Saturday, May 3, 2008

Baseball And NASCAR Clash Once Again


Once the two hour RaceDay program on SPEED ended, NASCAR fans turned the dial to Fox for the pre-race show from the Hollywood Hotel. Instead, what many of them found was Major League Baseball once again.

For me, it was the Mets vs. the Diamondbacks in the eighth inning with no outs. Fox had several baseball games it had presented to various areas of the country. Depending on the game that the local Fox station was broadcasting, you either got the NASCAR pre-race show or joined it in-progress.

In some areas of the nation, the live baseball game covered a significant portion of the pre-race show. Then, the transition between baseball and NASCAR was rough.

Here in the South Florida area, along with most fans who watched the Mets game, viewers saw many minutes of commercial breaks and then joined NASCAR host Chris Myers in mid-sentence. Eventually, Myers welcomed viewers from the Mets game and promptly threw to another commercial break. There was no recap of the earlier highlights or top stories that some fans had missed.

Luckily, a crisp and focused race telecast helped to ease the pain of once again having the potential for a long over-run because of baseball. Mike Joy and company showed-off the multiple Sports Emmys that NASCAR on Fox had recently won and then worked hard to prove they deserved the honor.

The TV crew cannot change the dynamic of the race, and it was clear from the start that Denny Hamlin was going to "stink up the show." The upside was a great looking race with outstanding natural sound from both the track and the individual in-car cameras. Tough to do on a short track.

Fans instantly noticed that Fox had responded to the multiple problems with the live race "ticker" by changing it completely. Now connected directly to the GPS information from the track, the moving graphics actually update live by switching positions as the cars do the same on the track.

At first the movement is distracting, but then the value becomes clear. The immediacy of the information, especially at a short track like Richmond, is fantastic. As the race progressed it was clear that Fox has made a very positive change in the coverage. Perhaps, they may share this with TNT for their summer tour.

The booth announcers and the pit reporters dug deep to make the middle portions of the telecast interesting despite the lack of action on the track. Their efforts were rewarded with a memorable finish. Once again, NASCAR had almost lucked into a good story for both the live TV coverage and the other NASCAR media with Busch vs. Earnhardt Jr.

The incident was well-covered during the broadcast, but disjointed immediately after the race. The Daly Planet's complaints about the singular Fox focus on the race winner were certainly evident once again. This time, the Director tried to show the field crossing the line, but missed the second place cars that included Kyle Busch.

There just has to be a better way to finish these races on TV. Since the announcers have always been on-top of the finishing action and the sound is sensational, the only issue once again is the video. This was a good effort, but things cannot just be "planned" in this sport. What is actually happening in the race needs to dictate the final lap coverage.

Fans like Clint Bowyer, but the focus of the finish and the post-race should have been Kyle Busch and Dale Junior. For Fox, striking the balance between the "planned" focus on the winner and the reality of the action has always been their Achilles Heel. The battle to the line for second had to be replayed for TV viewers.

Even running late, Fox hung-in and worked the pit reporters on the stories that needed to be told. Krista Voda showed her experience when she knew how to deal with a clearly disappointed and upset Junior after the race. NASCAR fans have vivid memories of ESPN's Mike Massaro pushing Junior to the brink of tears after he fell out of Chase contention last season. Voda did it just right.

Overall, this was the type of telecast that NASCAR fans enjoy. Despite the baseball issues and the glitch at the finish, the improvements in the ticker and the overall quality of the coverage made the evening a solid one for the sport. It should be interesting to see if Fox can continue to ride a nice wave of higher ratings into Darlington after this strong performance in Richmond.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Fans like Clint Bowyer, but the focus of the finish and the post-race should have been Kyle Busch and Dale Junior."
---
The focus was on Busch and Dale Jr and I thought it was pathetic. I timed Bowyer's Victory Lane interview. From the time he got out of the car until they moved on to Kyle Busch, FOX spent less than one minute on Bowyer.

Yes, less than 60 seconds in Victory Lane with the winner of the Richmond race. Kyle Busch got almost 90 seconds in interview (plus that footage of the #88 crew confronting him) and Dale Jr's interview was almost two minutes, plus almost a couple more minutes talking about him post race.

A shame for Bowyer, who does have fans and finished third in the championship Chase last year, if anyone remembers. He's on par to equal or do better than that this year, and TV should remember that.

Anonymous said...

The headline on that's racin.com says it all, sadly:

Busch, Earnhardt Jr. tangle in late-race battle for lead
(Sub-headline) Hamlin dominates, but Bowyer ends up with the Saturday night Richmond win
JIM UTTER
The Charlotte Observer
Saturday, May. 03, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. – Clint Bowyer earned his first Sprint Cup Series victory of the season.

The question is whether anyone noticed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The problem for Bowyer is he was quiet all night. He spoke well in his interview, but what else could he say? He was done.

Fox should have been live on pit road and dealt with the issues happening while Bowyer did his burnouts. That was the planned part they always do.

While he was spinning his tires, lots of stuff was happening on pit road. Put it in a side-by-side video box, cut back and forth between the two, but do something!

Talk about frustrating. Once again, the fans at the track were watching something other than the TV viewers at home. That is simply not fair.

JD

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

If you were wondering the Fox Sports website lists their regional MLB distribution every week at the following address:

http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/5619630/MLB-on-FOX-TV-Listings

If you were looking for an exact count, 22% of the country got the Mets/D-Backs game and missed a large chunk of the pre-race show.

I'm definitely crossing my fingers that my Fox game next week ends early so I can see NASCAR in its entirety. That's amazing that your game didn't even go to extra innings and still ran that long.

Anonymous said...

Clint and Richard Childress had plenty interesting to say about the race on ESPN News. Fox didn't give them a chance, because they didn't care.

Clint apparently broke the record for coming from furthest back in a Richmond race to win. Congrats to him. I also think it should get noticed. The Junior show gets tiring for me, for him too, I bet. NASCAR is going to get itself in trouble relying so much on one driver to prop it up.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it was because "FOX didn't care". Certainly Clint said what he wanted to say in Victory Lane and FOX I'm sure was anxious to cover the "story of the race" which just happened to be Kyle and Jr. wrecking and Denny's tire.
Had FOX been winner-centric and stayed with Clint for 5 minutes and barely touched the other 2 stories, this blog would have lit up like a Christmas tree. You can't have it both ways. Winner focused and other story focused in a short amount of time.
Fox covered it all well considering they were over their time.
I wish TV guys bosses would let me blog again. I miss his perspective.

Anonymous said...

ooops, no let ME blog, let HIM blog. I can blog after all because my boss doesn't care! I don't think at least, LOL. It is late isn't it. Sorry!

Cypress said...

The live ticker went from useless garbage to a valuable tool! I love the live updates. I would love to see it do live updates as cars scatter for "The Big One"

It would be nice if they had two tickers on top of each other: Top 10 and Full Field. One thing is that if you look up and it is at, say, Position 18, you have a long wait until the Top 5 scroll back around the screen. Maybe the bottom ticker could be static numbers of the top 5 like in horseracing.

Anyway, the GPS was a major improvement.

Now if we could get a little better coverage of the parking of Hamlin and Waltrip from FOX...

Anonymous said...

MRN didn't exactly spend a lot of time with Bowyer either ... Probably about the same amount of time that Fox did ...

Granted, to the news / sports media, the bigger story was Jr / Kyle ... esp since it had been two yrs & at THAT track that Jr had gotten his last win ... and was on his way to breaking his drought when he was unceremoniously taken out by Kyle ...

I think with all of the stories that broke out in the last 50 (scheduled) laps ... add in the 10 extra laps ... MPD wrecked ... dominating driver tire problem ... 2 drivers parked ... Points leader change ... They had a lot of stories they had to run to cover and with a limited amount of people/time, it makes it tough ...


The big question is: How will Fox handle the updates on stories like Mikey & Denny's parkings next Saturday night ??

And WHO is gonna get penalized during the week ??

Anonymous said...

The Seattle market DID get to see the entire pre-race show ...

But, that's the difference between Fox (KCPQ) and ABC (KOMO-tv) ...

Brian said...

I really wonder why no one asked Denny why he stopped on the race track to help his team mate get closer to the leader of the race. How could any interview with him be complete with out asking why he did it?

The FOX improvements were GREAT, now if we can just get DW out of bed with kyle bush and toyota maybe we can get him to be a good un-biased broadcaster.

KoHoSo said...

Overall, I thought that this was one of Fox's best efforts of the season so far -- although I knew there would be another uproar when I heard Chris Meyers (I hate him because I care) welcome viewers who had been stuck watching baseball.

While I usually agree with our esteemed Mr. Daly almost 100% of the time, it's odd how people can sometimes perceive things differently. The way I saw it, Fox couldn't get away from Bowyer fast enough so they could have the Shrub and Junior on the air. I had a feeling that they were also in a rush so that affiliates everywhere except in the Pacific Time Zone could get to their lucrative local news (I watched the race off of my DVR and it seemed to run well into the 90 minutes of "cushion time" I allow for races in case of delays for red flags and/or rain -- JD, please correct me if the need to hand things over to the local stations was not a factor).

On the other hand, I will agree totally that the Fox train came almost completely off the tracks at the end of the race. One would think that, by now, a group such as this would be well educated in that fact that, especially at short tracks, they should be prepared for any sudden events or confrontations. Other than the quality of the interviews, at the end, Fox seemed as lost as a preacher in a porno store.

All that being said -- again, the meat of the race was well done, especially in light of how dominant Hamlin was. I hope this is a sign of better things to come as we hit two biggies in Darlington and Charlotte.

Newracefan said...

IMO The interview with Clint was a little short but Steve B had a hard time getting to him and it was the most choatic VL I've seen in some time (in a good way), let's face it up until the JR/KB mess a win wasn't going to happen. I also would not want Steve to ask Clint about the JR/KB incident that led to his being there, at least not in his VL. Krista did an excellent interview with JR but then that doesn't surprise me. I'm guessing Mikey was gone or unavailable, TWIN should be fun but you can bet Jimmy will throw him under the bus (which may be deserved) on VL tonight. I know many think that DW was on the side of Kyle and that's why he was so quite after JR's spin I actually think he was rooting for JR so hard that he was upset and took a while to compose himself. Overall it was an excellent telecast, despite the outcome for my drivers (all of them did not do well) I enjoyed the race

Vicky D said...

I was very disappointed with the short interviews and a comment made by Mike Joy. After Kyle spun Jr. he went over the story about the previous night's Nationwide race last lap bump between Stephen Wallace and Busch. He said that Wallace will probably get in trouble with Nascar this week for slamming into the back of Busch's car after the race! I guess he didn't what really happened was that Busch brake checked Wallace and with that David Ragan was spun out too. I wish he had gotten his story straight. No one in the booth corrected him.

Anonymous said...

I guess he didn't what really happened was that Busch brake checked Wallace and with that David Ragan was spun out too.

Isnt that an opinion on your part? I don't rememberer hearing or reading that Busch breake checked Steven.

Anonymous said...

Overall, I was pleased with the broadcast last night. Being able to see the opening ceremony (with the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Blue Angels performing) made up for the fact we missed part of the pre-race show. I can better understand the dilemma the broadcast media go through to try to please everybody.

The change to live ticker shows that FOX is really tuning in to the fans. Too many tickers will clutter up the screen, so be careful.

So much happened toward the end of the race and FOX did a pretty good job of capturing most of it. You have to listen as well as watch to get it all. A lot was packed into the time allotted.

Thanks to The Daly Planet, I knew to switch over to ESPNEWS, which I didn't even know was available.

Certainly there is a lot of fodder for both print and broadcast media after last night. Victory Lane, Wind Tunnel, and TWIN ought to be interesting.

bevo said...

Brian -

Amen! I made the same point last night. I was really disappointed in Matt Yocum who usually does a very good job. He interviewed Hamlin and didn't ask him about staying out with the flat.

Anonymous said...

Multiple missed restarts, totally ingnoring why NASCAR parked "brother" Mike, no love for Boyer and digger digger digger ....
FOX can't end their season fast enough!!

Anonymous said...

you guys complain when espn asks drivers tough or sometimes stupid questions and then complain when FOX throws softballs.

Get a stance and perhaps stick to it.

Do you want pit reporters asking tough and sometimes embarassing questions or be their fried and ask easy questions - its Yokum v Massaro type of interview.

S Byrnes works so much TV other than as a pit reporter (on SPEED) that his objectivity is just not there. He is friends with many many drivers as is Yokum.

Anonymous said...

typo -should be be their friend

and another thing = FOX did a super job showing Jr's only pass for the lead going three or was it four wide. No missed lead change there.

Anonymous said...

I was not around until later last night, but just noticed this question:

SophiaZ123 said...

I am Ohio on East Coast time but of course due to region, had the St. louis-Chi game. Glad it was not rain delayed or anything.

I am sorry for those of you that got gypped.

JD I don't remember this being such a huge issue last year on Fox? Maybe you can get some feedback why this is such a problem...Time change of races?


It's actually the other end that's the problem, the races didn't change times, the baseball games did. In last year's FOX Saturday Baseball contract, 1st pitch occurred around 1:30 PM ET unless the game was in a west coast market.
This year, they've switched to a single national telecast with a few different feeds for local interest. Therefore, the first pitch is pushed back to 3:55 PM with a short pre-game show starting at 3:30 ET.

The baseball game coverage starts at 3:30, but the games themselves don't start for another 25 minutes, so a straight 3 hour game (kind of the standard these days) runs til 6:55, meaning if its even 10 minutes long, they run into the Hollywood hotel.

Anonymous said...

I wish TV guys bosses would let me blog again. I miss his perspective.

May 4, 2008 2:33 AM

According to a anon poster here last week (maybe the race review thread, it's at the very end of one of the comment threads from this past week), TV Guy got let go for posting here and the production people were warned the same would happen to them if they did what he did while on the job. Doesn't surprise me at all.

I too thought Bowyer got the short shrift. Last week it was Earnhardt Jr vs Jeff Gordon, this week it's Jr vs Kyle Busch, who will it be next week? (Yawn.)

Re: "The big question is: How will Fox handle the updates on stories like Mikey & Denny's parkings next Saturday night ??

And WHO is gonna get penalized during the week ??"

Answer: They won't (it will be covered Friday on SPEED, after that it will be over like any "controversy") and nobody will get penalized, NASCAR already said.

Alex said...

I don't think that the baseball issue was that big of a deal actually. Despite the rough transition, after that point the race coverage was excellent. The booth guys and pit reporters kept the dialog going in a boring race, and kept me watching it.

Kudos for Fox Sports staying on the air well after the finish and paying off the big stories of the night: Hamlin, Busch, Earnhardt, and giving time for the booth guys to wrap up the race.

What else could Fox do to cover the stuff on pit road between Busch and Earnhardt? Apparently nothing went down other that one or two crew members shouting at Busch.

I agree that the finish was somewhat screwed up, but I think that Fox is slowly moving in the right direction and I was pleased with the way they covered and wrapped up the night.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Just so we are square, no one got let go from any job in reference to participating in the comments section of this site.

I got email from all concerned, and the only issue was blogging while working for the TV folks during the telecast. I understand that, and those who choose to participate have been reading as we go and then responding after the race.

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clear that up once and for all.

JD

Newracefan said...

Thanks for clearing that up JD I was worried we cause someone to lose his job. I can undestand not being allowed to blog during work, too bad they can't get an intern (might not know enough) or hire someone to be part of the blog like TV guy. I realize hiring someone is very self-serving on my part but I had to ask

Anonymous said...

funny how jamie little can pass and hold off skinner on final lap of toyota pro/am but professionals wreck when passing for the lead.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon,

Do you think that maybe Mike cut her a little slack at the end?

JD

Anonymous said...

no doubt - think skinner said it - he wanted her to win her class but said he didnt want to wreck them both - hmmm - is shrub listening?

those scions tc's race real nice.

SophiaZ123 said...

I thought Skinner cut her a LOT of slack!

great column..and I agree with most all of it and will be curious as to why Mikey got parked. Of course we heard him rev his engine and run into the back of Mears but both cars were badly banged up and I have seen this done before and somebody penalized a lap or two but not PARKED.

Also Jr handled himself very well but I could tell he was tired and GREATLY DISAPPOINTED.

I am tired of the media focusing on him as somebody who is a Jr fan. It's nauseating and it's too much. Even if you love the guy leave him ALONE.

They need to tweak camera work on the end for sure.

ESPN has that down well but if they could ONLY turn off the ticker for the race, ESPN would be preferable though I would miss Larry and Mike.

DW has to get over his Kyle Busch crush before I can stomach him again. Between that and hawking his DIGGER STORE, shirts and junk. Even on WT??

I enjoy the tech guys that blog on here and thanks for the baseball time change explanation.

This blog is the best.

Newracefan said...

Mikey got parked because he didn't just bang into the back of Casey he continued to push him for some time. His only defense can be that they got hooked up and he didn't want to stop to keep the front end from ripping off but based on what the car looked like when Mikey came to pit road I'm thinking that won't work

Mike said...

Next week could be interesting when it comes to baseball on Fox. Again, there'll be 3 games split up regionally. Difference being, even though the broadcast start time is the same for the race, Darlington is looking at a much earlier green flag than what Richmond had (pre-race ceremonies will start at 7:20p.m. Eastern). It'll be interesting to see if NASCAR delays the start again to accomodate Fox, if the situation should arise.

SophiaZ123 said...

thanks NRF!
for the info I overlooked...I have to stop being on the laptop during the race...my brain can't multi task.

Anonymous said...

Viewers in Austin, Texas got lucky as our Fox network started coverage promptly at 18:00 CST which is exactly what the t.v. schedule showed. I recorded the whole kit an kaboodle-no baseball anywhere to be found.

As for the overall network coverage of the race, I noticed that they missed the start of the big wreck and had to replay it so fans could see how it got started. This is nothing new, though, as the networks do this all the time now. Miss the restarts, don't show pit stops, don't go back to the race if a caution comes out during a commercial break, etc.

I also noticed that they focused on their golden boys like usual. Nothing new there.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gymmie said...

@anon 4:41--it was the same here in DFW, we had the pre-race. But IIRC, if you were on Hotpass here in DFW there was baseball, but other Hotpass markets had the pre-race. Someone on another list posted about having baseball but hadn't elaborated so I wasn't sure WHAT he was talking about, since I had pre-race on. Then after I finally made it over here, I realized what he was talking about.

Anonymous said...

Fox needs to find a way to start the pre-race show live and on-time on another network in case baseball runs long. ESPN has been able to do that, Fox should too.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple things I thought of while reading through some of the post. Baseballs times actually are starting the same time this year as they did a year ago. If you remember from last year ... both the Richmond and Darlington races were pushed back to Sunday. That could be a reason to why some think there is a difference. The 3:30 pm eastern time started last year with there new contract. Another comment is that FOX states atleast twice, if not 3 times in the broadcast (Mike Joy did the informing) that Michael Waltrip would be parked for pushing Mears down down the track. They also talked about the Hamlin issue about him stopping to bring out a caution. They did it because he took off again right after the yellow waved.

Desmond said...

I was one of those who received the entire show. The telecast that was shown here was Orioles vs. Angels, which ended early. Later, we were given Cubs vs. Cardinals, which ended a few minutes later. I was surprised to hear, "for those of you just joining us" later in the pre-race, because I thought that Fox would show all the games first.

Frankly, I was so busy absorbing all of what happened late in the race that I didn't notice that only Bowyer was seen crossing the start/finish line. Obviously, Fox is continuing an old tired habit and this should be taken care of.

As for the post-race coverage, I cannot comment because I was not home at the end of the race and had to record it. The tape cut off after the finish, but during a commercial before the post-race began. Hopefully, I will catch the rebroadcast on Thursday on SPEED, it will be part of it, and I will be able to give you a better assessment.