I have an item of constructive criticism for our nation’s sports broadcast directors, or like “production truck” guys or whatever, and it is: Never fucking do this, you motherfuckers!
That’s Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers, unleashing what certainly seems as though it was a spectacular laser of a throw from right field, in the bottom of the 10th inning, to gun down a tagging-up Chas McCormick at home plate and prevent what would have been a game-winning run. I am forced to assume it was a spectacular laser of a throw, because I saw the last 0.0000000000001 microseconds of it, when it arrived at the exact perfect spot to beat McCormick. Unfortunately, the whole time that literally the only dramatic, exciting, uncertain part of the play—Gallo rearing back and throwing that sucker, and the ball rocketing through the air, and the question of whether it would be a hard and accurate throw or a shitty wild one—was happening, the stupid fucking broadcast was showing a shot of literally the absolute least dramatic, exciting, uncertain part of the play, which is a guy running in a straight fucking line to exactly the place I already knew he was going to go.
Why do this? Was there some uncertainty about which direction McCormick would go? Whether he’d run there or skip or do a series of forward rolls or pull out a sword and yell “Charge!” and attempt to skewer the catcher with it? The only interesting thing that can happen with the runner, once he tags up, is if he somehow stumbles and falls on his face. How often does that happen? Is there any plausible reason to expect that it might, and therefore that you had better be sure to show him running, in a straight fucking line to the least surprising destination imaginable, instead of showing the only interesting thing happening on the field?
Literally every drop of juice that a tag-up type of situation has comes from the question of how good the throw will be. If it is a bad throw, then the guy tagging and scoring is an absolutely rote, boring event. If it is a good throw, then the throw is the cool athletic feat worth seeing in real time! Either way, the drama, the information, the event, the thing to watch, is the throw. Show the fucking throw! If the runner happens to stumble and fall or spontaneously combust or gradually get larger as he runs toward the plate so that by the time he gets there he is Godzilla and he simply squashes the catcher beneath one giant scaly foot, we can see that shit on the replay. There is nothing special about Chas McCormick running down the third-base line. There is something special about Joey Gallo rearing back and gunning his sorry ass down with a fucking cannon blast from right field.
Conservatively, I would estimate that baseball broadcasts make this infuriating choice roughly 900,000 percent of the time, and I always, always, always hate it. Think of the most exciting tag-and-run you have ever heard of. Have you ever even heard of one? No! That is because a guy standing still for a second, and then running in a straight line, is not exciting. It is dull. I know what a guy running in a straight line looks like. It always looks the same. Oh wow, look at him pumpin’ those arms, buddy! He sure is running a lot. Whereas an outfielder gathering the ball on the move and unloading a fucking howitzer on a line to the catcher is a spectacular, breathtaking athletic play; off the top of my head, I can think of only maybe a couple of more thrilling things that can happen during live baseball action that do not involve large alien craft appearing in the sky above the stadium. I have spent hours of my life watching videos of great old outfield assists on YouTube, even though most of the videos include infuriating cuts to some pathetic fucking doofus chugging around the base path toward his doom. I have never so much as heard of anybody seeking video of some idiot tagging up and advancing a base. That’s the most deranged shit I can think of. Show me someone who would rather see video of friggin’ Alberto Castillo rounding third than an uninterrupted shot of Vladimir Guerrero unleashing this mind-destroying throw …
… and I will show you someone who belongs in a fucking prison at the bottom of the ocean.
Here we are, hours and hours later, and you still cannot find a video of Joey Gallo’s actual throw anywhere. You can find a great, beautiful Getty action photo of McCormick’s hopeless slide like the one above, but you can’t find a photo of Gallo firing off the heroic bazooka shot that sent his efforts to the bottom of the toilet. But you can watch three seconds of Chas goddamn McCormick running in a straight line; no matter how many times I rewatch the video, that’s all it ever shows. I’m so mad! Never do this! Show me the fucking throw!