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Sandomir nails ESPN.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by heyabbott, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Published: April 24, 2007

    ESPN became a masseuse of history Sunday night when its goal was to straightforwardly chronicle the four consecutive home runs that Red Sox batters swatted against the Yankees’ Chase Wright.

    It was the third inning when Manny Ramírez, J. D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek each hit bases-empty homers to put the Red Sox ahead, 4-3. Each one was accompanied by a colorful verbal send-off by ESPN’s Jon Miller.

    As ESPN rolled the replay of Drew’s drive, Miller said, “Theo Epstein was watching and was pretty impressed.” In a taped reaction shot, Epstein, the Red Sox’ general manager, appeared to say, “Oh my God.”

    A few minutes later, as ESPN replayed Lowell’s shot, Miller said, “Manny Ramírez was watching it from the dugout.” Ramírez jumped off the bench, exultant, and hugged a teammate or a coach.

    Then the third inning ended, and ESPN offered a sequence of the four home runs, and this time, Epstein’s reaction no longer came after Drew’s home run, but after Varitek’s, the last in the record-tying run.

    In the seventh, the sequence was shown again, and Ramírez’s reaction was shifted to look like he was celebrating Varitek’s shot, not Lowell’s. Epstein’s reaction shot followed, again making him look like he has been stunned by one home run when he was really amazed by another.

    In the sequence that ended the broadcast, ESPN shifted Epstein out of his original reality to look like he was reacting to Lowell’s home run, not Drew’s or Varitek’s. He was now unstuck in time, like Billy Pilgrim in “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

    This is a reminder of the mischief made by ESPN Classic in 2001 when it digitally inserted home plate ads for Lotrimin AF into games from the 1980 and 1993 World Series — years before such technology existed. And remember the bird sounds that CBS once added to a golf broadcast?

    Jed Drake, an ESPN senior vice president, said that once the reaction shots were shown in correct order, the judgment was that they were then available as “exclamation points on the overall sequence. There was no ulterior motive to say they were all tied to Varitek’s home run.”

    The four consecutive home runs was the story of the night. So why was ESPN not as nimble as it could have been in its reporting about the other time four consecutive home runs were hit against one pitcher?

    Wright’s direct historical antecedent was Paul Foytack, a reliever for the 1963 Los Angeles Angels, which ESPN reported. Had ESPN quickly navigated to baseball-reference.com or retrosheet.org during the game, it would have found that the Cleveland Indians’ Woodie Held, Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona (the father of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona) and Larry Brown began their sixth-inning, four-homer rampage against Foytack with two outs, the way the Red Sox did Sunday. It could have noted that Ramos, the Indians’ starting pitcher, hit two home runs in the game, the second half of a doubleheader in Cleveland.

    If Miller could talk about quickly looking up how many stolen bases Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox’ second baseman, had in the minors, he could have enlisted somebody to check even more pertinent facts.

    In an odd moment, the ESPN analyst Joe Morgan lauded Yankees Manager Joe Torre for removing Wright after the third inning. “That’s what makes him such a good manager,” Morgan said. Using that obvious criterion for lifting a shellshocked pitcher, Angels Manager Bill Rigney was quite the crafty genius in 1963 for taking Foytack out and replacing him with Jack Spring.

    As Miller and Morgan interviewed Terry Francona before the fifth inning started, Miller asked if he remembered the players, besides his father, who hit those Indians home runs in 1963. “Rocky Colavito and those guys?” Francona said.

    “Must have been,” Miller said.

    “Yeah,” Morgan added.

    While they might not have wanted to embarrass Francona, they could have named the other three after the interview was concluded. Colavito hadn’t played for the Indians since 1959, having been traded to Detroit.

    Drake said that at the time of the interview, Morgan and Miller did not know who, besides Tito Francona, had hit the other home runs. “We should have been quicker to get that information out,” Drake said.

    Morgan had a little trouble remembering history when he recalled that Joe Adcock hit four home runs in a game “just before” Willie Mays did. If you consider seven years “just before,” then Morgan was correct. Adcock’s feat, on July 31, 1954, occurred nine years to the day before the Indians took Foytack yard in four consecutive at-bats.
  2. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Who does Sandomir work for?
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

  5. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Awesome stuff.

    More proof Morgan sucks.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

  7. I didn't see it but if the shots are thrown together like that all in one package, wasn't it obvious they were playing with the video? It's hardly new for them to try to have a sense of humor ..
  8. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    The phrase "Morgan sucks" is a redundancy.
  9. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    True (But it's still better than what I get north of the border).

    And true.
  10. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Also loved the ESPN stat on Sportscenter the next day that read, "4 consecutive home runs in the same inning"

    No shit? The same inning? You mean there's a possibility that someone could hit a ball over the wall and then get tagged out between first and second?
  11. CapeCodder

    CapeCodder Member

    Jesus, I didn't know about that. That's absolutely staggering.

    And as an aside, how many times did you see the phrase "four back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs." Wouldn't that have been, like, 16 home runs?

    Oh, and Joe Morgan sucks.
  12. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    The sad -- and scary -- part of this is ESPN felt it was OK to do the switching.
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