Saturday, October 13, 2007

Television Multi-tasking: A Strange Immersion

For the first time in years, I watched most of a baseball game on television. This is more time spent in front of the great destroyer of Western civilization than I have spent in several years. This bizarre and surreal episode occurred only because the Colorado Rockies are in the playoffs and because I like baseball. But what a shock it was in several ways.

The special effects added to the game were even worse than when I last looked. Multiple images are superimposed onto the field--advertisements, sparks after a pitch, and a colored section put after first base when a base runner was leading off. (I suppose we cannot tell if it is a big, small, or medium lead without this. Thanks.) I did not even understand some of the symbols and additions (which are subtractions). Various data lines are posted at the bottom of the screen. Apparently, television must now multi-task along with everything else, sadly. These alien images appear and disappear quickly, often with sound effects. There is a cartoonish quality to much of it--that is, juvenile.

All this detracts from the game terribly. Baseball is deep enough and interesting enough without the technological diversions and "enhancements" (distortions). I doubt I will watch much more (unless they make it to the World Series. Then I might force myself.). It also gave me a headache. Moreover, I could not even understand many of the commercials: images and sounds to no discernible effect, over and over again. What I could understand was puerile, prurient, or pathetic--or all three.

So, who can give me tickets at Coors Field?


Anonymous said...

Being at the park has its disadvantages as well. The added "entertainment" elements between innings - heck, between pitches - are terribly annoying. Perhaps you and I and a host of others are pictured in the dictionary next to the word "purist."

Anonymous said...

The need for constant stimulation has invaded the ballpark itself. Images abound of anything you could never want to see (beer, scantily clad women, scantily clad women drinking beer). It seems as though the American mind has lost the ability to follow the sport without supplementation. Baseball is intended for the patient and analytical mind, not the media-induced attention deficit mind! (although I do enjoy ballpark peanuts...)

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Yes, the ballparks are deranged also. I experienced this to some degree at my last game over a decade ago. I'm sure it has only gotten worse.

Think of America's three great contributions to civilization. I believe the list is from Gerald Early.

1. The Constitution. Liberals want to deconstruct it.

2. Jazz. It makes up about 3% of the music market today, and that probably includes Kenny G.

3. Baseball. It is devalued by television effects, bloated salaries and bloated players (steriods).

evagrius said...

Well I suppose that George W. Bush is a liberal, considering the fine deconstruction of the Constitution he's already done.

You didn't mention football. GR is very gaga over football since there's so much religion in it, according to them.

Anonymous said...

"Baseball purists have decried the trend toward recorded music as another example of the sport abandoning its roots. But by that logic, ballparks never should have allowed organs in the first place. Although fans might assume the instruments have been a fixture since baseball's beginnings, that isn't the case."

"Ballpark entertainment has taken a number of twists over the decades, from tightrope walkers and exploding scoreboards to giant chickens and outfield geysers. In the 1800s, brass bands strolled through the stands, says Tim Wiles, director of research at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y."

Hmmm...seems to contradict the theory expoused here about in-game entertainment (Dare I even mention Bill Veeck's Disco Demolition Night?). Not to mention the fact advertising was always present at ballparks. Remember, the first baseball cards were sold in tobacco products. Baseball has never been "pure" given its history of segregation, scandal, and unsavory characters.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I never said baseball was pure. I said the technological diversions take away from the game. I am not opposing organs or other things-- like peanuts or hot dogs!

I wonder how many people actually read and think about what I say here.

Anonymous said...

I should have specified my posting was directed more at Sarah and Jasons' comments - my bad.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many bloggers/posters can actually see a comment in light of its chronological context.

The Daily Fuel said...

Greetings Dr. Groothuis.

I know the topic of this post is baseball, but I have very little to add to the topic, and one of your replies opened the door to comments on jazz and the constitution.

On jazz: I agree. One of the great American contributions to the history of the world.

On the Constitution:
What makes Americans so convinced that it is such a perfect document, beyond dispute, and beyond repair or the need to amend?
And what makes anti-liberals (it is a bigger tent than just Conservatives) so adamant that it is liberals who want to deconstruct the Constitution?
Last I checked, it is Republicans who proposed a marriage amendment to the Constitution. Isn't the Constitution perfect enough? And isn't it a Republican administration who all but voided the right of Habeas Corpus, which incidentally was introduced to mankind by the Magna Charta, another pretty impressive creation, some 500 years before the U.S. Constitution was penned? And speaking about Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution (Habeas Corpus), what about the fact that it allows the importation of persons (slaves) and establishes the right to tax their acquisition? And isn't it a Republican president (the sitting one) who has institutionalized the use of signing statements to subvert the accepted interpretation of the Constitution on matters such as due process (5th and 14th Amendments), trial by jury (6th Amendment), cruel and unusual punishment (8th Amendment)?

So, isn't your statement that liberals want to deconstruct the constitution a little disingenous?

Apologies for the detour. Anyway, back to baseball...