Seventeenth in a series.
Broadcast: Detroit Tigers on FSN Detroit, Tigers at Baltimore, 7/17/08; Announcers: Mario Impemba (play-by-play), Rod Allen (analyst)
Normally, the MLB Extra Innings package for digital cable provides just one team’s broadcast for each available game. However, for the first few days after the All-Star break, they’ve run a free preview and provided both teams’ broadcasts at times -- particularly on this night, when there were only 4 games on the schedule, making for a lot of available channels. (On my system the package is carried on channels 771 through 784.)
So I had an idea: watch a game twice. Watch both teams’ broadcasts and, if a controversial play or umpire’s call or bench-clearing brawl occurred, see how each announcing team handled it.
I set my DVR to tape the Tigers-Orioles game on both channels. Unfortunately, when I went to start watching, somehow the Orioles’ recording never took place. This sound pretty much sums up my reaction.
As for the Tigers’ broadcast, it wasn’t unbearable, though Mario Impemba and Rod Allen, like so many broadcasters, like to get silly at times. For example, in the top of the 2nd inning Gary Sheffield ripped a two-run homer. Impemba’s immediate comment after the homer was “Gary apparently had a good break.” Allen said that Sheffield was in the Bahamas, and added, “We should all be so fortunate to be able to take 3 days and go to the Bahamas.”
Impemba: “You don’t have a house there?”
Allen: “I sure don’t, nor do I have a plane that will get me there.”
Sorry to hear that. Now could you perhaps provide some insight into this home run we just saw?
On the other hand, maybe not. In the bottom of the 3rd, Baltimore’s Nick Markakis was on first with one out when Aubrey Huff hit a fly to deep left. For some reason Markakis tagged up, started towards second, then stopped, then continued towards second, where he was tagged out. It was an early end to an inning where the Orioles had tied the game at 3-3; Detroit eventually won it 6-5. Allen speculated that maybe Markakis ran because he thought the throw would be to home plate. Unfortunately, no runner was on third -- he had already scored on the previous play.
Worse, during the Coors Light Freeze Cam segment in the Coors Light 6th Inning (yes, some teams actually call it the Coors Light 6th Inning), the play shown was the Markakis baserunning error in the 3rd, and Allen started his recap with “there were runners at first and third…” The split screen showed a close up of Markakis in the smaller window, and the other, larger window showed the fly ball from a camera behind home plate, far enough away that it was obvious no runner was at third base. Allen never picked up on it and clearly no one else alerted him.
Former Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline, a native of Baltimore, was in the booth for an inning. Formerly a Tigers broadcaster, he’s currently a Special Assistant to the team president, so he fit in pretty well with some analysis of the Tigers’ season as well as stories of his high school team in Baltimore.
There was a technical glitch at the start of the 5th inning. There was no sound for a few pitches. Once the problem was solved, Impemba apologized “for some technical issues with our audio…though some of you may prefer to have it that way.” Not quite, but… Grade: C. -- Joe Guckin