the dialogue will revolve around. Nothing insightful is said or asked, and all too often, I get the sense that neither the interviewee nor the interviewer really wants to be doing the interview at all.
If anything, I'd prefer to see fewer in-game interviews with key players and staff. It's far too intrusive and adds little to no value to the viewing experience.
So dumb. If you get cliches in post game interviews what will you expect in the bottom of the 3rd? I don't even like the manager mid game interviews. I can't imagine the managers like it. Is anyone but the networks clamoring for this? Are there any fans thinking "wish there were more interviews."
@JasonHeminger I think this would be the first time that any local broadcaster would be doing such a thing, and like others have said, I absolutely hate the idea of having in-game player interviews. They're almost always boring and add nothing to the game; in fact, they make the game even worse because it removes the play-by-play attention for an extended period of time, and if something big happens during the interview, a lot of times the player will keep rambling on and on when the play-by-play guy would normally be able to step up and make the big call.
It's frustrating enough that the Cubs broadcasters have to spend a half inning with the 7th inning stretch singer at all home games. Some of those interviews are brutal. I'd much rather hear the broadcasters in the booth calling the ENTIRE game. Leave the interviews for pregame and postgame.