I'm not going to go so far as to say that all sports shows are the same, because they aren't, but they do tend to have a lot of things in common. One thing that all of them do whenever they're talking about a player or a team is roll highlight clips of the player or team in question. Sometimes they will roll bad highlight clips if the player or team is in the news for a negative reason, but the highlights are usually good, and serve to add to the broadcast. Viewers don't just want to look at the talking heads the whole time, after all.
As an example, Clayton Kershaw just won the NL Cy Young earlier today. They talked about the Cy Young on Sportscenter, and they even went and got Kershaw on the phone. While anchor Karl Ravech was talking to Kershaw, they ran the following highlights:
Appropriate. Those are four clips of Clayton Kershaw striking a batter out. Clayton Kershaw struck a lot of batters out this past season, and his strikeouts were a major reason why he won the Cy Young. ESPN selected proper footage.
Kershaw's Cy Young wasn't the only baseball story of the day, though. The Chicago Cubs also announced that they've hired Brewers batting coach Dale Sveum to serve as their new manager. Sveum will be formally introduced at a Wrigley Field press conference Friday morning, and this announcement concludes what had been a fairly long search.
The Cubs are an important organization, so this was big news, so, just like with Kershaw, they talked about the hiring on Sportscenter. And, just like with Kershaw, while the ESPN personalities were talking about Sveum, they rolled a brief Dale Sveum highlight package. What did we get to see? The following four clips:
Here we see batting coach Dale Sveum making conversation in the dugout. It could just be regular chit-chat, but the player to whom he's talking wears an expression of awe. Dale Sveum makes fantastic conversation.
Here we see batting coach Dale Sveum lift his head and chew on something. He also spits. A man in the background reaches for something and walks away.
Here we see batting coach Dale Sveum chew on something. He also spits. A small object sails through the air behind him - it looks like a cup.
Here we see batting coach Dale Sveum chew on something while he stands up at the rail. The man next to him looks like the man from the first clip. It looks like this clip comes from right before the first clip. In this clip, Sveum chews, and the man beside him stares off into space.
That's your 2011 Dale Sveum highlight package. When I started writing this, my intent was to go in a completely different direction. I was hoping I could exaggerate and pretend like these clips were actual Sveum highlights. But the clips are devoid of material. They are clips of Dale Sveum not really doing anything.
And these clips were specifically selected for the broadcast. These four clips were specifically put together and prepared for airing. If ESPN didn't care at all and just wanted some images of Dale Sveum's face, they could've grabbed four clips from the same game. But they didn't. They went to the trouble of spreading things out a little bit. Something about these clips caught the video editor's eye.
I don't know what the point is of this. Maybe I'm just wasting your time. I don't know what clips you're supposed to show when you're talking about a coach - especially a batting coach. Batting coaches never do anything exciting. They don't even go out and argue and get themselves ejected, like managers. But I realized last night while watching a different segment about Sveum that the video footage showed him not doing anything, and that's weird. Now I can't not notice it. I watched the video embedded in this article about Kirk Gibson and Joe Maddon winning the Manager of the Year awards, and it's the same thing. It's footage of Kirk Gibson and Joe Maddon clapping or chewing or standing around.
The next time you're watching a sports show, and they start talking about a coach, pay attention to the video they roll. That video was specifically selected, presumably with some care, and it is very unexciting.