The 2014 Major League Baseball postseason isn't even five games old for the St. Louis Cardinals and Harold Reynolds has already spewed enough words to make any fan sick and tired of him. Reynolds never met a silence he liked, so he blabs incessantly, generally bringing no insight to the game being played. If you, like me, find Reynolds making October less enjoyable, you have a few options:
1. Hit the mute button.
This is an option on any broadcast, of course, but it has one major problem: the loss of crowd noise. An integral part of watching a live sporting event is taking in the sounds of the stadium. Thus, hitting the mute button during a FOX postseason MLB broadcast is the atom bomb of solutions because it not only silences Reynolds but also the crowd, the crack of the bat, the whoosh of a slide, and the pop of a ball hitting a mitt.
2. Use DVR to sync the radio broadcast with the television broadcast and mute the T.V.
A DVR is a handy device. It allows you to delay the live postseason MLB broadcast for a second or two or three so that the television image syncs with the radio broadcast delay. Then you can simply hit the mute button and listen to Mike Shannon and John Rooney call the contest with the game noises provided via the radio broadcast. This is a wonderful way to improve both the radio and T.V. broadcasts (what with Shannon's over-usage of pronouns and all).
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With Madison Bumgarner on the hill, sluggers Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk will be integral to the Cardinals offense in NLCS Game 1.
3. Unplug the middle speak of your surround sound.
Not everyone has surround sound. (I don't.) But if you do, silencing Reynolds while maintaining the stadium and game sounds is as easy as unplugging a chord. If you have a 5.1 surround sound system, you can simply unplug the middle speaker—which projects the broadcasters' voices only—and you won't have to listen to them during the game. The other speakers will provide the in-game noises.
4. Subscribe to MLB.tv.
MLB.tv is a wonderful thing, even if it relegates me to watching a game on my laptop's 15-inch screen instead of my larger television screen. One of my favorite features of MLB.tv is that it allows you to listen to a radio audio feed while watching the television broadcast feed. So you can see the St. Louis Cardinals and hear Shannon and Rooney instead of Al Hrabsoky or Ricky Horton (unless one of them is filling in for Shannon, which in always disappointing). During the NLDS, you could, in theory, listen to Vin Scully for three innings, then Rooney and Shannon for three innings, and finish up with three more innings of Scully while watching the game. Quite wonderful.
I haven't tried this option during the postseason. There was some indication on MLB.com that, if you were a verified cable or satellite dish subscriber, you could watch the postseason games on MLB.tv. I haven't seen much commentary on this arrangement from VEB community members in the comments, but I'd love to know if/how MLB.tv has worked for folks during October this year. So please share in the comments.
5. Watch the Fox Sports 1 sabermetrics simulcast of NLCS Game 1.
FOX is doing something pretty neat. I'm interested to see how it goes. Fox Sports 1 will carry an alternative broadcast featuring contributors to Rob Neyer's Just A Bit Outside (JABO) blog. Kevin Burkhart will host the broadcast and be joined by Neyer, Gabe Kapler (who is quickly become one of my favorite baseball analysts), CJ Nitkowski, and Bud Black. Neyer describes what the broadcast will be as follows:
During the game, our panel will provide insight from every level of baseball, as well as real-time demos, extended replays, and breakdowns of storylines from Game 1. Perched atop a bedrock of data supplied by our various partners, we’ll analyze batter/pitcher match-ups, umpiring tendencies, defensive shifts, controversial calls, and the debatable managerial moves that seem to be the talk of nearly every game in October.
I'm rather intrigued to see how this goes and if FOX will offer this option during the World Series. Here's hoping it's good enough that FOX makes it a regular thing.
A call for VEB community members' help:
I'm going to miss the first three innings or so of tonight's game. This bums me out because (1) I'm going to miss the first three innings or so of the game, and (2) I won't be able to watch the entire Fox Sports 1 saber-cast, which I'd like to review. So I'm asking for the VEB community's help. If you watch the saber-cast, please write a review (even if it's just a paragraph) in the FanPost section. If we get enough reviews, I'll compile them and put them together in a bigger post. I think a VEB community-sourced review of the broadcast could turn out pretty neat so I hope you'll consider helping.