SPAGHETTI WESTERN BASEBALL BROADCASTS. Spaghetti Westerns were known for their lavish use of close ups, often extreme close ups. Two gunfighters staring each other down. A series of tighter and tighter close ups. Sweat pouring down their faces. Baseball broadcasting has moved in that direction. I can understand TV directors trying to show how artistic they can be, but showing a baseball game is not suited to a lot of their efforts. ESPN, which is the most influential sports broadcaster, has gone much farther than other stations in sacrificing the game for camera movements. The traditional three or four camera placements will do for showing most plays in baseball. Rapid cutting—sometimes 5 or 6 different shots between pitches—makes it hard for me to orient myself. Close ups often fail to show what happens on a play—a dramatic shot of a pitcher’s shoulder as he releases the pitch does not show the play. Many of the close ups are closer than I get to anybody but members of my immediate family. And to show camera movement, the shot starts close and then moves in on the batter’s face. A director who cared about baseball would not cut short the time when the pitcher is preparing to pitch and the batter is readying himself to face it.

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