Four years ago, in these same electronic pages, the present author published a ranking of all 30 clubs’ center-field broadcast camera angles. The immediate purpose: to create a reference for anyone with access to MLB.TV, MLB Extra Innings, or some other manner of game video, so that he or she might be better equipped to choose the ideal feed. Last year, I provided an updated edition of that original post.
What follows is the product of an almost identical exercise — updated to account for whatever changes (if any) have occurred within the last calendar year.
In general, cameras have been assessed according to the ability with which they document the pitcher-batter encounter. More specifically, I’ve utilized three guiding criteria, as follow:
- Shot Angle
In which more central and lower is generally preferred.
- Shot Size
In which closer up and not longer is generally preferred.
In which the author’s own intuition has been utilized.
In what follows, I’ve embedded screencaps for all 30 of the league’s center-field cameras, broken down into three categories: Top Ten, Bottom Five, and The Rest. In every case, I’ve used images featuring only right-handed pitchers at the peak of their leg kick — so that the orientation of that pitcher’s body might least distort the perception of the camera angle. Furthermore, I’ve attempted to identify weekday feeds from the home club’s regional broadcast — as opposed to weekend and/or national broadcasts, which sometimes utilize a different feed or graphics. In that same spirit, I’ve also attempted to find representative moments that feature the relevant broadcasts typical score bug and strike-zone plot (if the latter exists).
The reader will note that straight-on shots constitute the most highly ranked of the center-field cameras. This makes sense, of course: straight-on shots portray lefties and righties in the same way and document pitch movement in a way that off-set cameras can’t. The reader will also note that a small collection of notes and observations appears at the very bottom of this post.
Finally, if the reader finds that I’ve erred in any of the screen captures here, don’t hesitate to make note of same below.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Miami Marlins
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Tampa Bay Rays
6. St. Louis Cardinals
7. Boston Red Sox
8. Baltimore Orioles
9. Toronto Blue Jays
10. Colorado Rockies
26. Detroit Tigers
27. Seattle Mariners
28. Los Angeles Angels
29. Milwaukee Brewers
30. Cincinnati Reds
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals (Regular)
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Mets
New York Yankees
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Notes and Observations
- As noted above, the most significant change between this and last year’s collection of camera angles belongs to Colorado. Last year, the club had arguably the worst of the leauge’s center-field cameras. Entering this year, the broadcast has adapted a nearly straight-on angle. It’s still probably higher than is ideal, but still probably ranks among the league’s top-third of available cameras.
- There’s a greater number of minor differences between this and last year’s collection of cameras than one might otherwise expect. Boston’s camera this year, for example, appears slightly crooked and gives on almost a sense of vertigo. Cincinnati actually features a wider angle than last year’s already less-than-ideal one. This is almost certainly the product of relying on a single moment from a single game as a representation of a club’s “one” camera angle. Still, it reveals that there’s more moment-to-moment or day-to-day variation than one might expect.
- Nearly related to that last point, but not entirely: the author has placed Miami’s camera ahead of Atlanta’s after featuring those two in the opposite order last year. In this case, I’ve noticed that the pitching rubber in the Miami shot is more centrally located relative to the plate than in Atlanta’s. This observation reveals not merely to what degree a preference for one camera or another can be subjective, but also how even one’s understanding of his or her own preferences can actually change.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.