Just when you thought Dandy Dan Caesar was laying low until his Friday column appears, you were completely blindsided by the Wednesday night article regarding the Cardinals' TV broadcasts
Caesar wrote that all of the Cardinals 2011 games will appear on Fox Midwest, with the exception of about 9 on "free TV" for FOX's Game of the Week.
My initial reaction was to not care - as long as every game is on TV, I'm good.
But then I realized this means the end of the run for Newschannelfive, and how horrible life will be without all those catchy intro songs, Rene Knott, Katie Felts, Frank Cusumano or Deanne Lane interfering with the broadcasts. Drat. (I suppose kudos should go out to the 2FOX for not having Tim Ezell do some wacky segment for their pre/post-game coverage, but it's kind of a no-brainer to leave him at home, so no kudos for them.)
I've never been a fan of Randolph and Horton on the call, but I love when Mike Shannon steps in for a few innings with Jennings. Without a doubt, this has been the only good thing KSDK has brought to the table (no credit for HD broadcasts, sorry). I'm not a big fan of Randolph Sr, but listening to Shannon bullshit with someone he's known for a long time is great TV. Heh heh heh.
So instead of writing the long-overdue eulogy for Channel 5's second tenure of broadcasting Cardinal baseball, let's focus on what FSM needs to do to improve their game coverage:
1) Break up Dan and Al.
It almost sounds like a great two-month reality show that Hooks would crave, but not. They've gone from Dan kissing Al's ass all the time for about five years, to Dan fighting back a little, to boyfriend/girlfriend bickering, and now to a little of everything. Theoretically, TV announcers shouldn't matter too much, because the consumer can see what's going on, and not have to have it described like the radio. Danny Mac isn't great, nor terrible by any means. If he stays, I'd be fine with that. But it's time to cut your losses on the 300 year contract that Hrabosky signed. The least FSM could do is put in a new pair of announcers once or twice a week.
2) Include Mike Shannon on play-by-play.
I believe KSDK puts him in for three innings or so every Sunday. This is good. Do this. A lot.
3) Continue the long pre-game/post-game shows.
Both shows are decently informative, and as I'm sure you know, the post-game LaRussa interviews are a thing of beauty. My only beef is that if the Cardinals lose big, be honest with us: they sucked. Or if they give up nine runs in the 9th, don't pretend like it's just another loss. You're going to talk about how wonderful they are after a win, I get that. But there's nothing wrong with being critical.
The shows are probably a pain in the ass to put together night after night, but it is a good background show for my prime internet time. Plus once in a while they do something completely asinine, and I love it. Well, "it's good for the internet" might be a better assessment.
4) Posting Clips Online.
Welcome to 2010, foxsportsmidwest.com! Thank you for finally posting video clips online. What would we do without the hijinx of Brendan Ryan and Joe Mather this year? (It's a question for the fans only, since we know "be in first place" would be the correct answer)
5) Change the set for Jack Clark.
The guy's face blends in with the rest of the studio. Something's gotta give.
6) Start the slow death of old-timer stats.
It all begins with weening Al Hrabosky off of using pitcher Wins as an important stat (or you could just quit letting him in the broadcast booth, whichever). Why haven't any of the stat-bloggers created some kind of fake nicotine patch to get people off of using pitching Wins and RBIs as 100% rock-solid stats? Seems like a project that would distract us from our day jobs even more for a day or two.
I'm not saying to put up VORP and WARP on the screen when Albert comes to bat in 2011, but a slow evolution of making us smarter won't be a bad thing. Walk rate? Line drive rate?
Maybe "they" don't want us knowing how bad Aaron Miles and Randy Winn really are(!). FSM does show things like OPS once in a while, just to tease me.
7) Take Some Chances.
This could include tons of things. Give established Cardinal bloggers a two minute segment every week? Twitter/Facebook in-game giveaways? More graphics? Minor league highlights? Jimmy the Cat Hayes pulling pranks on fans? Have an ex-player teach viewers how to steal signs? Hell, I don't know. I'm sure they could come up with something better in an hour-long meeting, but the broadcast seems kind of bland. It doesn't have to be "!FuNtiMe KrazY HoUr!" every night, just a little more than Dan and Al having another lover's spat.
Those are seven suggestions off the top of my head - anything else?