Sunday, February 27, 2011

Let's get rid of the sportscasters

And they wonder why baseball isn't attracting new audiences. How about the boring sportscasters? For instance, no matter how great the baseball season, it ends in the black hole of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck. How can this be? McCarver can't shut up for a second and has an opinion about everything. And Buck adds absolutely nothing to any sportscast. You don't even hear him. No, wait. You hear them both -- and it's unbearable. They ruin my enjoyment of the post-season, year after year.

But hang on, I've come up with a solution. Why can't there be many sportscasters to choose from? In other words, do it like YouTube, where everyone can try out for the job. MLB should set up a system where fans can choose who they'd like to announce the games. Think about it. You could choose teenagers, Cuban guys, minor-league players, some old guy at the retirement home, the guy at the corner bar, gay guys, women -- whoever the hell you want. 

They could keep their visual model (if they insist) but why not offer alternate soundtracks? I can choose Spanish or English now so why not make other live soundtracks available? They could even keep the commercials where they are so the economic model transfers to the new system. And once the new set-up takes off, they could eliminate video of the sportscasters entirely and focus only on the game.

People would jump on something like this. They're hungry for new choices because the pool of announcers is small, old and tired. MLB needs to rethink baseball so it incorporates excellent fan input during games. You might end up with hundreds of competing voice channels, which would be ranked by how often people chose them. More hits moves you up in the rankings. After a while, you'd have at least 20 excellent, alternate sportscasts to choose from. And those people could market their fame however they wished. (And the hottest ones would get a contract, of course.)

If MLB adopted this model, baseball would immediately gain a whole new audience of fans. This would liven up the game like nothing in the past 30 years.