Nineteenth in a series.
Broadcast: St. Louis Cardinals on FSN Midwest, Milwaukee at Cardinals, 7/24/08; Announcers: Dan McLaughlin (play-by-play), Al Hrabosky (analyst)
With one out in the top of the 9th inning of this game, Cardinals pitcher Ryan Franklin was named the “Budweiser Great Player of the Game.” At that moment, Franklin was on the mound about to face Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, with St. Louis trying to hold on to a 3-2 lead.
This “award” seemed a tad presumptuous at that point in the game, but Al Hrabosky explained that they were predicting that Franklin would get a double play ground ball to end the game. However, Braun crushed a two-run homer to the bleachers in left-center and the Brewers went on to win 4-3. It’s just more proof that sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect.
And so it was with this broadcast. Since I’ve had the MLB Extra Innings package I’ve gotten at least partial glimpses of every team’s broadcast, so I had some ideas of what to expect when I started these reports. In some cases the broadcasts lived up (Dodgers) -- or down (White Sox…shudder) -- to my expectations. However, the Cards’ telecast was better than I thought it would be. Not great by any means -- Dan McLaughlin reminds me a lot of Joe Buck, which almost makes sense considering Buck’s ties to the franchise -- but not bad.
During the game, in mentioning the Cardinals’ late-inning struggles during the Brewers series, McLaughlin said it seemed like the crowd at Busch Stadium was subdued, as if they were waiting for something bad to happen. Perhaps McLaughlin and Hrabosky were feeling the same way, as for the most part they kept inane, off-topic banter to a minimum.
They did, however, feel the need to repeat a few times the fact that Milwaukee starter Ben Sheets has never won more than 12 games in a season in his major league career. It seemed like it was wishful thinking for a losing effort from Sheets that night, seeing as how he was 10-3 going into the game; his win total can be blamed in part on the pretty bad Milwaukee teams he's pitched for, as well as missed time due to injuries.
A few times during the game either the Cards or their fans had issues with some close pitches, but each time Hrabosky agreed with the umpire’s calls. And when a graphic came on screen shortly after the Braun homer, showing that St. Louis in the 9th was sending Troy Glaus (0 for 3), Ryan Ludwick (0 for 2) and Jason LaRue (0 for 2) to the plate, Hrabosky gave me a chuckle with they way he said,“That’s encouraging.” Sure enough, all three struck out.
Technically it was the standard FSN production, but the commercials before the top of the first ran so long that they missed the first pitch of the game and nearly missed the second. A game starting or resuming before a commercial break ends is a pet peeve of mine. If you’re going to televise a game, you should make an effort to televise the entire game. You know, players have been known to hit the first pitch of an at-bat, sometimes over the fence. Grade: B-minus. -- Joe Guckin