Monday, September 22, 2008

ESPN Got It Right

I'm usually the first to bash ESPN, but I have to hand it to them - they got the coverage of the final game at Yankee Stadium right. Of course you had to put up with Miller, Morgan and Gammons, but even Gammo can, from time to time, recognize history and put his biases aside.

The star of the evening were the many "lasts," and ESPN covered each one properly.

  • The entire pregame ceremony was broadcast.
  • The roll call was shown in three windows - one on the action, one on the bleachers, and one on the player whose name was being chanted. I'd never seen it presented this way on TV before, and I think it showed the proper respect. Of everyone, Johnny Damon certainly seemed to play to the crowd most of all, with his Elvis-style slide/point.
  • Yogi and Whitey were in the booth for a while, and an inning ended while Whitey was telling a story. Rather than cut him off, Miller allowed Ford to keep talking and finish the story before cutting to a commercial. That was classy. Plus, how cool was it to have both Whitey and Yogi there together?
  • Michael Kay - of whom I am no great fan - was in the booth to represent the Yankee broadcasters, who obviously lost the right to call the last game in the big ballpark in the Bronx. Rather than just having him as a guest, he was the play-by-play man for the half-inning. That was a classy move to let him call at least part of the last game.
  • Cameras were constantly finding former players walking through the stands... Cone, Wells, Martinez... it gave a good sense of what it would be like to be a fan in those seats.
  • Pre-recorded moments, such as those with Reggie out in the black seats, were spot-on and didn't distract from the game as it progressed.
  • When Mariano Rivera was summoned for the ninth inning - as everyone knew he would be, regardless of the score - ESPN had a cameraperson in the bullpen, following him out to the mound. No cut to commercial here - we saw Rivera make his last trip through the gates to the mound. Some people criticized FOX for cutting away during this moment at the All-Star game... personally, I understood the FOX move, but this was different because it was truly the last time that man would make that walk.
  • Jon Miller and Joe Morgan said very little during the bottom of the ninth, and let the stadium and game speak for itself.
  • ESPN stayed with the entire post-game, including the players' lap around the field.

I give ESPN a lot of shit most of the time, but really their coverage was very professional and classy, two adjectives I do not often see associated with that network.

Now if only they would Yankee-hating Jim Caple already, I'd be a happy camper.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:39 PM   0 comments


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