Love your team but don't care too much for your local announcers? Wish you could mute the booth but keep the pleasing and soothing sounds of the ballpark? One regional channel may have the answer you've long been waiting for. Last night Fox Sports Detroit aired an announcerless telecast on their Plus channel in addition to their normal broadcast on the main regional network. The alternate channel featured the sounds of the ballpark as you would hear them in the stadium. Here's more from Fox Sports…
FOX Sports Detroit offered viewers something during Tuesday night's broadcast that they've been asking for since the dawn of televised sports — a broadcast with nothing but the game, important information and ambient sounds of the ballpark. The alternate broadcast ran on FOX Sports Detroit Plus with no announcing team.
FOX Sports Detroit is calling it "Natural Sounds at Comerica Park."
"Natural Sounds at Comerica Park will feature extra microphones around the park so viewers can hear more of the sounds of baseball — the bat cracks, ball popping in the mitt, vendors chiming in from the stands and the crowd's reaction to every play on the field," senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports Detroit Greg Hammare said.
While Fox Detroit speaks of how great the ambient sound is, I wonder if Mario Impemba and Rod Allen felt the same way in the Tigers booth. The announcerless game is an idea that has been attempted periodically before, most notably during an NFL on NBC game between the Jets and Dolphins in 1980. Feedback on Twitter from Tigers fans was mostly positive for having the option to tune the announcers out…
This tigers game with no announcers, just the sounds of the ballpark is awesome!
— Alex (@Groves1011) July 31, 2013
— Brad (@MaizeBlueNation) July 31, 2013
Really digging the FSD+ Tigers feed without the announcers. Wish it was like this every game. #noinanecomments
— Matt Taber (@matt_taber) July 30, 2013
— Logan Kossow (@lkossow13) July 31, 2013
Really liking this @FOXSportsDet Plus feed tonight. Cool idea, hope it happens more often.
— Mac (@MacSwearengen) July 30, 2013
In case you're wondering how the "natural sounds" broadcast turned out, Guyism has a brief video from the announcerless telecast.
Fox Sports Detroit is planning another telecast without the announcers on August 30th. In spite of how attractive the idea may be to many, I can't envision announcerless games becoming a primary option for sports. There's a reason the play-by-play man has had a job for decades – game broadcasts usually need a narrative and layer of context to what's happening on the field. More importantly, we'd be out of a job. However, with all the extra channels, apps, and secondary feeds that are in existence this may become something more teams and networks look into for the future as an alternate feed.
One also wonders if Fox would ever look into the "natural sounds" feed for the World Series given the, ahem, "popularity" of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver with many baseball fans.