Let’s start here: this post doesn’t exist to make fun of John Sterling. In this instance, it’s not really his fault, even.
Calling a game off of nothing more than a monitor, Sterling mistook a replay of an earlier Aaron Judge homer for a live-action Judge homer, and called the play accordingly.
Objectively, it is funny:
John Sterling triumphantly calls another Aaron Judge home run, until he realizes it’s a replay. pic.twitter.com/JpXRggyNSv
— Major League GIFs (@MajorLeagueGIFs) July 8, 2021
The game, as you’ll note, was played in Minnesota, while Sterling and the rest of the crew weren’t on the road. That kind of disconnect leads to issues like this, which Sterling was clearly frustrated by; he immediately points out that he’s calling it off a monitor, and therefore has a limited sense for what’s happening.
That’s a big deal, and a real disservice to viewers! Obviously sending teams on the road again has some issues and would require both spending some more money and ironing out logistical difficulties surrounding Covid and other restrictions.
But at the same time, if John Sterling can miss something like this due to not being there, think of all the smaller things that viewers aren’t getting that they’ll never even notice. That’s a shame, because those fans are still paying the full price in the form of carriage fees or other subscriptions of some kind. The broadcasters are obviously sick of this, too; here’s Sterling’s colleague Suzyn Waldman last month in the New York Post that it’s “hard” and “embarrassing” to make mistakes when calling games like this, and she’s not wrong.
Trying to get by on the cheap like this is only going to turn people off to the product, and that’s not something baseball needs right now or ever. That constant remote broadcasting is feasible at all is a credit to the people behind the microphone (and the rest of the crew), but that doesn’t mean it’s the same quality or sustainable, whether or not the people in charge of making these decisions are capable of telling the difference.
Hopefully teams get their crews back on the road as quickly and as safely as possible.