It’s interesting this story came up and involves two ESPN writers. My brother and I have been saying for years that ESPN has essentially been doing this when it comes to baseball. For years we watched Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski mismanage the Detroit Tigers bullpen, then the ESPN talking heads would just say “I don’t know how the Tigers didn’t win.”
To be fair, it wasn’t just ESPN, it was most of the national media. However, there are a lot of games to play, especially in baseball, and they focus on the ones in big markets. So at the end of the night, they look at box scores and highlights and come to a conclusion about what they see via that avenue.
Obviously having someone at every game, every season is a bit antiquated and time-consuming. I do feel like a person will be able to gain more insight than a computer, especially in a sport with many intricacies and moving parts. Also, with the advent of technology someone doesn’t have to be at the game anymore to see everything. I live in London and can watch every single NHL game, with a choice of broadcast. It’s not as accurate as being there, but it beats an automated story.
My point is, the human element is what makes game coverage what it is. I can find out what happened in a game myself via a box score and watching highlights, but I can’t get how a player sounded in the post-game, frustration in their voice, or a fed up coach from a computer. This just seems like a method of cutting costs in an effort to increase greed from the AP and ESPN. Haven’t they learned from the NFL that when you get too greedy your product slips?