ESPN Broadcast Was Fine For Spring Training
If you had the opportunity to watch the Spring Training matchup between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals, we’ll have to assume you were in Port St. Lucie. That assumption was made because not much of the game was actually televised.
Obviously, that’s an exaggeration. Alliteration was made here because ESPN made a very concerted effort to conduct a number of interviews rather than focus on the game action.
That was a theme throughout the game. The announcers mostly did interviews. For the Mets, perhaps the most notable was Sandy Alderson, who was audibly frustrated while Jeurys Familia was struggling.
That was the obvious intention of the broadcast. They were talking baseball, and they were giving both teams an opportunity to introduce themselves to the viewers.
For their part, managers Luis Rojas and Dave Martinez were insightful. In terms of Rojas, his talking about how Francisco Lindor is not only a leader but also a teacher gave us a unique and fascinating look at the Mets new superstar.
There was also sentimental discussion about the legends who passed including Hank Aaron and Tom Seaver. Touching moments included Eduardo Perez talking about Joe Morgan, and Tim Kurkjian talking about Shannon Forde.
Again, not much discussion about the game. It did happen, but not really. If this was a regular season game, it would’ve been really annoying. However, even with issues ESPN has with their telecasts, this wasn’t a regular season game.
This was a Spring Training game. Much like they did last year, ESPN used it as an opportunity to help showcase personalities to help grow the game. It was EXTREMELY effective last year with it being the first step in Dominic Smith becoming not just a fan favorite, but also his becoming a more prominent player.
If you want to pick nits, the only people tuning into these games are the diehards who want to see the players. Still, there are others who throw it on just to watch something, and a telecast like this introduced them to some of the best players in the game.
For many, this broadcast didn’t work, and that’s fine. What matters is ESPN tried something to try to grow the game, and attempts like that is a good thing. We need more of that, and Spring Training is the perfect time to try that.
Overall, this worked last year, but it didn’t really work this year. Let’s see how it works in 2022 and beyond. More importantly, let’s see if this can help grow the game because at the end of the day, that’s what they’re trying to do.