Gary, Keith, Ron, and the entire SNY production team were nowhere to be found on Wednesday. If you struggled to find the Mets game, that’s because it was only available to watch via a stream through Facebook on the MLB Live page. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.
I’d like to say the reviews were mixed, but they weighed heavily on the negative side.
The @facebook telecast Mets-Phillies game is LOL-bad. Epically amateurish and tedious. If you want to put it online and cover it with gigantic pointless graphics and inane commentary, have fun. But don’t make it exclusive. The world is fleeing Facebook; MLB is embracing it?— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) April 4, 2018
Its fascinating to me people hope today’s game is rained out, just so they don’t have to watch it on Facebook. Fascinating indeed. #Mets— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) April 4, 2018
I didn’t hate the broadcast. It was different, but it was meant to be different. There are sure to be growing pains with a new venture and today’s steam was no exception.
Fans are always quick to hate on national broadcast crews. Some deserve to be knocked and receive it simply because people love to hate. Let’s cut Scott Braun, John Kruk and Cliff Floyd some slack. You can’t expect them to have deep-rooted chemistry right off the bat. They also aren’t following the Mets around 24/7, of course they aren’t going to give us a hometown feel.
It wasn’t the most professional sounding broadcast, and I think that’s okay. Remember that MLB is trying to do something new with these games in an effort to encourage fans to become a bigger part of the experience. The goal, I think, was to have these three, along with sideline reporter (and former Mets in-game talent) Alexa Datt, come off as if they were watching the game with you rather than projecting from afar.
I won’t rush to judgment on the broadcast team; I happen to think all four are incredibly talented and should be given more time as a team before a verdict is handed down. You can, if you want, just don’t compare them with Gary, Keith, Ron and Steve Gelbs. That’s just not fair.
Here’s the good, bad and the ugly from everything else:
I enjoy having the option to stream games, especially during work hours. It’s nice to be able stream a game through SNY/NBC Sports, Facebook or any other outlet when a TV isn’t available. I’m not sure how you could argue against that.
It was also a nice touch being able to see which of my friends were tuned in. I had a few chats going through Facebook messenger to discuss the action in real time. That was more convenient than tagging handles on twitter or texting “did you see that?” It’s creepy, yes, but I was actually able to know who did indeed see the play I wanted to talk about without having to ask first.
As I said, this was not a smooth sailing stream. I experienced several glitches throughout the game, and would often have to exit and reload the steam. Not great. I was also picking up these random background noises quite often. I have no idea what they were, but I found them to be distracting and led me to put the game on mute a few times.
Besides the chats I wanted to indulge in, I hated that scrolling thread of comments on the sidebar. I like the idea of interacting with people during a game like I do on Twitter, just not with all of the people tuned in. There’s a reason I don’t follow every single one of you on Twitter. That was an easy fix to remove/mute, though.
One thought that crept into my mind is that someone from Facebook was probably watching me watch a baseball game on Facebook. The latest privacy scandal rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and they aren’t ready to forgive the social network leader just yet. It might be a case of bad timing for MLB to be forming a partnership with Facebook.
The overall presentation was just flat out ugly. There was entirely too much going on. I found the scorecard to be too big and the pop-up graphics looked dare I say amateurish? If you’re going to represent the MLB brand with these streams than you need to step up your game in this department.
This is a shameless plug, but Orange and Blue Thing (Thursday nights at 6 pm) is home to much, much better graphics work.
We might be in the midst of a cord-cutting movement for the younger generation but that same sentiment doesn’t hold true for the older portion of the fan base. My father is 61, doesn’t have Facebook and loves to watch the Mets: how was he supposed to tune in today? That’s a question that clearly needed to be thought out better.
I think streaming games is a great idea and MLB could be onto something with this Facebook experiment. Nothing is perfect on the first go around, but I was expecting a higher quality product. I’m sure things will only get better moving forward, just do everyone a favor and give us the option of a TV broadcast, too. Is that so much to ask?