ESPN attempted to give MLB and NHL fans the best of both worlds on Sunday night. Instead, the network aggravated nearly its entire audience during a strange broadcast.
The end of Sunday Night Baseball conflicted with the start of Game 6 of the second round NHL playoff matchup between Vegas and Edmonton. So, rather than selecting one game to focus on, ESPN switched to a split-screen format.
Karl Ravech was left calling both screens, which was pretty bizarre. Although, we will give Ravech plenty of credit, because he handled it like a true professional.
Maybe ESPN could’ve gotten away with something like this had the Sunday Night Baseball game been a touch closer. But St. Louis led Boston 9-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning. We understand anything can happen in sports, but it was probably safe to switch off that broadcast.
What made Sunday’s broadcast even more agitating — at least for NHL fans — was that the Golden Knights scored a quick goal during the split-screen action. It was also an elimination game, giving it much more significance than a baseball game at Fenway Park in May.
Yes, ESPN wanted to give fans the best of both worlds. And, again, Ravech did an excellent job attempting to work both screens. But next time, maybe just pick one game and stick to it.
NHL, MLB fans rip ESPN over split-screen coverage
Fans tuned into ESPN on Sunday had plenty to say about the network’s coverage. They didn’t mince words, either. So strange for social media, right?
“Wow, nothing says we care about hockey like splitting the screen during a baseball game,” one fan wrote. Another added, “NHL should be extremely embarrassed that it has given ESPN the ability to force a lone playoff game on a Sunday to start at 10 eastern, and then not even give it full coverage. Huge fail, inexcusable.”
But, there were some positive responses, too. Most of those were directed at Ravech’s coverage during the split-screen move.
“I knew (Karl Ravech) was pretty good but man that’s impressive!” one Twitter user wrote. Another said, “Technically? Not great for the audience but the actual play by play CALL? Ravie was straight cash there. Solid. Not many people could just roll that smooth sport to sport live I’m telling you.”
So, at least there was something salvageable from the broadcast. We actually discovered that Ravech is a wizard behind the mic.