How many outs? Baseball playoff graphics compared
October 28, 2019 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Jason Snell of Six Colors takes a look at the on-screen graphics used by the various broadcasters of the Major League Baseball playoffs, and finds that "With the exception of MLB Network, which needs to go back to the woodshed, these are all graphics packages worth applauding."
posted by Etrigan (22 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I admit to being only a casual viewer of baseball, since we don't have a local team and none of the local station carry a broadcast but I find the graphics and "video-gamification" of baseball games incredibly distracting.

Take the current broadcast of the World Series.
Does the fact that the strike box lingers after the pitch not bother anyone else? Half the time the pitcher is walking through it.
Do we really need animated lines showing us where the ball went and ridiculous projected home run distance?

In that context, I think he is right, the Fox graphics are incredibly restrained. They don't blink or bounce. There aren't any animated players heads popping out of them or whatever.
Honestly, it sounds weird to say, but kudos to them for not labeling it the "Bud Light Box Score" or some crap and having a Budweiser border all the way around it.
posted by madajb at 12:50 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Fox makes up for the decent readable graphics by coming back from breaks in the middle of pitches, occasionally shaky camerawork, using camera angles that don't show the complete play, and splitscreen interviews with managers during at-bats.
posted by mattamatic at 3:06 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


Fox makes up for the decent readable graphics by coming back from breaks in the middle of pitches, occasionally shaky camerawork, using camera angles that don't show the complete play, and splitscreen interviews with managers during at-bats.

If you protest too much, they’ll bring out
Cleatus as your punishment. Just let Fox be, there is no reason to make them angry.
posted by jmauro at 3:51 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Go Giants!
posted by chavenet at 3:53 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


madajb: "Does the fact that the strike box lingers after the pitch not bother anyone else? "

It sure did when the ump called what was clearly a 4th ball as strike, against the Nats.
posted by chavenet at 4:25 AM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


The era of meaningless Statcast visualizations has me returning to baseball on the radio. Get off my lawn.
posted by avocet at 5:50 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid with too much time on his hands and access to CorelDraw!, I had two long-running projects: one was to recreate every variation of the The Learning Channel logo I saw, with the various gradient treatments and show-specific versions and whatnot. The other was recreating the baseball score boxes from different TV networks. So somewhere on a probably unreadable CD-R is a CorelDraw! file that vaguely resembles a whole bunch of onscreen graphics from the late 90s.
posted by chrominance at 6:12 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Not to dump on anybody's sportsball of choice, but to me (who played Baseball as kid), it's weird how much of the enjoyment of the sport seems to be mediated intellectually, based off of stats and rules and numbers, rather than say, Basketball, which is more about bodies moving in 3d space, for example.
posted by signal at 6:18 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Does the fact that the strike box lingers after the pitch not bother anyone else? Half the time the pitcher is walking through it.
Do we really need animated lines showing us where the ball went and ridiculous projected home run distance?


I honestly never noticed the box lingering, so I guess I don't mind. I definitely like the addition of the pitch speed onto the "dots" in the strike zone box, though.

I really like the graphics tracking the path of the pitched ball. Some of these pitchers put some amazing and wicked movement on the ball, and it's very entertaining to have that movement traced.

The home run ball path is probably the least interesting/informative graphic. I could easily lose it.

FoxSports can be a very irritating production (please, can we get rid of the awful, overblown "gladiators entering the coliseum" anthem?) but at least their graphics are good.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:28 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oy there's a web site called sixcolors? I got a Mefi PTSD trigger when first saw this FPP.
posted by Melismata at 6:49 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]



Just let Fox be, there is no reason to make them angry.

Lest you anger the and they create technology no one wanted or asked for.

I'm reminded of that one time the NHL put a highlight around a hockey puck, FoxTrax, for the Stanley Cup Championship and how everyone lost their minds. Sometimes it's best not to mess with what works.
posted by Fizz at 7:06 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Fox makes up for the decent readable graphics by coming back from breaks in the middle of pitches, occasionally shaky camerawork, using camera angles that don't show the complete play, and splitscreen interviews with managers during at-bats.

Don't forget people eating.
I swear someone on the production team has some sort of weird food fetish, the number of times they show a player dribbling sunflower seeds down their front.
posted by madajb at 9:00 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of nitpicking I can really get behind. I'm also really glad many sports networks have moved away from the information overload we used to see, though they occasionally still indulge in it. NFL games are probably the biggest offenders. I don't watch a lot of sports so when I do I want to see the sport.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have an issue with the standard camera angle in which 90% of the game is broadcast (camera in the center-field showing the back of the pitcher, the batter and catcher).
When there's a runner on base, isn't there a way the TV broadcast could show a picture-in-picture display of the runner? We have ultra wide TV's, yet only about 30% of the screen is filled, in the center. Why not have 1 box per runner, off to the left side, so we can see their movement.

I find it annoying that the only way we know if a runner is stealing second is when the announcer says "and he's off!". If my idea of a picture in picture is too wild, they could just put a moving graphic in the score-bug. In fact, the "occupied bases" graphic could be interactive, with little dots representing the runners and where they're at in real-time.

Has this been bugging anyone else?
posted by mcroy at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


My dad used to umpire beer league games and I have his old "pitch count and out tracker" device. It has three click wheels: one for Balls, one for Strikes, and one for Outs. It has always bothered me that the Ball click wheel goes to 4, the Strike wheel goes to 3 and the Outs wheel goes to 3.

There's never a reason to have the thing sitting on eg. "3 outs" -- you never have to glance down and recall "right now there are 3 outs". So I think I like the on-screen use of 2 dots for outs.

If I were in charge of television curling broadcasts I might add an overhead overlay showing the positions of all stones.
posted by pseudotsuga at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2019


When there's a runner on base, isn't there a way the TV broadcast could show a picture-in-picture display of the runner?

I'm sure I have seen that. I don't know why it's not done a lot.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2019


I am a die-hard baseball-on-the-radio person, but I do have fond memories of my dad watching the ballgame "just long enough to see what the score is". Back when the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, stations would only show the score right before the commercials at the end of the half-inning. Or, maybe randomly flash the score up in the middle of a half-inning if it was taking a while. The score was important, of course, but it definitely wasn't "part of the action".
posted by Gray Duck at 1:45 PM on October 28, 2019


~When there's a runner on base, isn't there a way the TV broadcast could show a picture-in-picture display of the runner?

~I'm sure I have seen that. I don't know why it's not done a lot.


They definitely do it when there’s a bona-fide base-stealer aboard. Otherwise, I think it’s limited to situations where stealing would the correct tactical play.

I think it was TBS during the playoffs that had a graphic they called The Go Zone. It was over(under?)laid onto the shot of a runner on first base, illustrating his lead-off. The closer he stayed to the base, the zone was in red, indicating he more than likely would get picked-off if he ran from that distance. But, if the runner’s lead edged closer to a line, the graphic would change to green, indicating a higher chance of a successful steal. It was actually pretty cool.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2019


There's never a reason to have the thing sitting on eg. "3 outs" -- you never have to glance down and recall "right now there are 3 outs". So I think I like the on-screen use of 2 dots for outs.

And a full count with 2 outs looks like something important!
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:38 PM on October 28, 2019


I have an issue with the standard camera angle in which 90% of the game is broadcast (camera in the center-field showing the back of the pitcher, the batter and catcher).
When there's a runner on base, isn't there a way the TV broadcast could show a picture-in-picture display of the runner? We have ultra wide TV's, yet only about 30% of the screen is filled, in the center. Why not have 1 box per runner, off to the left side, so we can see their movement.


I've always liked the backstop camera angle.

The main problem, of course, is that you don't get a great view of the pitch, but I think that when there is movement on the bases, it's more important to see that than seeing the pitch.
When there is no one on base or an intense pitching contest happening, they could use the regular center field camera.

There is also a stadium camera view they use occasionally, which shows basically the entire playing field as if you were viewing it from the outfield lights.
It's great for highlighting the shift and seeing an player get the jump on the ball.
posted by madajb at 4:00 PM on October 28, 2019


When there's a runner on base, isn't there a way the TV broadcast could show a picture-in-picture display of the runner?

RBI Baseball for the NES had this view.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:41 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


The era of meaningless Statcast visualizations has me returning to baseball on the radio. Get off my lawn.

I spent from March to September working in Jersey City, staying a few nights a week and then rolling back to Albany on Wed night to WFH Thurs and Fri.

And between where the jazz station in Newark died out and WPDH in Poughkeepsie picked up, I'd be on WCBS-AM listening to the Mets lose.

It was very enjoyable.
posted by mikelieman at 6:23 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


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