Mac Engel: Texas’ toughest sports job calls 2021 Rangers games | Sports


FORT WORTH, Texas – When you watch the Texas Rangers shows and marvel at the ability of broadcasters to stay positive and optimistic about a team that is one of baseball’s worst, it just means they are good at their jobs.

On Wednesday night, the Rangers lost 7-2 to the Cleveland Guardians (the MLB team, not the men’s roller derby team) to fall to 44-82. Thus, Texas had obtained its fifth consecutive losing season, and the worst streak in the history of the franchise.

You probably didn’t hear that on the TV broadcast.

The center of the telecast on Bally Sports Southwest was Rangers starting pitcher Jake Latz, who was making his MLB debut.

“I thought on his first start he did a really good job,” Rangers commentator Steve Buechele said on the post-game show. “He just couldn’t keep the ball in the park.”

Latz pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with four walks.

There is no harder job in the entire Texas sports scene than working on the Texas Rangers shows. It’s pretty much the same show every night where the most important storyline, the outcome, is barely mentioned.

According to those familiar with the Texas Rangers shows, when Bally Sports took on the flagship network’s name, its executives, directors and producers made it clear to everyone in the building that they wanted to foster a partnership with the team.

These are business decisions that are consistent on all local sports broadcasts across America. Viewers and listeners won’t hear their local broadcasters say their team just got the worst stretch in franchise history.

If their team is bad, they’re going to hear that the rookie starting pitcher in his big league debut has done well.

Bally Sports wants to do everything possible to ensure that a team affiliated with a regional sports network named Bally in the United States does not look at other carriers when their respective contracts expire.

The best way to do this is to play nice.

The sports media landscape has changed so much that a broadcaster who is affiliated with a team, and who wants to be too critical of that team, is likely to be replaced.

According to the numbers, when Bally took over Fox Sports, you probably didn’t notice a change other than the name. Because you don’t watch, or listen, anyway.

Watching a Rangers game on Bally Sports Southwest wasn’t like watching “Ted Lasso”.

Rangers TV ratings barely ditch Nielsen ratings. Three games in the past two weeks have registered a 0.1; the highest in this period of games is 0.5.

There were several radio broadcasts of the Rangers Day games on 105.3 The Fan that didn’t register any ratings at all. As in a 0.0.

For the broadcasters themselves, they understand. It’s not like they can do anything about the product on the pitch, and repeating that the team stinks for 162 games isn’t fun either.

“Honestly it wasn’t that hard but it’s easier to call the winners because the action speaks for itself,” Rangers TV color commentator CJ Nitkowski said in an interview. telephone.

“For me, it’s about digging deeper into the talking points and putting that into perspective. I’m going to ask (Rangers manager Chris) Woodward on a topic and see if he can add anything. task.”

For example, Nitkowski researched second baseman Nick Solak’s first 180 games and found they were similar to Ranger Hall of Fame Michael Young.

A note like this becomes the focal point of a program.

That’s what you do when the team you’re talking about is 31 games away from first place.

“There is an advantage that I haven’t been a good MLB player. I empathize with what it’s like to be on a bad team or to struggle,” said Nitkowski. “I know what it’s like to be on a bad team and how hard it is to concentrate.”

The same goes for a show.

Essentially, these are four-hour TV shows that need to avoid the most important scenario in the broadcast: the outcome of the match.

So if the final score is barely mentioned on the show, it just means the broadcasters are doing their job.


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