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YES to broadcast some Yankees games in 3D. Bleech.

May 5, 2010, 12:11 PM EDT

3D.jpgThis press release is . . . interesting:

YES Network, FSN Northwest and DIRECTV will present the first-ever Major League Baseball telecasts in 3D on Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11 when the New York Yankees take on the Seattle Mariners.  DIRECTV and Panasonic will be presenting sponsors of the two 3D telecasts.

The historic 3D broadcasts from Safeco Field in Seattle, will be made available to DIRECTV HD customers, who have 3D TV sets and live within the YES “home team footprint,” which includes all of New York State and Connecticut, north and central New Jersey, and northeast Pennsylvania.

As Roger Ebert recently wrote, “3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension.”  3D — be it in movies, sporting events or what have you — adds basically nothing to the experience. When you watch a ballgame (or a movie or anything else) on a screen, your brain automatically accounts for the two dimensionality of the picture and adjusts. Really: have you ever watched a game on TV in which you couldn’t follow the action because it wasn’t in 3D?  Of course not. Technically speaking the picture may be in 2D but, thanks to your brain, you really are experiencing it in three dimensions.

So why bother?  The sponsorship of this little experience tells you all you need to know: Panasonic sells 3D televisions. They’d like you to buy more of them, thank you. If they can do so by providing a product that absolutely no one is screaming out for, more power to them, but I personally hope this falls flat.

Now, if they want to add gimmicky and antiquated “technology” to baseball broadcasts, they can add smell-o-vision and give me the aromas of the ballpark.  I’d pay for that. 3D, though? No thanks.

  1. TMW - May 5, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    This doesn’t enhance the experience at all. Instead of this waste of time I wish YES, the cable networks/companies would figure out the technology to allow the viewer options to change camera views. It’s ok for when the ball is hit in play to have one uniform set of camerawork, but between pitches I want to see defensive alignments and managers/players pacing in the dugouts. During pitches I might want to see the hitter’s view every once in a while.

  2. Andy L - May 5, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    I can see someone wanting to see a game in 3D a few times just for the novelty…but to actually buy a 3D television and do it all the time? My head hurts just thinking about it. Flashbacks to the long time spent in the theater watching 3D Avatar.

  3. Carstensm - May 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    I definitely wouldn’t pay for it, but I still want to see what it’s like!

  4. Jim Abbott's Right-Hand Man - May 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    I could see 3-D sporting broadcasts being worth watching. But they’d likely have to introduce lots more new camera angles to play up the effect. The best use of 3-D is when you’ve got shots that make the viewer feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. But since the vast majority of the default camera shots used in baseball are long-distance shots captured by cameras set up a hundred yards away from where everything’s happening, it takes away any benefit of 3-D. If you could equip a catcher’s mask with a small camera to get shots right up in the middle of the action (fastballs whizzing at you, bats flying past your face), that’s one thing — but, a camera that’s dinky enough to strap to a catcher’s mask probably isn’t going to give you the kind of HD quality picture the people at Panasonic need to sell people on home versions of 3-D TV.

  5. Jonny5 - May 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    3D can give you headaches, and make your eyes hurt. I had this problem watching Avatar in 3D. Yes it was awesome, but then again it wasn’t a ball game either, I really don’t see the point in a ballgame as there aren’t any good angles of balls coming your way. I don’t know, I still think the old fashiond type of 3D is the best way since it doesn’t hurt your eyes. You drink 3 beers, then drink 3 more, that’ll give you the same effect without having your eyes hurt, although the headache remains, It usually won’t kick in until the next day. So the old fashioned way is much better imo, sure costs less than that 3D TV as well.

  6. YankeesfanLen - May 5, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    First off, do not use the words “Yankees” and “bleech” in the same headline. Ever.
    Secondly, I will not bother with Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang tv. The border collies go spastic enough when a ball gets hit, I don’t want to have to re-decorate if they think they’re gonna catch it behind the china cabinet.
    Captcha: showbiz conveyor- yeah, even mt 2-D tv does that

  7. dlf - May 5, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    I’m currently in India. The championship match of the IPL cricket league — go Chennai! — was televised in 3D. Two tidbits: 1. The 3D effect was barely noticeable unless you were directly in front of the screen and 2. the effect was most apparent looking at players who stood out from the background and not the moving ball that rarely was moving directly at the camera and thus still had a mostly 2D feel.
    captcha: sales hissing

  8. Utley's hair - May 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    So it’ll be Mariners games? I wonder what a Milton Bradley tantrum looks like in 3D.
    Hey Flyers, I don’t know if it’s some kind of sign, but my captcha was Darwin Bruins

  9. APBA Guy - May 5, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Much as I love Roger Ebert, I don’t always agree with him, and Avatar is a good example of 3-D enhancing a presentation. As James Cameron points out, the movie was dropping revenue at a rate of about 10% per week until their time ran out in 3-D theatres. Then revenue dropped 47%. That’s a lot of folks watching the 3-D version.
    How does that apply to baseball? It probably doesn’t given that most camera angles are wide and shot from a long distance. But some close up shots of a guy sliding into a tag might be pretty cool.
    The EPL approach has been to work with Sky Sports to put 3-D in pubs across the UK. ESPN should do that, put 3-D in sports bars. Even if it’s football or basketball that drives the adoption of 3-D television, watching in a bar or pub builds positive reinforcement of the viewing experience for the potential home buyer.

  10. Osmodious - May 5, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    As if the quality of baseball broadcasts hasn’t declined enough already, now they are going to push it into 3D? Ugh. The Yankees are DESPERATE for me to not watch them…between the PC Richards whistle on strikeouts, to the bush-league air-raid siren on homeruns, to the naming of their super-slow-motion ‘Yes-mo’ (which they repeat at least 3 times every time they use it)…it’s getting to be too much.
    First of all, the Yankees don’t have to resort to this crap to get people to watch…they are the YANKEES, fer cryin’ out loud! Sirens and loud music and such in the stadium is what you do when you have a minor league team and 2000 people in the stands talking about bridge or something to get them excited…not when you have actual ACTION going on.
    Second, the Yankees don’t have to resort to this crap to get people to watch…hell, we even tune-in to channel NINE to catch Yankee games, and they are such a bad network that they can’t even figure out how to get the announcers volume louder than the fans…it’s pathetic, but I tune in because I want to see the YANKEES.
    Third, as stated in the Roger Ebert article linked in this article, 3D is crap. It works for very select types of movies, not for everything. Furthermore, it requires new methods of photography…meaning different angles, lighting and such…if you just slap cheesy 3D effects on any old video, it looks…cheesy. Not only that, it changes the field of view, decreases focus and in general alters the viewing experience.
    Fourth, some people just can’t watch 3D…it gives them headaches or nausea. I’m one of those people. Whether it is the decreased field of view, the inability to focus when they are showing two different fields of depth (which is automatic in 2D), or just the absurdly low refresh rate (how quickly the picture is drawn on the screen…some people with ‘fast eyes’ can discern refresh and it causes discomfort), it’s just not pleasant.
    Finally…baseball is a BIG game, just what the hell can they possibly show in 3D that deserves to be shown that way? Are they going to put a camera in the bat so we can see the ball flying ‘at us’? I don’t get it. 3D film is designed to focus on SINGLE OBJECTS, not provide a wide angle view. Baseball is a wide-angle game. In spite of Fox’s best efforts to ruin direction in baseball telecasts (ever notice that they zoom in on the ball during a homerun? How does that make a homerun impressive? It does NOT…it’s impressive because they hit the ball 400+ feet, showing me a spinning baseball in closeup gives me NO sense of the scale, so it is not impressive anymore), some channels still occasionally get it right. In order for the 3D ‘experience’ to be anything other than physically sickening, they will have to tighten up the camera angles even MORE…which is going to do…what, exactly? A three-foot high, HD Randy Johnson head wasn’t terrifying enough, now they want it to pop out of the TV at you?
    Baseball is a big game, it requires a wide view so you can understand the CONTEXT of what is happening. Showing a closeup of a ball tells you nothing about the action. Showing a closeup of a player on replay can be interesting, but it should never be the only angle…we need to see the whole play in order to see it unfold and understand why it was a good (or bad) play..
    This is a gimmick, period. And it’s a stupid one at that.

  11. lessick - May 5, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    To APBA guy: read Roger Ebert’s entire column (linked in story)–he explains why Cameron’s presentation is worthy of 3-D, unlike other movies that added 3-D after the fact.

    To Craig: Thanks for perhaps unintentionally paying tribute to John Waters, who presented the 1980 film, “Polyester,” in spectacular Odorama. Patrons were given scratch and sniff cards and prompted to scratch a particular number when it flashed on the movie screen. Of course, viewers had to be careful. Waters took “number two” a bit too literally!

  12. scatterbrian - May 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Kids are already tired of 3D movies.

  13. Tony R - May 6, 2010 at 1:55 AM

    You know why 3d is doing so well. Because for a lot of people it actually does make the movie better. Just because it doesn’t do that for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t do that for the next person. Ebert I think knows this, but doesn’t care. He doesn’t like it and therefore everyone else can’t either. This is something a lot of people are really going to get their toes stepped on big time by. Actually I think that has already happened. For those who 3d does nothing for really had this whole thing sneak up on them from no where. So convinced that “well 3d does not interest me so I’m sure it doesn’t interest anyone else.” Well if you say so, but I am just going to write what no one else seems to have the guts to face. Getting on line and listing all the reasons why everyone should not like 3d is not going to stop those that like it from liking it. They will still go out and buy those 3d tickets.
    Oh, and by the way, Ebert already wrote that article a year and a half ago (D minus for 3d) so I don’t see why republishing those same point will do any good this time around either.

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