Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sports And TV Continue To Mix

Thursday marks (potentially) one of the most important dates in baseball history, as Major League Baseball begins the use of instant replay during games. The new rules allow umpires to check on a TV monitor whether a ball was a home run or not as opposed to a foul ball or a ball that didn't clear the fence.

The rules' proponents argue that it will help ensure accuracy by clearing up any disputes over balls that are too close to call, and will help out umpires who have to make a call in a fraction of a second about a ball that is several hundred feet away.

People opposing the rule argue that the beauty of baseball factors in human error, that instant replay will slow the game and that the process is a slippery slope. Whose to say MLB won't enact replays for balls and strikes or close plays at first base?

As much as I am a baseball purist, I have to say that while I don't think replay is necessary, I don't think it will harm the game, either. How many balls are really that close where replay is necessary? A few, but not that many. The one thing I oppose is making the change during the season. Baseball has been around more than a century; we could have waited until next spring training to make the switch.

In a completely unrelated story, the SEC and ESPN signed a mega-deal earlier this week for a 15-year partnership that begins in 2009. Every SEC football game (except for those that fall under the CBS deal) will be broadcast on an ESPN network, such as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

In addition, the deal allows for ESPN to carry men's and women's basketball games, as well as other, non-revenue sports.

Considering the athletics success in various sports that Georgia, Florida, LSU and others have enjoyed over recent years, this should be a sports fan's dream. Of course, if it turns out to be bad somehow, we're stuck with it until 2024.

ABC PICKS UP PILOTS: According to various media outlets, ABC has ordered five pilots (three dramas and two sitcoms) for next year.

Among them:

—"Cupid," re-introduced by creator Rob Thomas with actors Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson taking over the original roles of Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall. Sorry, but this one is going to have a hard time living up to the '90s version, one of the most original TV shows ever produced.

—"Castle," starring the always-fun Nathan Fillion ("Firefly"), about a novelist who assists the NYPD. It's from Andrew Marlowe ("Air Force One").

—"The Unusuals," a cop drama produced by Peter Tolan ("Rescue Me") and Noah Hawley ("Bones"). Included in the cast are Amber Tamblyn, Harold Perrineau and Adam Goldberg.

—"Better Off Ted," produced by Victor Fresco ("Andy Richter Controls the Universe"). No idea what this one is about.

—"Single With Parents," starring Alyssa Milano, about a single career-girl. It's produced by Kristin Newman ("How I Met Your Mother").

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: The penultimate night of the Democratic National Convention features speakers Bill Clinton and VP candidate Sen. Joe Biden (PBS, 8 p.m.).

"Mythbusters" (Discovery, 9 p.m.) tackles the myth that the 1969 lunar landing was a hoax.

I caught "Greatest American Dog" (CBS, 8 p.m.) last week for the first time. It's not bad and easy to get into even at this late stage.

Finally, the US Open (USA, 7 p.m.) continues for all you tennis nuts.


Jonathan said...

I have no problem with instant replay if it will just be used in regards to the home run situation and maybe whether or not the runner got to first before the bag was stepped on. But I can't imagine them ever going so far as to use it for balls and strikes; I don't know why people have to be so idiotic about this.

If your team is in a meaningful game, regular or post season, and whether or not they win is based on an umpire's view from over a hundred feet away of whether or not he thought a ball that was a couple hundred feet in the air went on the foul side of the pole or not, do you really have a problem with them reviewing this? How would that take away from the magic of the game? You know what would help the magic of the game is actually having some earlier broadcasts of world series games so the kids of today can find the love for baseball that we did.

Glad to see Nathan Fillon has another tv series in the works; hope it doesn't suck.

zodin2008 said...

The Clinton & Biden speeches will also be airing on the "Big 3" networks and the "Big 3" cable news channels, not just PBS.

I have no problem with instant replay. I can think of several games where the Braves got royally screwed because of a bad call.

Phillip Ramati said...

Jonathan, right now the replays come for HRs only, which is how they should keep it.

Zod, yes the networks will be carrying the speeches at 10 p.m., but if people want to see the whole night of coverage, they can only watch it on PBS and cable. So I listed PBS, since not everyone has cable.