Friday, January 8, 2010

Sports Broadcasts Rants

I'm a hockey fan. Huh??? you say? It's true. It happened back around 1999-2001 when the Stars won a couple Stanley cups. Being from the Dallas area, I got caught up in the hype and watched. But I came to really enjoy the game. It is a non-stop battle. It's so hard to score that when it finally happens, I think it is the most exciting score of any sports. Now saying all that, I've pretty much self-taught myself the rules. And there are plenty I'm still not familiar with.

And that brings me to the point of this rant. Fox Sports, the channel Stars games are featured on, is really bad about not explaining anything, particularly when it comes to penalties. Well they all are bad about it, really. Sometimes they'll say something like "2 minutes for high sticking" but they rarely show it again. I need to see the penalty so I know what constitutes it. Sometimes it can be as bad as just saying "2 minute minor" indication of what foul was committed. It's hard for me to see penalties at the high rate of play most sports are, so it would be nice if broadcasters would take a second to show the penalty while play is stopped. The other day, I saw my first "misconduct" penalty...a 10 minute one! No explanation.

Explain a rule every so often! I'm not asking for something unreasonable like explain everything every game (more on that in a second). That would suck for the fans that know what is going on. But every few games, when something happens, just take a second to explain it. For example, icing. This was hard for me to figure out. If a commentator had simply said "and the puck travels across the lines without being played so icing will be called"...I'd have known. That's a non-invasive way of slipping in an explanation, I think. (Incidentally, icing is a rule so that players are forced to play the puck across the rink and not just shoot it down the ice. If called, the puck comes back to the other side for a face-off.) They all list season records with 4 numbers, as in something like 10-4-2-0. Okay, win-loss-tie?-??? What the crap are those numbers? They never say! What are these "points" a team accumulates that determine who gets into playoffs? How are they different from points an individual player gets? How the heck do either EARN the stinking points??? Frustrating!

There are still plenty of other things I don't understand, like what exactly constitutes interference or the technicalities of where a face-off happens...but the internet has been helpful to some extent. I've even downloaded the NHL Official Rule Book. Haha. In summary, I think broadcasts would benefit from this notion because it would pick up new viewers long term by keeping them interested (because they are learning) and informed. Finding a balance for the pro-viewers and the new viewers is win-win!

But at the same time, it can't be taken to the other extreme, which is to over-explain a procedure every stinking time. And the overly glaring offender here comes from football and the video review. How long have we had reviews now? WE KNOW THE EVIDENCE HAS TO BE INDISPUTABLE! Do you have nothing else to say? Yes, it must be conclusive enough to overturn. Thank you! We got that the first year. Gah!

And just while we're on this subject, can I just say how useless coach and player interviews are? Just play a record that says "we need to work harder, score more points than [the other team], and come out ready to play", etc...because that's basically all these interviews amount to. Well, duhhhh! Can I get the last 5 minutes of my life back please? If you didn't do those things why show up? How about some substance. Call out some specifics! I know they don't want to point to individual players, but come on! What about the "running game" do you need to work on? HOW do you work on not turning over the ball? Substance! Amirite?

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