Fox needs your help with its World Series coverage

It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame… let’s play two! Tonight, the Fall Classic moves to St. Louis with the series tied 1-1, and so many questions abound…

-Will Fox’s ratings continue to disappoint? The ratings average is down about half a million viewers from last year’s Series (between the White Sox and the Greatest Team Of All Time, The Houston Astros, In Their First Ever World Series)… and the bad news for Fox is that last year’s Series was the worst-rated of all time. All hope is not lost — Game 2 on Sunday night garnered a respectable 18.2 million viewers, up from 12.8 on Saturday, when, clearly, everyone watched at a bar — but the net heads have to be praying for this series to go 6 or 7 games to make up for all the lost time.

-Will Fox find more ways to make people change the channel? Frankly, they deserve all the mediocre ratings they can get, so long as their broadcast team includes the semi-literate Tim McCarver and they see the games more as a way to jack up the ratings for Justice than, you know, the WORLD SERIES. (Sure, they got rid of Scooter, the Talking Baseball, but he never should have existed in the first place.) And now, with their decision to renew their broadcast contract through 2013, they’ve announced their intention to extend the length of commercial breaks between innings.

-Could the commercials that fill those breaks make me less inclined to continue breathing? So far, it’s been an incessant cycle of promos for Fox’s fall shows (no, I’m still not going to watch Justice), Ron Livingston inexplicably shilling for Sprint (although you should all be watching Standoff), and Jay-Z making us beg him to return to retirement. But no commercial has gotten under my skin more than John Cougar Mellencamp’s "This Is Our Country" spot for Chevrolet, a commercial so horrid that it’s already spawned a parody and plunged me into existential dread because I do not have room in my apartment for a Chevy Silverado and thus have begun to question if I do, in fact, still live in America or not. (Perhaps the one bright spot in Mellencamp’s patri-erotic ubiquity? We have yet to see a Toby Keith Amerigasm Ford commercial.)

I’m trusting at least some of you care about this, so — what’s to be done? How could Fox make its sports coverage somehow more palatable? How many of you are forced to watch baseball with the sound off at home, or spend way too much money on beer down at the sports bar just to escape? And is Joe Theismann’s yapping on Monday Night Football better than/worse than/exactly as horrific as McCarver’s? Discuss.

Comments (60 total) Add your comment
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  • Gretchen Weiners

    The Astros? Seriously? I find Tim McCarver to be charming, even though he is a bafoon at times. The chance of me watching this Series is about as good as Justice’s chance at winning an Emmy.

  • Dave

    Thank you, Whitney! One, for actually writing about sports on TV (which is, after all, entertainment) and, two, for pointing out how horrible Fox’s baseball coverage is. Between McCarver making me want to hurl blunt objects at the TV by saying THE MOST OBVIOUS THINGS ABOUT THE SPORT (“what the hitter’s trying to do is advance the runner”) and Joe Buck’s smug sense of self-importance (seriously, he’s on TV, like, every day), watching sports on FOX is not enjoyable. Side note: does anybody understand why there’s always a robot jumping up and down when FOX comes back from commercial breaks during football games? Unfortunately, sports broadcasting buffoonery is not limited to FOX. As you point out, Joe Theisman is not much better, and the only reason he has the job is because he was the QB on a Superbowl-winning team, nearly got his leg broken off on live TV, and because his name rhymes with Heisman. I think, for one series/weekend, the networks should allow everyday fans to call games. We’re really not that much less-qualified than the so-called experts.

  • Tim

    Tim McCarver and Joe Buck are the WORST two announcers in the history of baseball. Tim McCarver is a bumbling idiot who makes more mistakes than Robert Downey Jr. Joe Buck think’s he’s some messiah of sports when in fact he’s a smug little prick.
    I couldn’t agree more with Dave’s comment. Seriously, the ROBOTS HAVE TO GO! Everything about Fox’s sports coverage (be it baseball, football, etc…) is over-the-top flashy.
    They also forget that we’re tuning in to watch the game because we have no other choice. There’s a reason we’re not watching “The War at Home” and “Justice,” and it has nothing to do with us not being aware of it.
    The only way Fox can fix sports is by realizing the one thing everyone knows BUT them…they are NOT bigger than the game.

  • AG

    Go Astros!
    (Effing Braves.)

  • hulahoop

    Joe Buck is a blight on the sports world. He is arrogant, pious and just a total dickhead.

  • Elizabeth

    Ha ha – that’s so funny about Jack Berger on the Sprint Commericals and the Jay Z commerical. My fiance and I commented on both when we saw them.
    Living in St. Louis and being a Cardinals fan, my fiance wanted to mute the tv and turn on the radio, but there are two problems 1) the radio broadcast happens before the tv broadcast, so we would already know what happened before we saw it and 2) Mike Shannon is just as much of a baffoon as anybody, although, sometimes an entertaining one.

  • Ms Daisy

    I refuse to watch any sporting event that pre-empts fresh episodes of House.

  • Aron

    Joe Theisman is alright. Hes not soooo bad. Baseball on the other hand…is mind-numbingly boring sometimes..that could be why as well. But Fox has a lot of places to improve, a whole lot.

  • Jason

    You’re right, Scooter was a blight upon our national integrity and it is fantastic that he is gone. Buck & McCarver are awful, but, the reason that they are so awful is that Fox makes them dumb-down their already idiotic repartee so that “non-baseball” fans will understand. Dude, it’s baseball, not astro-physics, they’ll understand what a bunt is without an explaination. Ug. They should just let whoever the home-TV announcer team announce the game. They may not be good, but they’ll be better than this crap.
    Also, can we call a moritorium on all funky camera angles? We do not need a camera under the mound so we can look up the pitcher’s nose. I hate that I have to watch the World Series this way.

  • daisyj

    My biggest problem with the Fox coverage (aside from the extra-long commercial breaks, the screen-cluttering ads and the ridiculous graphics) is that the announcers seem to think that what they’re doing is hosting a talk show while some kind of sporting event is going on in the background. Here’s a hint, guys: The people watching this program? They really aren’t all that interested in you. Also, it might kind of help if you familiarized yourselves with the teams, rather than just reading their press packets out loud.

  • Jason

    As to your comment about Theisman, I’d take three more of him as long as I didn’t have to hear Kornheiser whine about his damn fantasy team again. Is there anything worse that ANYONE talking about their fantasy football team? That’s fine if you play and if you want to talk about it with your league-mates, that’s great. But the rest of us, it’s conversation hell.

  • elvis

    I too hate the John Cougar “This is our Country” commercial. Using scenes from 9/11, New Orleans,Vietnam, and the Civil Rights movement to sell trucks is shameful.

  • jilly

    I’m so glad someone finally mentioned that robot during football games. My husband and I were mystified on that one.
    The baseball coverage is so-so. I really don’t listen to what the commentators are saying. I tune them out as much as possible. I think it’s funny when they criticize someone’s attempt to block the ball; as if they could do better. Or when they think a hitter meant to hit the ball where it landed; the hitter is just damn lucky he hit it at all.
    And, I love John Mellencamp (I’m a Hoosier) but I’m tired of that commercial as well. Way overplayed (like Taylor Hicks’ Ford commercial).

  • Steve

    What are you talking about? This has been the best coverage I’ve ever seen. Of course, my wife is really sick, so I’m watching all of the games on TiVo after she’s fallen asleep. When you fast-forward between every pitch, the announcers are almost palatable.

  • Wayne

    The PlayStation2 graphics are annoying. Replaying every pitch is annoying. The games ending after everybody in the eastern time zone has gone to bed is annoying. The FOX shows are annoying. And a whole month of playoffs might be too much.

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