There’s a lot more going on during a televised baseball game than you realize

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Friend of HBT Caryn Rose — of  Metsgrrl fame — went to an event called “Art of Televised Baseball” last night, where the main attraction was SNY’s Bill Webb talking about how baseball games are produced for TV.  Lots of fun insider stuff about the decisions Webb — the director of some 145 Mets games a year — makes in order to get the product you see on the screen. Among them:

  • When Keith is laughing and there’s nothing going on in the booth that’s funny, it’s because Webb is saying something to him in his earpiece. He told the story of the time Ralph Kiner sneezed, and Webb said “Gesundheit” and Ralph said “Thank you” on air.
  • [Webb] Mentioned both David Wells’ perfect game and David Cone’s perfect game as two of his most memorable ones. Someone then asked how he changed his coverage during a perfect game and he first said that he didn’t, but that he made sure that low 3rd, low 1st and CF cameras were always covering the pitcher so that if he blew it, the pitcher would be facing the camera.

It’s so easy to let a game wash over you when you watch it on TV. Then you realize that, as you’re sitting there, some guy in a production truck is changing the camera angles, putting up graphics and otherwise barking out orders every five or six seconds for three hours so that you can get your fix.

Good stuff. Tons and tons more of Webb’s observations are passed along. Nice writeup from Caryn. Check it out.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.