Votto mic'd up!
There seems to be a mixed reaction to ESPN having Joey Votto mic'd up last night. In general, at least based on comments to me, it seems older fans did not like it, while younger fans did. I thought it was brilliant. MLB gets hammered, and rightfully so, for not marketing and promoting the game and the players. They put one of the best and most fascinating players in the game on national display last night and Votto delivered gold.
He talked hitting, his career, broke down a play and talked game strategy. But he also joked about his midlife crisis issues. His discussion about getting a gold tooth or diamond tooth was hilarious. He even incorporated another star in the game by asking questions to Braves 2B Ozzie Albies after he reached base. He talked about break dancing. He spoke Spanish to ESPN broadcaster Eduardo Perez.
He showed fans, showed kids, a human being with a sense of humor, not just a baseball player.
I tend to get uncomfortable with in-game interviews. They feel intrusive and rarely produce anything interesting. Votto was captivating. But you could also tell he was trying to balance talking while doing his job. I thought the interview at 1B went on too long.
I started getting ancy. Make it a little quicker and incorporate more of his off camera comments coming back from commercial breaks, during pitching changes and dead time. Overall, I want more of that.
If I'm a TV outlet carrying games I'm immediately working on the concept. I'd mic someone up every game. Even if it's a bullpen guy, starting pitcher not pitching, or a bench guy.
Continue to pull back the curtain on the game and on the players. Most fans crave info and entertainment.
Email sent to me this morning:
"Talking with a player on the field between pitches is one thing and I'm not sure I even like that because focus is crucial in athletics; but they were talking and even laughing while a pitch is being made. I don't share your enthusiasm for that. To me that was a foul ball. It ain't no church picnic.
Interviewing basketball coaches during timeouts during the NCAA tournament struck me the same way. You simply can't maintain the proper focus and had he been more focused, maybe he'd have played a throw to first base properly and a run not score."
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