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Readers vent on Ravens-Packers telecast

The Baltimore Sun

It's Week Two of our new feature giving Ravens fans and readers of Z on TV a forum to talk about the weekly telecast and my Sunday-night (online)/Monday-morning (print) reviews of TV coverage.

Here are some of the comments written in response to the Fox Sports telecast Sunday, featuring Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Tony Siragusa (sideline) -- and my review of it.

You can read my review here.

Howard in Easton writes:

David--I really enjoy your critiques of TV coverage of Ravens games. It compels me to be more judgmental of the broadcast and production team than I might otherwise be.

One minor comment: in your ninth paragraph, would the correct grammatical usage be "with an open mike that allowed him to add commentary and REPORT (not reporting) whenever he wanted?"

Z responds: Sure, Howard, if we're going to get all grammar-y here... No, seriously, I think it is a good point. But we will see what others say.

Next up, comes this thoughtful piece that arrived unsigned:

Mr. Zurawik, Each week I read you reviews off the TV broadcast and see that you wish for better coverage.  This week you got your sideline reporter. 

You often rail against reporting momentum changes.  But never do I see any comment about the biggest thing that affects the momentum of the game -- the excessive breaks for ads.

 As a paying fan who sits in the stands each week, I resent the interminable interruptions to the flow of the game, all in the name of big bucks for the NFL.  This week the game lasted approximately 200 minutes.  Given twelve minutes for halftime and playing time of sixty minutes, this represents down time of nearly one and one-half hours of down time. 

Surely the NFL could find a way to reduce this excessiveness... But then you are a part of the  TV media, so what hope is there for anyone to write about this.  I can hope.  But I can't express my views to anyone in power in the NFL.  They conveniently make it difficult for the average fan to do this.

Z responds: I don't think I "rail," do I? Really, "rail," not me -- not even-keeled Z. Good points, though, about the way the power of TV alters and diminishes the stadium event. This weekly column exists to give fans and viewers a chance to "express" their "views." I am glad you took me up on it.

Here's another unsigned email:

How can you continue to praise Fox when they cannot put the score up in numbers that anyone can read?  Even their downs are not clear on the playing field.  Why can't they make the scores larger?  They do this on all their coverage including baseball games.

Z responds: Good point. I was squinting and standing two inches in front of the screen at points Sunday. I don't know why their graphics are so small and hard to read. I'll ask Fox this week and get back online with an answer at Z on TV.

Michael posted this one on my blog:

Too bad the Fox pre-game show doesn't measure up to their in-game work. The on-air talent isn't bad, but the direction and format are a mess.

Z responds: Michael, not sure if you mean "pre-game direction and format are a mess" or the "in-game direction and format" are? I don't like the Fox pre-game show either. But I would disagree with you about game telecast.

This one from Lou might be my favorite:

Headline:  Z hates CBS & Dan Dierdorf.

Story:  Z hates CBS & Dan Dierdorf so much that even when they DON'T do a Ravens game he rips them.

Analysis:  Predictable, personal and unprofessional drivel written by an avowed Ravens "fan" who loses all credibility as a journalist as he takes up space grinding a personal axe.

Question: Why do I waste my time reading this stuff? 

Answer: I'm a lost soul, like Z himself.

Z responds: Lost souls is definitely my demographic, Lou. You might want to try reading me with a Tom Waits song playing in the background. I am told it enhances the sense of existential emptiness. Start with "Tom Traubert's Blues."

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