Hard-core baseball fans have not been happy with coverage of the Pirates by ROOT Sports this year. Regarding the production of the game, as opposed to the work of the announcers, there has been too much attention focused on what's going on in the stands and not enough attention on what's transpiring on the field.
Occasional crowds shots are fine. But ROOT belabors the tactic beyond understanding, often going to the crowd between pitches. If there were some cutting-edge photojournalism involved, this practice might make sense. But too often ROOT presents nothing more than hokey posed crowd shots. This type of nauseating camera work reached its nadir on a Thursday day game earlier this month. The ROOT cameras spent 15 seconds showing two 5 or 6 year olds staring at the camera wearing some sort of funny mask.
And here's what ROOT Sports has to say to hard-cord baseball fans who complain about this baseball-second coverage: Too bad.
ROOT has the hard-core crowd nailed. Those fans are coming back game after game regardless of how annoying the game coverage is. ROOT is interested in the new fans. The old fans are locked up.
The ROOT production strategy hit a new low last night. In the bottom of third inning, in a game in which the Pirates undisputed possession of first place rested, ROOT gave us an on-camera interview with the backup catcher. That's right, the words and wisdom of Tony Sanchez with Buster Posey at bat and runners on first and third and the Pirates ahead by two runs.
What ROOT was saying with this blatant highjacking of pennant-race baseball was this:
We think this sport is so boring that we can put it on less than half your screen and talk over it with an interview with the backup catcher.
With yet another awful performance last night, it's pretty clear that the excuses being made for Jeff Locke are not going to hold up. Here are Locke's first-half numbers in key categories compared to the second half:
ERA: 2.15 to 5.71; BAA: .202 to .329; WHIP: 1.13 to 2.05; Walks per nine innings: 3.88 to 6.49.
Those were enough red flags for Clint Hurdle to yank Locke with the Pirates leading, 10-3, after the fourth inning. It's rare for a manager to take away a win from a starter, but Hurdle didn't trust Locke with a seven-run lead.
It will be interesting to see if general manager Neal Huntington picks up on Hurdle's move or if he'll continue to laugh off Locke's troubles as he did on his show last Sunday.
It's never good when a pitcher visits James Andrews, the world's most famous orthopedic surgeon. But that's where Wandy Rodriguez, who hasn't pitched since June 5, is headed next week. The almost best-case scenario of this visit is that Rodriguez, who has had pain the last two times he tried to throw, will be shut down for the season. The worse-case scenario is that he'll require surgery that will have him to miss part or all of next season.
Since he would appear to be damaged-goods on the free-agent market, Rodriguez almost certainly will exercise his option with the Pirates for next year, which calls for him to make $13 million. The Pirates pay $7.5 million of that and the Houston Astros, with whom Rodriguez made the deal, the rest.
Emphasizing the already well-known fact that they don't consider Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer feature running backs, the Steelers today traded for a runner who has been rejected by two teams in less than a year.
In a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers acquired Felix Jones, who ran for 2,728 yards and a 4.8 yard average in five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, for whom was once a No. 1 draft choice. The Steelers sent outside linebacker Adrian Robinson to the Eagles
The Cowboys had no interest in re-signing Jones after last season. He signed with the Eagles and, according to Gerry Dulac at PG+, "did not impress in training camp and appeared unlikely to make the roster."
Topical stories you might find of interest:
Craig Calcaterra, HardballTalk.com: Blashphemy! PNC Park has its flaws
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: Steelers to go 11-5; Bengals win Super Bowl
Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com: Braun takes first step but must do more
Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports: Braun as good at apologizing as he is deception
BizofBaseball.com: Bryant Gumble on ARod's and America's pill-popging lifestyle
First Published August 23, 2013 12:45 AM