Apple has been doing Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+ for about a month and while Apple doesn’t hide the fact that they are doing a more unique broadcast compared to the norm, it’s difficult to get the public on board with something deemed so radical when they’re so used to something else and you’re the only ones doing what you’re doing. Many people had issues with the broadcasts for various reasons and with different baseball fanbases tuning in to see their favorite team, the same comments keep coming in each week just from different people.
That was something Katie Nolan touched on when she was on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina. Nolan has been in the booth for one of the games each Friday and she noted that because there are different fanbases tuning in each week and are getting their first taste of the broadcast, it’s brought on a level of ‘What does she know?’ misogyny that she thought was largely in the past.
Another such reveal was Nolan admitting that as a result of checking her Twitter mentions during the first game, she was silent for the last half of the Astros–Angels broadcast. While she had a very good reason to check out Twitter, it resulted in Nolan overthinking what she was going to say next.
“I’m going to be honest with you. Week 1, I did,” Nolan said. Because my goal is…what I’m there for, I can be the voice of the fans. So if something is happening that we didn’t notice and because you know me I’m digging through notes like crazy. If I missed something that actually would’ve been funny, and someone’s like ‘Hey, this is…’ I thought that’s what I was going to get my first week. I checked it in like the fourth or fifth inning, and then you can tell from the fifth inning on, I’m silent. Because I just was in my head, I was freaked out, I was worried I was going to get fired after one shift of this gig.”
“And so then I stopped…And ideally I want to go back.”
If you watched the game, it was clear Nolan was absent on commentary the last half of the game. The public might not have known why but it was noticeable. No one is going to say the broadcasts from that first night were perfect by any stretch but Nolan has a good perspective to view it as an opportunity to learn and improve each week.
“The way I see it I’m looking at this season as I want to learn something new every week and get better every week. And so Week 1 I had to forgive myself and say ‘Look, don’t turn the ball over.’ I know that’s not a baseball thing but don’t turn the ball over is your biggest goal. Don’t screw up so badly that they’re right. So the safest thing for me was to just talk less.”
“It’s gotten better but I’m still trying to figure out how to be less long winded and just sort of get in the thing. It’s hard to have comedic timing in a sport that has its own timing of when to talk and how to move. It’s a challenge.”
I’m not going to say I know what Katie is going through because even if I did the same job, I’m not getting the misogynistic comments she’s getting, but I can see how comments from those who are never going to come around can cause someone to overthink the next thing they say out to the public and it takes them out of their rhythm. It would be easy to tell someone to just not use social media or to “ignore the haters” but that’s difficult to do if you’re trying to capture the pulse of the fan and you have no choice but to weed through those comments to get that pulse so you can provide that voice of the fan to the broadcast.