An Ode to the MLB Condensed Games

Just a word or two on the Condensed Games that Major League Baseball uploads to Youtube every day. Turns out they’ve been around since 2011 or so, but I’ve only known about them since 2015. Anyway, they have become one of my favorite time fillers – for reasons I shall now explain:

  • They only show the pitches that result in a play in the field or an out in an inning. So thusly they move fast. And something is always happening. (Then again I’m a believer in the idea that something is always happening in a regular full-coverage 3 or 4 hour game also. Whatevs)
  • They use the sounds of the game: crowd noise, balls smacking against bats, gloves smacking closed, cleats crunching the dirt, and inaudible yurps from players and umpires and coaches. But they do not use the play-by-play, obviously, because it would sound very weird and annoying to hear half-snippets of a Gary Cohen narration (as lovely as it is) being chopped up every 2 and half seconds. I assume they use the audio track from the field, and simply mute the announcing track…but how does the crowd noise always stay consistent? They are cutting to the next play every 2 seconds, which means they have eliminated minutes of time, yet the crowd doesn’t skip a beat. Maybe someone is literally sitting there putting an audio fade from one cut to the next as they edit together the thing in an MLB broom closet somewhere. Come to think of it that doesn’t sound like too terrible a job.
  • It is very democratic. Because they use only the sounds from the field, there are no loud or special calls for homeruns or big strikeouts. The routine fly ball is given the same respect as the three-run homer. The only difference is the crowd noise, which increases when something big happens. It creates an odd serenity to the experience, akin to being at the game itself. This is, I think, what I like about it the most.

***

Mets just took two games from the Phillies, and both seemed like they were played in a strangely dark and empty wind tunnel. Watching the Facebook feed on Wednesday night I could see light faintly reflected off the sides of this metaphoric wind tunnel, every now and then illuminating the players with a yellowish glow. April baseball in the Northeast is fun.

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