Fox Ruins All-Star Introductions

Interleague play and free agency has robbed the All-Star game of many special qualities. It may mean something with home field on the line, but the game still feels different. Opening introductions are one of the few special moments that remain. What will the crowd reaction be? For the player, his one moment to bask in the spotlight and receive his deserved credit. Last night, with 40 Hall of Famers on hand at the baseball cathedral it had a chance to be special, then Fox jumped in.

At least Joe Buck acknowledged Bob Shepherd, the legendary Yankee PA announcer for over 58 years, who remains home sick. I was curious if he would do the introductions, only fitting. With Shepherd on the sidelines, long time fill-in Jim Hall, a ringer for Shepherd over the mic, should have stepped in. Everyone equates that voice with Yankee Stadium. Yet, we had the soothing tones of Fox’s own Joe Buck. Don’t we hear enough of him already. Something seemed amiss.

Crowd reactions help create the special atmosphere in pre-game introductions. Match-up a good story with a hometown hero, the crowd can send shivers up your spine and goose bumps down your arm. However, right from the start, Fox drowned out the crowd noise for viewers at home with its intrusive background music and overbearing PA microphone. Marionao Rivera’s thunderous applause, the only time he’ll ever be an All-Star at Yankee Stadium lost that edge that Yankee fans always bring.

One other possibility is the decidedly corporate crowd that took over Yankee Stadium for a night. Outside of a few “Derek-Jeter” chants, we had no sign of the Bleacher Creatures. Thanks to MLB for taking the event away from the greatest fans in the world. Baseball has to take care of its sponsors, but find another way. Make sure at least half the stadium is filled with regular fans, not suits from Pepsi.

When was the last commercial break during player introductions? Welcome to Fox, 2008, commercials at every opportunity. First they drag the game to 4+ hours with the longest comemrcial breaks in sports history, now they host a 45-minute to one-hour pre-game introduction. Get serious. Fans at the stadium must have loved that. Terrible job. Why break up the momentum right at the pinnacle? Forget the rules of TV for a second, and treat the viewer with respect.

Numerous options exist for how Fox and MLB could have introduced the All-Star’s and Hall of Famers. They handled it fine. But I really wanted to hear the thunderous reaction for Derek Jeter, drowned out by the poor audio job and the lack of “real” fans in the stands.

I’ll never forget the 2008 All-Star game introductions, and how I couldn’t enjoy it the way I wanted to.