Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Idiots At ESPN2 And YES

Who are the idiot producers responsible for ESPN2's coverage of the French Open tennis tournament? That's not a rhetorical question--I'd really like to know who these idiots are. On Tuesday, I was watching a quarterfinal match between Marion Bartoli and Svetlana Kuznetsova. With the score tied at 4-4 in the first set tiebreaker, the ESPN2 morons went to a split screen so they could also show the Federer-Monfils match. Now, "split screen" is something of a misnomer. Each of these two matches was being shown in a small box that was about 1/6 the size of the screen. So I couldn't really see what was happening in either of these micro-matches. The Bartoli-Kuznetsova tiebreaker ended with the picture still in a split screen--they did not return to a full screen shot of this match until Bartoli was leading 5-2 in the second set. And for the remainder of the second set, they continued to alternate between the split screen and the full screen. I suspect that the ESPN2 producers responsible for this decision have never watched a tennis match before. A tiebreaker is one of the most exciting moments in sports, even more so in a grand slam quarterfinal match. The idiot producers were treating this as if it was an opening round match between unseeded players. Whichever producer suggested going to a split screen for the quarterfinals should have been laughed out of the room. Whichever producer implemented the suggestion should be fired. I've never worked in television, but it's not exactly rocket science. The solution here seems obvious. Show one match live, and show the other match on tape. Now, I know they don't like to do this because thanks to the internet, fans could learn the winner of the tape-delayed match before it airs, and that would decrease the viewing audience. Tough. The producers' responsibility is to present quality tennis, and the horrific split screen makes an exciting tennis match appear as if it is being viewed on an iPod. If they wanted to, they could easily inform viewers that one of the matches will be tape-delayed and warn us that if we don't want to know the results then we should avoid logging on to any sports-related sites. Obviously, I'm no fan of NBC, but it's a good thing that they, and not ESPN2, are broadcasting the men's and women's French Open finals. I can only imagine how ESPN2 would butcher these matches. They would probably show the finals in a split screen so we could also enjoy the junior finals or the mixed seniors doubles finals at the same time.

And what's the deal with the idiots at YES, the network that broadcasts most Yankees games? On Wednesday, I set my DVR to record the encore presentation of that day's Yankees-A's game (the game was played live at 3:30 PM eastern time; the encore was scheduled to start at 7:30). But when the recording began, it was already the top of the second inning with two men out and Oakland leading 2-1. Obviously, the geniuses at YES decided to start the encore a half-hour early. Are they morons? Did they ever consider that people would be tuning in at the 7:30 scheduled time to watch? Or that people might be recording the encore game to view later? Time Warner Cable listed the encore game for 7:30 because that's when the YES people told them it would be starting. If the YES programming executives want to start showings of encore games earlier, they need to give the viewers some lead time. Otherwise, they need to start the games at the listed time. But it's pretty clear why they did this. If they start the encore showing a half-hour earlier, then later they get to show an extra half-hour of weight-loss, hair regrowth or bra infomercials (before seeing these infomercials, I never fully grasped the horror of wearing the wrong-sized bra). Money is obviously more important than fans to the YES network. It's nice to know they think so little of us.

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