The Media Learning Curve: July 9-16

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We abstained from getting into 3D mode during Fox’s experiment in covering the MLB All-Star Game from Angel Stadium through DirecTV with the new technology, so we’ll have to rely on others to convey their thoughts on it.

Like, for starters, the guy in charge.

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“Baseball is definitely one of the top couple of sports in 3D,” said Fox Sports President Eric Shanks told the Sports Business Daily. “We see a lot of potential for this sport in this.”

Because of the dugout suites at Angel Stadium, Fox and DirecTV were not able to replicate exactly the low camera position directly behind home plate, instead using a spot slightly to the right up the first base side. That shift, in turn, made it more difficult to see the ball coming out of the pitchers’ hands, SBD reported.

Yahoo.com Sports’ Kevin Kaduk said ESPN’s 3D coverage of Home Run Derby was uneven with some shots “jaw-dropping” and outfield shots “unremarkable” and “distracting.”

The Seattle Times’ Jerry Brewer, reviewing two Yankees-Mariners games in Seattle that were shown on the YES network and FSN Northwest last weekend to test-drive the technology, wrote:

“I have seen the future, and it looks like, well, wow. High-definition television is awesome, but three-dimensional sports viewing is almost beyond description. It’s still in the fine-tuning phase, but at its best, watching sports in 3D will allow you not only to see the game better, but also to understand and relate to it on a different level.”

Just remember: New 3D TVs run as much as $4,500, plus $150 for a good pair of glasses. And you can’t really pass ‘em around as you’re watching.

So watch out.

Spinning off more notes after today’s media column (linked here):

== GQ, because it can, has a Top 5 and Bottom 5 list of baseball TV broadcasters (linked here), which is head surprisingly by … Vin Scully, who “has a story about almost everyone, on each team, and … he never comes close to hysterics, or any other cheap broadcasting trick. Listening to Scully has a sedative effect, in the best possible way, and one quickly settles into the game like a lullaby. Broadcasters, pay attention, this is your master’s class.”

No. 5 on the good list includes new Angels team Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza, but it says Rojas replaced “the dismissed Steve Physioc, and so far, so good.” Except Rojas really replaced the late Rory Markas. Another thought: “The only knock on these guys might be that their attempts at in-game humor usually fall flat, and that Rojas can be snarky. Still, this is a promising pair and they’re developing a good on-air relationship.”

The bottom 5: Apparently the guy doesn’t hear Eric Collins and Steve Lyons much. They missed out.

== SI.com’s Richard Deitsch’s media power rankings for June and July (linked here) somehow include Jim Gray and ESPN’s “The Decision.”

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But he also includes Emmet Smith, the deputy design director for news at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who devised this cover:

Deitsch writes: “For those who celebrate the daily elegance of the newspaper front page, it was a gift of genius: LeBron James walking out of the frame, flanked by a single word headline: GONE.” With an arrow pointing to his right hand that said: “7 Years In Cleveland, No Rings.” Deitsch said that Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post called it one of the greatest front pages in newspaper history.

ESPN.com’s Page 2 writer Dave Wilson (linked here) adds:

“The cover has been a huge topic of discussion in social media and sparked the most popular story of the day on USA Today’s website. Most feedback has been positive, but there has been criticism that it took too much of an editorial view, which isn’t traditionally found in regular news sections.”

“‘If you look at the wording on it, there’s not a thing on it that’s not true,’ (Plain-Dealer visuals editor David) Kordalski said. ‘He’s gone. True. He was here seven years. True. No rings? True.’”

== Your MLB weekend card: Saturday’s Fox game (Channel 11, 1 p.m.) has Joe Buck and Eric Karros on the Dodgers-Cardinals game from St. Louis (going to 27 percent of the country, including here of course), while 72 percent get the Tampa Bay-N.Y. Yankees game from Yankee Stadium on Old-Timers’ Day with Kenny Albert, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal.

McCarver, a former Yankees broadcaster for three years, said in a Fox release about what it was like working for George Steinbrenner, who died Tuesday: “Any employee of George will remember him very vividly. There was more than one occasion that I upset him on the air but I got along with him fine. I’m not too sure that he was real happy with some things I said on air but that’s probably the case with a lot of broadcasters with George.”

Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game will be carried by TBS (10 a.m., Dick Stockton and Ron Darling), while the Phillies-Cubs from Wrigley Field is the ESPN Sunday night game (5 p.m.), which won’t be threatened by a delayed broadcast of the ESPY Awards.

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== We appreciate the multi-network coverage of the British Open that DirecTV has offered starting with the first round, a free four-screen delivery that includes the live ESPN coverage, a featured hole (the first and 18th), the 17th “road hole,” and a channel with the international feed.

== Hurry, before ESPN takes it off YouTube:

== ESPN Digital Media reports that 4.9 billion minutes were spent on World Cup content across multiple platforms during the recent month-long event in South Africa — that’s ESPN.com, ESPN3.com video streaming, ESPN Mobile Web, ESPN Mobile Apps and ESPN Mobile TV. They report an average of more than 110,000 fans per minute used ESPN Digital Media to consume World Cup content during the 31 days. ESPN3.com had 7.4 million unique users. All 54 matches were streamed, with the Spain-Germany semifinal the largest views (355,000).

== AND FINALLY:

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== AdWeek.com (linked here), of all websites, has been reporting on how video game players are complaining about too much advertising on EA Sports’ new “Madden NFL 11,” that will come out next month.

A controversy “has erupted in the blogosphere over how much in-game advertising” included, said the story.

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There’s a new player feature, for example, called “Swagger,” described as “a unique new rating sponsored by Old Spice to quantify a player’s personality … reflected through in-game celebrations.”

It means it will weigh a player’s tendency to show off in the end zone after a touchdown.

The NFL is “all about sponsorship and co-branding.” The league’s games “seem to have a commercial interruption every three minutes and sponsors sponsoring sponsors,” the story continues. “The “irony here is that the encroachment of a supposedly more subtle form of advertising, branded content, made bloggers so furious that many claimed they would rather watch a plain, old-school interruptive TV commercial in the middle of the Madden NFL game.”

About a month ago, on the EA Sports blogs, a screen shot of “Madden NFL 11″‘s innovations was inadvertently leaked — new QB rankings, a new kicking engine, new commentary — and this “Swagger” element.

Old Spice is “the official deodorant and body wash” of the NFL, and Swagger is the name of one of its product lines.

One blogger wrote: “What’s next — a hot wife rating?”

Sure, if it shows the player has extra swagger.

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  • LBprGuy

    I TURNED ON LAST NIGHT’S GAME AND HAD TO TURN IT OFF AFTER A COUPLE MINUTES. I REALLY WISH THAT COLLINS WOULD STOP YELLING EVERY TIME SOMEONE HITS A FAIR BALL. IT’S AS IF HE IS TRYING TO STARTLE THE VIEWERS (or, maybe, just startle Steve Lyons) AWAKE.

    AND YES, HEARING COLLINS AND LYONS ANNOUNCE IS JUST LIKE COMMENTERS WHO TYPE IN ALL CAPS – ANNOYING!