Some ESPN announcers seem to have a very selective memory.
Last week NASN gave us three Spring Training games, but for some reason they won’t be showing another baseball game until the 18th. So I’ve been watching once again an ESPN game between the Mets and the Indians from last Friday. The announcers keep telling me how Cleveland’s Cliff Lee got knocked off the mound in the first inning. Only it really wasn’t like that.
Lee got two quick outs, then gave up a double. The next batter hit a fly that the minor league center fielder chased and just missed. Not scored as an error, but a starting Major League outfielder would have caught the fly for the third out. Instead a run scored, but it wasn’t the pitcher’s fault.
Lee gets two strikes on the next batter, then throws a ball right down the middle (which the announcers point out) which the umpire calls a ball. The batter, who actually struck out for the fourth out of the inning, ends up with a walk…and the announcers later talk over and over again about the walk Lee gave up, which they know was actually a strike out.
The next batter hits a grounder past the minor league third baseman, which once again, a starting Major League infielder would have caught. That was the fifth out of the inning.
Apparently shaken up by this lack of support, Lee then issues a bases loaded walk (this time on a couple of very close pitches that certainly didn’t mean he had lost his control) and as far as the ESPN announcers are concerned he didn’t have his stuff.
Have the announcers been issued orders that the umps are always right, and never to refer afterwards to bad calls or poor plays unless the official scorer calls them errors? Fortunately for Cliff Lee his manager knows what happened, and it was only Spring Training.
Spring Training has started, baseball is back! Unfortunately MLB.com has done nothing to repair a glaring flaw in their Gameday Audio system.
I have paid for Gameday Audio since the system started. But often last year when I clicked to listen to a game, I got an error message saying I was a returning subscriber from the previous year who had not yet paid for the current year. This was untrue, but the only work-around was to switch to a different browser. Sometimes this worked, sometimes I wasn’t allowed to listen to a game for which I had paid.
I don’t know how many times I complained to MLB.com about this. Usually they ignored my complaints, when they did answer they apparently never understood the problem or did anything about it.
I had great hopes, however, that with a new season the problem would be solved. The new MLB media player is even based on a new platform, Microsoft’s Flash alternative Silverlight. But no, less than a week into Spring Training the problem persists, MLB.com has obviously done nothing to fix it.
They did, however actually respond to my complaint, but their response fails to inspire confidence:
Response (Venus Powell) - 03/04/2008 03:01 PM
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately, you have not provided enough information to assist with
your request. Please provide us with the email address you have
registered under so we can assist your further.
Thank you for taking the time to write!
This message saying they didn’t know my e-mail address was sent to my e-mail address. They seem to have no problems collecting money from subscribers, but are clueless about fixing a basic problem in their system. (As well as apparently not knowing what e-mail addresses they are writing to.)
And they still haven’t addressed other problems I have raised with them, why purchased MLB.tv games can’t be burned to DVDs to watch on a TV set (who on Earth wants to watch a two and a half hour baseball game on a computer?) and why they can’t make Gameday Audio available on a delayed basis in MP3 format?
Since MLB Radio practically never replies to e-mail from users with problems, here’s a wishlist for things to fix for next season:
- The error that has plagued returning Gameday Audio users all year has to be fixed. On a regular basis, returning subscribers, who subscribed to the 2007 season, when logging in have received messages encouraging them to subscribe again, and blocking further access. The only work-around has been to try a different browser, rotating listening from IE to Firefix to Netscape. This extremely irritating problem must be fixed.
- Some kind of mp3 solution has to be found so that subscribers can download and listen to games on portable players (and NOT just the iPod). There are obviously concerns about DRM and protecting against piracy. On the other hand, interest in a game usually lasts until the next game, and what kind of profit loss can there be in the availability of old games few want to listen to? By the time anyone spreads a file, no one would be interested.
- Subscribers should be able to burn the downloadable TV games to DVD. Watching a baseball game in front of a computer is ridiculous. If you pay for the game, you ought to be able to watch it on your TV.
That said, one feature of Gameday Audio did improve in 2007. In 2006 most attempts to fast forward within a game ended up returning to 0. This year it actually has worked.