ESPN To Experiment During Monday Night Baseball

Monday, July 27, 2009

Baseball announcing has rarely ever deviated from the norm. You usually have two or three announcers in the booth, and an on-field reporter. That's the way it's been for years, and very few networks have tried something different. Well that's until ESPN airs its Monday Night Baseball game, between the Dodgers and Cardinals tomorrow night.

The "Leader" plans on dividing up its three man team of Shulman, Hershiser and Phillips, by putting the two analysts in the camera wells beside each dugout. Via USA Today....

ESPN will formally announce Monday that it will experiment Monday night on its Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis game (7 ET). ESPN will keep play-by-play announcer DanShulman in the booth, but analysts Orel Hershiser and Steve Phillips will be stationed in the camera wells beside each dugout.

Matt Sandulli, ESPN senior coordinating producer, says the Cardinals preferred ESPN use the camera well on the outfield side, rather than home plate side, of its dugout to reduce chances its analysts might somehow interact with players. Sandulli says that won't happen anyway — "we're not supposed to talk to players and wouldn't do it" — and hopes to get the Dodgers to allow access to the well on its dugout's home plate side.

TV sports commonly station reporters along sidelines, in pit road or on golf fairways. But putting main game announcers in separate locations rarely has been done, such as NBC's Pierre McGuire being rinkside on NHL games or ESPN having Paul Maguire chime in on football from a sideline camera cart. Says Sandulli: "There's lot of non-verbal communication in the booth. We joked that maybe (the analysts) will will send signals from dugout to dugout."

Sandulli says its possible that ESPN could send more baseball announcers out of the booth on future games, depending partly on whether Monday night's experiment delivers a "wow factor."
While my initial reaction is that this might become a bit distracting, the intrigue almost outweighs that. The Pierre McGuire idea has worked wonders for NBC Hockey, and the same could potentially work for Baseball. Besides, it's Monday Night Baseball, why not?

ESPN baseball announcing team goes separate ways (USA Today)


Please do not give credit to NBC for the between the benches thing, FSN outlets for various teams have been doing that for years.

BackBergtt said...
Jul 27, 2009, 9:12:00 AM  

also, SNY has done it at several Mets home games this year

Unknown said...
Jul 27, 2009, 9:45:00 AM  

Fail. I can't wait to hear these three guys stepping all over each other tonight.

GMoney said...
Jul 27, 2009, 10:49:00 AM  

It's still the same three announcers ... two of whom have little to offer on a good night.

Steve Smith said...
Jul 27, 2009, 12:02:00 PM  

It will increase the likihood of Steve Philips getting hit by a foul ball like Erin Andrews.

walnuts said...
Jul 27, 2009, 12:04:00 PM  

Dan Shulman should be in a better mood as he won't have the smarmy Steve Phillips alongside him.

Brad James said...
Jul 27, 2009, 1:40:00 PM  

I like all three guys, but I can't imagine them coordinating the conversation too well from three separate locations. I agree with GMoney; it's gonna be awkward.

Jay said...
Jul 27, 2009, 6:53:00 PM  

it's not a new idea - SNY has done this a few times on Mets broadcasts with Keith Hernandez by the Mets dugout a few times and Keith or Ron Darling in the seats directly behind home plate.

DyHrdMET said...
Jul 27, 2009, 8:01:00 PM  

even after reading this, i watched the local FSN telecast with Psycho Lyons and the Dodgers' new "east of the Rockies" guy who kept fumbling words like no one's business

questionmark said...
Jul 28, 2009, 2:57:00 AM  

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