ESPN hit a home run with prime exit velocity and launch angle with their Statcast broadcast.
For last Tuesday’s National League Wild Card game on ESPN, the broadcasting giant provided an alternate broadcast for all of us baseball nerds out there. While ESPN’s main channel hosted the primary broadcast, ESPN2 provided an analytics-centric presentation of the NL Wild Card.
The announcers for this “alternate broadcast” were the White Sox’s Jason Benetti, MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, and Eduardo Perez. Throughout the game, the crew focused on the analytical side of baseball in what was a revolutionary broadcast.
Batting average and pitcher wins were nowhere to be found, which was a beautiful sight for a new generation of baseball fans. Perhaps most importantly, this broadcast provided an excellent learning opportunity for fans in contrast with the usual filler-based announcing.
To aid the announcers, the most intriguing part of the broadcast were the numerous graphics ESPN used on-field to demonstrate Statcast’s abilities. Directional fielding, hot and cold zones for leadoffs, etc.
Cool use of tech as @statcast shows the percentage chance of success of a stolen base based on the runner's lead. #NLDS pic.twitter.com/gHP8sSwR4c
— Front Office Sports (@frntofficesport) October 7, 2018
Quite often, a play on the field immediately displayed what the broadcast was discussing, in sort of a perfect visually appealing classroom model of learning. Take for instance the Directional Outs Above Average. Discussions of what it was and how it measured success in the outfield were immediately followed by a play to the Colorado center fielder, who made a fantastic play. Unsurprisingly, the direction he traveled to the ball was his only “green zone” on his directional outs graphics.
Fans besides myself seemed to love the broadcast, which hopefully ESPN and other stations take notice of for the future. Things such as this can bring an entirely new element to the game that could help engage the new generation of baseball fans. Frankly, regular broadcasts can get monotonous with the same off-topic rambling and old-fashioned ways of viewing the game. Things like the Statcast broadcast provide an exciting and engaging way of viewing baseball from the comfort of one’s living room.
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