Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball curveball start could still lead to a home run

Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball curveball start could still lead to a home run

Apple knows it. He's read his Twitter posts, seen the articles and probably even knows the nasty things former Mets first baseman and Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez said about Friday Night Baseball's debut.

At least the evening had everything a baseball fan could want. In Game 1 (there are two a night for a total of 50 games this season), the Mets played the Washington Nationals and endured stadium lights not working, a ninth-inning rain delay and a bench punt near of the fight when Francisco Lindor was hit by Nationals pitcher Steve Cishek.

That last moment should have been (and mostly still was) the story of this game, but all people could talk about on social media was Apple TV+ and how it handled the game.

Apple announced the MLB partnership in March and, perhaps, it got off the ground with the first broadcast game between two hugely popular teams with, at least in the Mets' case, intensely devoted fan bases.

Fans, industry watchers, and other play-by-play pros trashed the Apple TV+ crew hired to cover the game: Melanie Newman (play-by-play), Chris Young (analyst), Hannah Keyser (analyst), and Brooke Fletcher ( journalist) . Hernandez joked during the upcoming Mets game broadcast covered by him and Gary Cohen that Mets fans have already had a horrible broadcast experience this season. Admittedly, this is the same mildly technophobic guy who, a week later, went on the air about how he almost fell victim to a phone phishing scam.

The comments complaining about how game by game they didn't seem to know how to emphasize the importance of good games and how they talked about some of them and sometimes non-game or baseball related topics.

The fact is, however, that it can all be part of the plan.

Mets player Francisco Lindor after being hit by a pitch in the first game of Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball

Mets player Francisco Lindor after being hit by a pitch during the first game of Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball (Image credit: Getty/Mitchell Layton)

Will Apple's change work?

Apple deliberately doesn't do things exactly the way they've done for decades of streaming games. It intentionally broadens the diversity and perspective of typical game advertisers. He deliberately put together teams that offer new demographic faces and new perspectives.

It may take some getting used to, but Apple, which seems to have bigger baseball plans than just this Friday night (although we're guessing here), not only wants the traditional baseball fan to enjoy these games, but also hopes to generate hearings. beyond endemic.

Maybe that's why, despite strong criticism, Apple sticks to these gaming gear. As it listens and learns from critical feedback, it'll make adjustments, but all the while, Apple will always try to strike a difficult balance between satisfying the old (some of which Apple TV had never tried) and accommodating the new. You know you can't afford to alienate existing fans, but as a tech company you can't help but innovate on America's favorite pastime (by the way, Apple Friday Night Baseball also broadcasts in Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Korea and Japan - all centers for baseball fandom).

The technological hurdles were real for those who grew up watching games on TV where all they had to do was press a single number on a remote to watch the game of the day. Apple TV and the original TV+ content platform were a new frontier for them, and Apple didn't spend time teaching baseball fans how to access the game.

At least these Friday night games are free for now (it's unclear when they end), and if you have an Apple ID, you can sign in to TV+ through Apple TV or a variety of other third-party platforms to watch. the games. And really, Mets fans had no choice because, aside from radio, there was nowhere else to watch this Nationals game (this broadcast blackout will continue for Apple TV + Friday's 50th baseball game).

racing technology at home

Criticism and tech frustration aside, there were some notable touches from Apple. Yes, the company sprinkled its proprietary SF Pro font throughout to give the proceedings a very Apple feel.

The company also used some high-end camera tricks, like using the Megalodon camera rig that NFL and CBS golf games use to great effect.

Megalodon, which is not a new camera but a set of technologies (a Sony a7R IV camera mounted on a DJI Ronin-S gimbal, a 6-inch field monitor and a backpack to carry external batteries and a 1080p wireless transmitter), creates a recognizable cinematic effect. The players, who usually walk on or off the field of play, are concentrated while the rest of the scenery blurs. It's a cinematic effect that instantly amplifies the drama. However, one might wonder why Apple doesn't use its own iPhone 13 Pro, which also shoots cinematic video.

Apple also uses a Phantom camera to record super-high-speed footage that can then slow down a slider to show what really happens when the pitcher throws, the ball drops, and a player passes.

Also, if you noticed that the game overall looked a bit sharper, it could be because Apple is streaming at 1080p 60fps. That's on top of what you'd get from a typical streaming or cable game. Unfortunately, no one offers these games in 4K yet.

Apple is still in its infancy as it tries to promote these games on Apple TV (the app), TV+ and even Apple News. He might draw more eyes that way, but in the end, he has to win over baseball fans. He didn't make it to the top spot in this race, but there are 50 more this season and potentially a long MLB association ahead of him to create a run.