MLB Network Trying Different Broadcast Approaches This Season
In a truncated 60-game season defined by newness, MLB Network is experimenting with two innovative concepts with live game broadcasts this week. Friday night, for the first time in the network's history, Greg Amsinger, Dan Plesac and Harold Reynolds will call a game using elements from the network's signature program, MLB Tonight, when the Cubs host the Brewers. At different points, the telecast will shift to a two-box format and whip around to live look-ins of key moments from other games across the league. The analysts will do rapid demonstrations on important plays from the game in Studio 42, MLB Network's replica baseball field studio, and they will host in-game interviews with personnel from the Cubs and Brewers throughout the game. MLB Net's Jon Morosi also will contribute to the telecast on-site from Wrigley Field. The telecast could have a little of the feel of NFL RedZone. Similar telecasts, if the network chooses to, could be compelling during this season's stretch run because there will be so many teams still in contention vying for the 16 postseason berths. "To me, this makes the most sense in the world," Amsinger said about the concept. "We're going to mix in what we do from a studio perspective considering everyone is doing games from studios. So why not use the best studio in sports television? And we're going to integrate it into how we call this game, Brewers-Cubs."
LOOK AT THE CLOUD: Meanwhile, Brian Kenny, Cliff Floyd and MLB.com's Sarah Langs on Thursday afternoon called Nationals-Mets using an enhanced broadcast format from Statcast powered by Google Cloud. Everything from the game call, broadcast conversation and on-screen graphics were analytics-focused. That includes in-game interviews with team personnel, in-studio demonstrations and on-air essays from Kenny using enhanced metrics provided by Statcast. This marked the fifth time that the network has produced an analytics-focused game telecast since '15. The network is planning to roll out more of these telecasts in the coming weeks, including next Thursday's Rays-Yankees game and the Aug. 27 Angels-Astros matchup.