Thomas Sowell

There are people who find sports exciting and people who find sports boring. Unfortunately, the latter seem to be the ones in charge of baseball telecasts. And they seem to be trying to make those telecasts boring for the rest of us.

Somehow the people who televise baseball games have become fixated on just one viewpoint for showing a pitcher throwing to a batter. Every pitch, for inning after inning, is shown from just that one angle. It is not a bad angle but there are innumerable other angles from which the same thing could be shown for a little variety.

In years past, pitches were shown from different angles in the course of a ball game. Even today, there are cameras photographing from other angles, as we sometimes see on replays. Are the TV producers just too lazy to change the views they show the audience?

The same rigid formula is applied to other aspects of baseball telecasts. The ultra-closeup is everywhere. What makes television producers think that lo-o-ong closeups of men's faces have any special appeal to predominantly male audiences? After you have seen closeups of the same pitcher's face staring down for the catcher's sign umpteen times, inning after inning, what is there left, except to hope that he gets knocked out of the game, so you can at least see somebody new?

How often do you need to see extreme closeups of Joe Torre's furrowed brow in the dugout or Dusty Baker chewing on a toothpick or Barry Bonds looking bored at everything except hitting home runs? No other sport has such limited and rigidly stereotyped formulas for television.

Boxing takes place in a much smaller space and yet it shows more variety of viewpoints. So does tennis. Even football, which requires a similar lining up of the players for every play, shows more variety than baseball telecasts.

What makes this narrow rigidity so unnecessary is that baseball parks are large, colorful and fascinating places from so many different angles. But you almost never see the whole field with the players in action. TV producers' fixation on closeups shows infield plays as if they were taking place in a parking space.

Seldom is any play shown the way you would see it if you were at the ballpark. The things that real fans enjoy seeing are replaced by facial closeups that might appeal to a soap opera audience or audiences that like scenes in bad western movies where the characters stare long and hard at each other.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate

Due to the overwhelming enthusiasm of our readers it has become necessary to transfer our commenting system to a more scalable system in order handle the content.

Check out Townhall's Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome