Sunday, July 4, 2010

Breakfast at Wimbledon - - Hold the Chatter

This was probably the worst reported Wimbledon in the 30 years I've watched it. Not only were the early matches split between three networks: ESPN-2, ESPN-U(niversity) (WHAAAAT?!?!?), and NBC, but approximately 20% of it was pointless blather, useless statistics, and, far worse, we weren't told of any matches except those deemed the most important in the eyes of the ESPN/NBC directors. Did you know that the likes of Martina Navaratilova, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova - - okay, so I'm slanted toward the women! - - among others were playing? Okay, so it's doubles. So what? Most club and USTA players are doubles players! Tell us something we can relate to, such as the fact that our favorite past champions or the eye-candy are still playing! Aren't either of those newsworthy?

I recorded 95% of the matches on DVD, just so I could fast-forward through the inane chatter, predictions, personal viewpoints, etc. I estimate that I "really" watched a total of about 8 hours for the two-week event!!!

I avoided the women's final as being moot (not to mention that I didn't have my ear plugs with me, and didn't want to see Serena take her racquet and stuff it down her opponent's - - or anyone else's - - throat), and hope that the Nadal-Berdych match is worth my having to wake at 9am on a Sunday morning!

However, I can't believe that within 30 minutes of the men's final, the commentators (hate McEnroe's holier-than-thou attitude; I want Dick Enberg and Bud Collins, damn it!) left two big questions unanswered. First, who was the girl who flipped the coin for the men's final? Aren't reporters supposed to tell us these things? And, second, McEnroe "treated" us to a blatant advertisement of one of the players' racquets, telling us it was strung at some kilogram measure, then going on to say that having it otherwise was "bad". His USA audience doesn't know a kilogram from a calorie! And are the "bad" strings at a lower tension or higher? I'm willing to bet most viewers don't know the answer (for the record: higher string tension (more control, less power) is worse for some people; however, that depends on the person's physical condition(ing), the racquet, etc). However, I can't fault McEnroe, alone, for this. Though he may be knowledgeable about the game (he's an egomaniacal, mouth-that-bored), the broadcast director should have whispered into the commentators' headsets, "Hey! You're not giving the viewers any real information!" But, that's what television has become, so, I suppose, I should be used to it by now, sad to say.

In the end, I did what I usually do with bad commentators:
Since they turned me off, I returned the favor by turning off the volume.

And, FWIW, the only worthwhile parts about this Wimbledon, IMnsHO*? The Isner-Mahut marathon match, of which we were "treated" to only about an hour's worth on TV (sans clip repeats), and Berdych's ousting of the first and third seeds, Federer and Djokovich, respectively.

* (In My not so Humble Opinion)