#BTS : Baseball Televised, Sorta

I finally have a subscription to BT Sport and all it took was about an hour’s worth of phonecalls and a great deal of facepalming. This means that baseball is now back on my television, with MLB having moved from ESPN America to the “new” BT-owned ESPN channel. On the face of it, not much has changed. The new ESPN channel is very similar to the old ESPN America in its approach to live baseball coverage: simply plug into the host broadcaster’s feed and away you go. Sadly, the random “Top Plays” highlight clips that ESPN America used to show between frames have been replaced by adverts. Speaking of which, why are those Jacamo boys so bent on revenge? Exactly how did those girls wrong them? Perhaps the ladies in question all work for BT customer services.

I quite enjoy the relaxing, almost whalesong-like music that accompanies the ESPN baseball ident; for some reason it reminded me of the chilled out, twisty screensaver that MLB.TV used to display before they replaced it with the domino effect that currently punctuates innings.

Interestingly, there have also been a few mentions of baseball on BT Sport 1, the main BT Sport channel, though these have been somewhat hit and miss. While it is encouraging that they are trying to plug baseball, you get the feeling that some of the presenters probably aren’t too knowledgeable about it.

I liked the fact that they showed highlights of a game (D-Backs at Red Sox) and described some of the plays; I hope that they do a lot more of this. In addition, the more comedic clips, such as the one they showed of Gerrit Cole picking his nose, are at least entertaining, even if they don’t necessarily add to understanding of the game.

On the negative side, we have Life’s a Pitch, and its host Des Kelly (or Noel Edmonds without the beard as I thought it was at first). It is a sort of sports chat show that tries to provide a humorous take on current sporting issues. It doesn’t really work, sadly, since it is simply not funny enough to cover the comedy angle, and not sincere or thorough enough to be taken seriously in terms of sports journalism.

Somewhat predictably, the Biogenesis scandal and the ban given to Alex Rodriguez were mentioned. Kelly asked us to “…listen to the reaction A-Rod received when he stepped out in front of those fans that once adored him at the [sic] Yankee Stadium”. A-Rod was certainly booed upon his return to action, but the game was played at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox (clue: Rodriguez in grey uniform, hence road game), and while there were some Yankees fans in attendance, this was at best ambiguous and at worst misleading and poorly researched. If life is indeed a pitch, then in the case of this particular programme, the pitcher must have been Carly Rae Jepsen.

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