Category Archives: News

News Bites for January 26, 2015

Wildcats lose play-by-play voice Chris Graham; WNC baseball looks for new broadcaster: Chris Graham, who has called the games for the Western Nevada College baseball team for eight years, is leaving the voluntary post for a full-time job with the Nevada legislature.  If you have your own broadcasting equipment and have a deep understanding of baseball, contact Coach DJ Whittemore at (775) 445-3250 to apply.

Auburn Doubledays hire an operations manager, play-by-play voice: The nascent New York-Penn League franchise has hired David Lauterbach, a senior at Syracuse University, as their play-by-play voice.  Lauterbach worked the games for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League for the past two seasons.

Headrick joins RailRiders broadcast team: The Yankees’ Triple A affiliate in Scranton-Wilkes Barre has hired Darren Headrick as color announcer alongside play-by-play guy John Sadakon on both radio and television game broadcasts.  Headrick previously did PxP for the indians’ Advanced A affiliate Carolina Mudcats, and was named 2013 Carolina League Broadcaster of the Year.

Welcome Liebhaber to the radio booth: The Jackson Generals radio booth, that is.  Brandon Liebhaber is a 22-year-old graduate of Northwestern University.  The Generals, who play in the Southern League, are the Double A affiliates of the Mariners. Liebhaber has previously announced in the Cape Cod league and for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League.

Royals’ Matthews on pace of play: Keep hitter in batter’s box, call a strike a strike: As the Royals’ TV PxP announcer, Denny Matthews has a definite opinion about pace of play.

Bye Bye, Bud: Selig Left His Mark On Baseball: Say what you want about the guy.  Whether you love him or hate him, either way, you gotta admit it: the reign of Bud Selig has been very positive for the growth of baseball media.

 

In Case You Missed It …

It’s been a long time since we’ve posted anything in the way of news here.  Bad on us, and we’re working to be better in 2015.  We have to, because it’s our New Year’s resolution.

So we’re jumping back in by providing links to some of the top baseball media stories that have broken just since the end of the season.

World Series TV Ratings: Giants/Royals Game 7 Nears Ten-Year High: Game Sevens really do matter. The only game with a higher rating in the past ten years was also a Game 7 (2011 Rangers/Cardinals).

MLB’s Low National Ratings vs. Record-High Local Ratings: I love dichotomies, and not just because it’s a fun word to say.  Although as the Sporting News says in that first linked article, it might be more of a Fox problem than a general national problem. If you want to know what I think, ask me offline.

DIRECTV and Disney sign long-term agreement; adds WatchESPN and Longhorn Network: Oh my god, THANK you. Finally. This means you (and I) as a D*TV subscriber will soon be able to watch baseball on your smartphone or tablet without begging a friend for their Dish or WOW login credentials.

Early overdose: Even without Jeter, ESPN still loves Yankees for Sunday night: You probably already saw this in Chad Osborne’s post from last week.  Eye rolls, yeah, I know, but let’s face it: almost 9% of the entire US lives in the New York and Boston TV markets, but also, according to Facebook, the Yankees and Red Sox are among the top teams in basically every county in the United States. Just goes to show you: you don’t always have to rob banks to know where the money is.

Chicago news: Harrelson pumped up about White Sox moves; won’t cut back schedule: Vin Scully isn’t the only multiple decade-tenured broadcasters working well into his golden years.  And just think, Hawk Harrelson is 13 years younger than Vin, so maybe he’s got a long way to go?

ESPN goes all in on Cubs to open 2015 baseball season: And really, who doesn’t want to spend a chilly Sunday night in April gazing at a Jumbotron rising from the surrounding wreckage whence people once watched baseball games?

Networks will be active in quickening the pace in baseball; New commish expected to be ‘open to new ideas’: This is one of those rare instances in which the interests of fans and of broadcasters are well-aligned.

Long-time Detroit baseball writer retiring after 29 years on the beat: Did you know that John Lowe invented the quality start?  He may be ink-stained, but he’s not a wretch.

The Sportswriter of the Year is Si’s Tom Verducci: Tom is both a baseball journalist and a baseball broadcaster, so he’s double trouble, and thus a favorite.

SportsNet LA standoff was top story: Because of TWC’s strong-arm methods, 70% of the LA market did not have Dodger games available to them, and there doesn’t appear to be any thawing for 2015 as of yet.

Scully may travel less in 2015: And really, who can blame him? After all, the guy is 86 freaking years old.  Most people born the same year as he was aren’t traveling anywhere anymore.  (Yes, it’s because they’re dead.)

Fox’s Chatty Booth Makes Few Good Points to Speak of During World Series: Two’s company, three’s a crowd?  Four is definitely a British Invasion band, though.

Postseason Vanishing From Broadcast Networks: But with the combination of cable and “alternate delivery systems” penetrating about 90% of TV households, will anyone really miss it?

Enberg, Gage Named Ford C. Frick Award Winners: Big shout out to two Detroiters made good in baseball media.  Hat tip to you both.  Congratulations.

 

Vin Scully is Coming Back for a 66th Season!

Vin Scully
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully will return to broadcast for a 66th season in 2015, the team announced on Tuesday night. (h/t SBNation.com)

Good lord, how did we become so blessed?

At least this will give TWC and the various LA cable operators—and Congress?!—another year to hammer out an arbitrated deal so that everyone in the Los Angeles market can actually enjoy the dulcet tones and exquisite stories of Vin Sully.

Read all about it here:

Vin Scully to return to broadcast Dodgers games in 2015 (SBNation.com)

Fox Reports Tiger Games Have Highest Ratings in the Market

Fox Sports Detroit reports that since the beginning of the season on March 31, the average household rating for Tigers games is 7.5, which means that 7.5% of all the household with televisions in the Detroit DMA (i.e., TV market) are tuned to the Tigers game.

In prime time, the rating goes up to 8.4, which is 71% higher than WDIV (NBC), in second place with a 4.9.

For a city routinely called “Hockeytown”, that’s pretty amazing, and also pretty great.

Read more here:

Tigers telecasts on FSD dominate summer TV ratings

Tigers TV Ratings, Still Best in the Biz, Down -17%

At some point all things plateau.  It’s anybody’s guess as to whether this truism applies to fan interest in the Detroit Tigers at the halfway point of the 2014 season.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Fox Sports Detroit reveals that 72 broadcasts into the season, the team is averaging a 7.53 household rating in 2014, versus 9.02 at the same point in 2013, a stunning -17% drop.  This, despite the Tigers’ record being better now (1st place, 47-34, +4½ games) than at this time last year (2nd place, 43-38, ½ game behind).  Nevertheless, Greg Hammaren, a Detroit media executive, states that the team is still on pace to lead all MLB teams in local TV ratings for at least the third straight year.

Hammaren also states that he is unsure why the ratings have gone down, although he speculates in the story that some of the loss could be attributed to the now three-week-old World Cup, which on the face of it doesn’t seem to pass the smell test, but might be possible in the spirit of “anything is possible”.

My own non-professional speculation, which I admit is coming completely out of my ear and is being offered with my Tiger fan goggles on, is that Michiganders might be getting a wee bit weary of supporting a team they’ve been hearing for years is one of the best in baseball and the leading favorites to win it all, yet who have not brought home even a single World Series title, and who couldn’t even get past an inferior Red Sox team they obviously outplayed in last year’s ALCS.  I’m just spitballing here, though …

FWIW, Comerica Park attendance is also down, by -6.2%.

Read more about it here:

Midseason report: Tigers attendance, TV ratings down from 2013

MLB on TBS Returns to the Air on July 6

The first regular season Sunday Afternoon TBS game takes place this weekend with a 2:00pm (ET) matchup in which the Minnesota Twins (hey, surprise!) host the New York Yankees (oh, right, that’s why).

MLB on TBS broadcasts will continue weekly through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, when TBS will air Wild Card round; take on two of the League Division Series; and one of the League Championship Series.

One extra twist starting this year: TBS will not force a blackout of, or be blacked out by, the local broadcast to protect an exclusivity by either.  TBS will air the game locally in the Twins’ broadcast territory across from the Fox Sports North broadcast of the same game.

Read more here:

MLB ON TBS IS BACK ON JULY 6

 

 

The AP Will Provide ‘Faster, More Engaging’ Game Summaries Starting 7/28/14

News from the print world this week is that the Associated Press will substantially change the way they write up games after they are played.  Instead of chronicling “every big play, every no-hitter and every controversy on the field during the hundreds of games that make up the major league baseball season”, AP will go to a “shorter, … faster” format meant to better engage readers in this ever accelerating world of ours.  (No quote marks on that last one, there—that one’s pure Chuck.)

Here’s how writeups will change:

The basics won’t change: We will continue to publish a NewsNow at game’s end, a 300-word writethru shortly after, followed by a 600-word writethru and a hometown lead.

What will change is how those stories look. The top of the story will continue to look like a traditional AP game story. After 300 words, the text will break into a chunky-text presentation featuring up to five bullet points that explain team storylines, key plays, injuries and a look ahead to what’s next for a team or player.

A “chunky-text presentation”, which looks to be a uniquely AP appellation coined specifically for this press release, appears to occur when a story breaks into short paragraphs set off by in-story headline-like phrases in capital letters, like so:

TIPPING PITCHES?

One night after Cleveland’s struggling right-hander Danny Salazar said he might be tipping his pitches, Indians manager Terry Francona said the 24-year-old Salazar is just leaving too many over the plate. Francona was surprised Salazar would say he was giving hitters clues.

“He’s not,” Francona said. “There were some instances last year in spring training that we kind of addressed with him. But, no, we really keep an eye on that.”

SLUMPS

Royals: Perez snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a drive over the center field wall off Masterson in the second inning for his first homer. The Royals catcher with a .295 average in three-plus seasons entered batting just .211 in 71 at-bats.

Indians: Third baseman-designated hitter Carlos Santana is in a 2-for-46 (.043) slide.

Both Ed Sherman (he of the eponymous Report) and Joe Lucia (at Fang’s Bites) like the idea, believing this change will make it easier for readers to digest (no more “meaningless information” that means nothing to the game’s bottom line) and for AP writers to whip up (less time-consuming and more opportunity for creative writing).  OK, we’ll go with that opinion as well.

Read more here:

A faster, new format for AP’s Major League Baseball game stories

Associated Press to go to bullet style for baseball game stories

THE AP IS CHANGING THEIR GAME STORY FORMAT

Ratings for MLB and College Ball on ESPN: Good

Where Fox is flailing, ESPN apparently is succeeding.

On the major league level, Fox’s Saturday night games slate has so far registered viewer interest level in the range of , but ESPN Sunday Night Baseball is getting a  from viewers, averaging a 1.3 household rating, which translates to 2 million total viewers.

Astute readers might note that the Fox number (which you can see by clicking on the “meh” icon above) is actually bigger than the ESPN number, but remember that Fox is a broadcast network with practically 100% penetration and greater ratings expectations based on its heritage and place on the dial, while ESPN is available in only about 87% of households and lives in triple digit land on most systems.

Last Sunday’s game was likely helped by the US-Portugal World Cup soccer (or “fútbol”, if you prefer) match, as the Rangers-Angels drew a 2.9, best number since a Yankees-Red Sox tilt from last August.  Or maybe more people watched so they could espy the primo Yu Darvish-Mike Trout matchup.  You’re a baseball fan—you decide.  We just report.

On the college front, the College World Series final between Vanderbilt and Virginia helped the Worldwide Leader (in more ways than one, apparently) to a viewership number of 2.4 million, best since 2009’s LSU/Texas final.  The game was, in fact, the third most-watched baseball game of any kind on ESPN all year, trailing only two games of the major league variety.

Read more here:

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Up; Hits Season High Thanks to World Cup

College World Series Final Sees Increases on ESPN (includes nifty six year historical viewership table)

Rangers Beat Writer Durrett Dead at 38

Richard Durrett, a Texas Rangers beat writer for ESPNDallas.com, passed away Tuesday at the age of 38.  The cause of death has not yet been officially announced, but reports unconfirmed as of Wednesday mid-afternoon are that the cause was a brain aneurysm.  Services are pending.

ESPNDallas.com Richard Durrett died Tuesday at the age of 38.

Prior to joining ESPN in September 2009, Durrett was at The Dallas Morning News for nine years, and was previously sports editor at the Record-Chronicle in Denton, Texas. In addition, he hosted a radio show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM with Ian Fitzsimmons for a number of years.

It is always jarring to hear of anyone so young dying so suddenly, and at the hand of a cause that could happen to anyone anytime, and which strikes without warning.   Durrett is survived by his wife, Kelly, and two children.  If you are inclined to, you can say a prayer or hold a good thought for his survivors.  Or, if you are more into action than thoughts, you can donate to a fund set up to benefit the Durrett family on the Rangers website, at texasrangers.com/foundation.

Read more about this story here:

ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett dies suddenly at age 38

ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett dies

Richard Durrett has left us too soon

Chicago Broadcast Update: And the Hits Just Keep Coming?

This morning’s Chicago Tribune has a front page story on the potential for the Cubs moving their broadcast (i.e., over-the-air) games, currently on WGN-TV, to another station in the market beginning with 2015.  Possible other TV affiliates, according to the article, might include WPWR-TV (channel 50) and WCIU-TV (channel 26), the latter of which already carries eight overflow Cubs games on behalf of WGN-TV.

I don’t believe the article is breaking any news here, since last year the Cubs exercise their right to pull out of the current WGN-TV deal after the 2014 season, given the current rash of ever-escalating rights deal being signed by teams.  But given the events of the last few days, the paper saw fit to make hay on the story and resurrect to take advantage of exquisite timing.

That said, it is valid to bring up, and the article points out why: for a supposedly big market team that is the darling of so many fans across the country, let alone the city and the state, the Cubs make far less per game on TV rights than other teams of its size.  For example, the article points out that the Los Angeles Dodgers make about $2 million per game in TV rights on their new deal, while the Cubs make just $500,000 per game that runs on Comcast SportsNet, their RSN partner, and about half that for games running on WGN and WCIU, which makes up about half the schedule.

Read all about it here:

Chicago Cubs seeking new TV home, may leave WGN-TV