Last night the All-Stars took mercy on us. After the folks at MLB tortured us with 50 minutes of pre-game dreck the game actually rolled along at a swift two hours and fifty-nine minutes, all the more impressive because of the extra-long Fox commercial breaks. A short All-Star game is a good All-Star game. The NL might have won, capturing home field advantage in the World Series for the first time since 2001, but it matters little. It was an exhibition, and if you’re a fan of watching hitters whiff it was a quality one.
A quarter of all batters in the game struck out against 12 different pitchers, three of them going down against Jose Valverde in the ninth. The pitching was so good that each team scored in only one instance. In the fifth Robinson Cano hit a sac fly to put the AL ahead 1-0, and then in the seventh Brian McCann hit a bases loaded double to capture the lead for good. Two of the baserunners were Phil Hughes’s responsibility; he took the loss in the game.
The game itself was just as interesting as other All-Star games. The managers still manage it like an exhibition, and the players still play that way. It’s a spectacle for us to enjoy, and for the most part I enjoyed this one. That’s partly because I love watching strikeouts, but it’s also partly because Ben, Mike, and I got to watch Panasonic’s presentation of the All-Star game in 3D.
For the past few weeks YES has been running spots about the first ever HD game, so the details have been out for a while. The 3D broadcast only works on 3D TVs, and you need goggles to see it — but not the googles you get at the movie theater. These are battery powered and can focus on only one 3D image at a time. We could turn around the room and watch each TV, but it would take a few seconds for the image to come into focus.
Here are the googles:
And here’s me wearing the googles:
As you can see, they’re pretty dorky and I’m pretty sure I’d prefer to watch a baseball game without them, even if the image is pretty neat. Then again, we got to listen to a different commentating crew, so by wearing the glasses I didn’t have to listen to Buck and McCarver. So maybe the trade-off is worth it.
A few of observations on the 3D experience:
- It looks like they’re playing on a stage. The players do pop, almost like they’re inside a diorama, but the playing field and background are flat. I’m not complaining, because it’s kind of neat. You definitely see things in different proportions.
- The primary camera angle was behind the left-handed batter’s box. That took some getting used to, but once I did I loved it. You can pick up the pitcher’s delivery much better. It also takes a while to follow the ball after it comes off the bat. The cameras don’t maneuver well (or else they just don’t have enough of them to match the number of cameras we’re used to). I never did get a feel for the strike zone because of the off-center angle.
- There was a noticeable difference when viewing the screen from an angle and when viewing it from straight on. I was watching from an angle on the main TV, but found myself frequently turning to another because I had a better angle.
Two more days until real baseball.