Apple TV+'s Friday baseball commentary draws fan jeers

From Mike Luciano's "Yankees-Red Sox Apple TV broadcast littered with laughable errors" posted Sunday on Yanks Go Yard:

Apple’s production has received good reviews over the season, but its broadcast teams have drawn some criticism. From flubbing players’ names to disproportionate levels of enthusiasm, there has been a significant learning curve for some of these newbies behind the mic...

When the Apple crew set the tone for the game by referring to both Aaron Boone and Giancarlo Stanton as Aaron Judge, things were headed downhill. Some Yankees fans must be very relieved that this crew didn’t call No. 61 or No. 62 considering some of their mistakes...

The broadcast introduced some of their fun fact stats without much context, too. For example, Judge is tied with Corey Seager for the most home runs against left-handed pitching this year with 13 of them. But the broadcast made it seem like he’s struggling against lefties by saying he “only” has 13 dingers...

In one strange moment, Heidi Watney asked Roger Maris Jr. if he has any fond memories of his dad chasing 61 home runs. In 1961, Maris Jr. was three years old. We’re putting money down on him not remembering a single thing...

Isiah Kiner-Falefa was on the receiving end of some hilarious gaffes from the broadcast team as well. They called him “Kiner” multiple times, despite assuredly having a pronunciation guide on their desk. Again, let’s be thankful Judge didn’t hit No. 61 that night.

Between those flubs and introducing the phrase “side-arm curve-a-rooski” to the baseball lexicon against the wishes of everyone with functioning ears, the Apple broadcast assigned to Yankees-Red Sox didn’t earn high marks. Surprisingly, however, Apple’s coverage of Albert Pujols’ 700th career home run during the Cardinals-Dodgers game was solid.

My take: Baseball aficionados are famously unforgiving.

14 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    From the bottom there is no where to go but up.

    2
    September 26, 2022
    • Robert Stack said:
      Sort of reminds me of when Apple Maps first came out! 🙂 Maps is much better now of course.

      Although to be honest, over the summer it guided me onto an abandoned military base in NJ which after about 15 miles ended up at a chain-linked gate/fence with a “Road Closed” sign. Grrr…

      2
      September 26, 2022
      • Troy Thoman said:
        In Boston it shows a sweet green salad shop inside the federal reserve. ‍facepalm

        0
        September 28, 2022
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    Speaking of bottoms: the 3 major US Indexes are all down today, meanwhile AAPL is up.

    0
    September 26, 2022
    • S Lawton said:
      As is AMZN, MSFT and GOOG

      0
      September 26, 2022
      • Steven Philips said:
        “Are”. 🙂
        (Ducks!)

        0
        September 26, 2022
  3. Aaron Belich said:
    No doubt the Bill James’ of baseball will make their voices heard considering how they changed baseball and the metrics of it.

    0
    September 26, 2022
  4. S Lawton said:
    “From flubbing players’ names to disproportionate levels of enthusiasm, there has been a significant learning curve for some of these newbies behind the mic…” With all Apple’s money, why are there newbies behind the mic?

    5
    September 26, 2022
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      With all Apple’s money, why are there newbies behind the mic?

      I remember Dodger baseball from the late ‘50s through the ‘90s. Vince Scully was the voice on Dodger radio with Jerry Doggett. Now Doggett was like oatmeal paste compared to Scully, and when he finally retired the Dodgers went through a few potential candidates to replace him, even as bad as he was.

      It’s going to take a while to find (groom?) network quality play by play and color announcers that don’t follow a specific team. The original Monday Night Football booth was pure c hence and genius. They were as much a part of the game (and sometimes more so) as the teams that played that night. The best of that booth was Frank Gifford in my opinion. His was the steadying personality between Costello and Meredith.

      You know, the technology exists that upon signing on you can select the team’s announcers (that you prefer) for your audio feed. I don’t know how that would work (if it could) contractually.

      1
      September 26, 2022
      • S Lawton said:
        “You know, the technology exists that upon signing on you can select the team’s announcers (that you prefer) for your audio feed.” That’s not the point. This is one of Apples babies. They should be looking for the best of the best and since local broadcasters cover all the teams in their league, they should be part of the team they look to hire. After all, they chose the best for Apple + shows. This should be no different.

        4
        September 26, 2022
        • Robert Stack said:
          Agree in principal. With all Apple’s money and passion for excellence this should not have happened. It’s embarrassingly bad for the company. Just like the roll-out of Maps. Scott Forstall lost his job for that fiasco. I would have no problem firing the person(s) at Apple responsible for hiring these newbies as “broadcasters.”

          0
          September 26, 2022
  5. Jerry Doyle said:
    @Robert Stack: “…. Just like the roll-out of Maps. Scott Forstall lost his job for that fiasco.”

    You mainly are correct up to a very critical nuance that needs denoting.

    Forstall was on shaky grounds with senior management executives and with the all important deciding voice, Tim Cook. Forstall was the least liked of Steve Jobs’s executive team. Forstall was close to Jobs. Forstall had a kinship relationship with Steve that protected him. Once Steve left us, Forstall’s surly reputation and openly ambitious drive did not serve him well. His hunger for power and influence within the company irked his fellow executives and coworkers, but Forstall remained because Steve appreciated Scott’s robust drive and outward competitiveness.

    When Steve died, that safety net was removed. When Forstall had two back-to-back subpar software launches involving “Siri” and “Maps,” then all eyes turned to him.

    Maps was the Achilles heel where Forstall was asked by Tim Cook to accept accountability by making a “public apology” to quiet the public blowback and ameliorate matters. Forstall refused the direct order from Cook. (I suspect Forstall had a difficult time giving Tim Cook credibility for being picked to be CEO, a position that Forstall coveted).

    After the public outcry over Maps had been rumbling for two days with no movement from Forstall to respond to Tim’s direct order, then Tim took the initiative to write the apology himself. Tim sent out the apology letter to all Apple users detailing the problems with Maps and delineated a promise to Apple users for the future.

    At the time, some viewed Tim’s apology as a sign of weakness. Anyway, the supposedly story is that Tim saw Forstall as a disruptive influence on the senior executive team, a troublemaker who would not take responsibility; and so Tim C axed Forstall.

    In summary, Forstall could have kept his job, if he were willing to be humble and give a public apology; and change his ways of relating with staffs.

    6
    September 26, 2022
    • Robert Stack said:
      I appreciate your comments Jerry; I was aware of some of this but not all of it. One could also make the case, in Forstall’s defense, that both Maps and Siri were/are very complicated tasks and nobody was expecting perfection at the outset. Glitches were expected. But hiring a sportscaster who doesn’t even know how to pronounce the names of the players they are going to be commenting on is just lame. Embarrassingly lame and it reflects poorly on Apple. I expect much better from a company committed to excellence.

      1
      September 27, 2022
  6. Bart Yee said:
    The biggest problem for Apple and hiring good baseball broadcasters for its once a week/multiple games in one night format is that most of not all the best and good ones are already under contract to teams, regional, and national sports networks and said broadcasters are mostly working that day somewhere. When one considers that every baseball team has one to three in the TV booth, two in the radio/streaming booth, and at least one dugout or field reporter, you can see how many people are employed with 30 teams.

    Even my Los Angeles Dodgers have Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser (TV), Charlie Steiner, Rick Monday, Tim Naverette (fills in play by play when Joe has network commitments and Charlie doesn’t travel long distance) plus other backups and even Spanish language too. Now multiply that with 32 NFL teams, 30 NBA teams, and 32 NHL teams, and we’re not even talking about women’s sports, minor sports like Golf, Tennis, Soccer, etc. in the US.

    Oh, there’s a cadre of SportsTalk radio hosts who could do play by play and color on a baseball broadcast and have experience too, but they also have jobs as well.

    Apple appears to be trying to find “new” on air talent that was available and probably up and coming. As a first year trial, the video coverage is pretty darn good, the announcing is C- to B+ depending on which game and which talent. The lack of preparation and knowledge for long time and even recent fans is off putting for many but, and it’s fixable, a startup problem.

    0
    September 27, 2022

Leave a Reply