The top of the second inning in Tuesday's game against the A's was a perfect display of the terrible nature of Angels telecasts. Erick Aybar steals 2B and a throwing error puts him on 3B. Here stands one of the most exciting players on the team who just outsmarted the Oakland Catcher and he tops it by outsmarting the FSNW camera crew because they never once frame him in a shot. He stands on 3B as two batters battle and lose and we never see him. A third batter walks and of course, on a pitch soon thereafter, breaks to 2B. They have him in a rundown.
Interesting play, right? Yeah, basically Aybar broke from home and made it there safely before Efren Navarro was tagged out on the basepaths but you would never know it from FSNW cameras. Oh and since it was the final out the telecast breaks away to a commercial no matter how exciting a play we just almost saw.
In keeping the camera focused on the ball we missed Aybar's exciting break to 2B. When he was finally picked up and the ball drifted past the defender and ended up on the grass that starts the outfield we watched a ball trickle on while an exciting veteran Angel was hauling ass to 3B. When Navarro broke to 2B and the A's committed to a throw, the camera angle was from way above home plate. It slowly tilted to the throw to 2B and Navarro stopping, then a casual zoom in as he headed back to first but not fast enough to meet the defender there. All the while we are following the ball, Erick Aybar breaks into a sprint and crosses home plate. But we miss all that and the run scored for a game of pickle.
And if never showing a halo baserunner nor a replay when a commercial is called for, at least we eventually see a replay of the play as it happened from the perspective of the baserunner, right? Don't we?
Well... back from a commercial and the replay does what it always does - it shows us the exact same thing we saw but in slow motion. Then, and only then, and only if there is time, do we see the play from a different angle. Is it a good angle? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But who needs a good angle when you can zoom in on a player. Yes, the replays invariably show a zoom in of a player with no context as to what they are doing. Sure, we knew that Aybar was running from 3B to home but instead of showing the distance he was running, the replay shows the ripple of his nostrils as he huffs air running down the line. It could be a pregame sprint for all we know.
Much later in the game we are finally shown a replay with some context - Aybar about five feet from the plate finishing the play shown with the plate in view. Not when we need it to still savor the moment, no, by the sixth inning this is a history lesson. The Angels do a major league job on the field. Is it too much to ask that it be documented as well as possible?
Fox Sports West has always done a subpar job in showing Angels games for a few reasons. The primary deficit is the choice to - at all times - follow the ball. When there is action in the game, it is most often on the basepaths, but these are places that we rarely see in an FSN WEST shot of the action. When home runs are hit we see the billboard behind home plate and a cut to a fence or to sky. The occasional replay shows us the trajectory of the ball. So much excitement dissipated - and they wonder why TV ratings are down.
There are other inadequacies in the visuals we see of our team live and in replay. This one tonight encapsulated much of what has aggravated me all season and I had to spend most of the game tonight letting all of this out.
How do YOU feel about FSN West's coverage of Angels games?