Two things that jumped out at me while I was watching the very first thing that Fox Sports San Diego would ever broadcast under that name.
First: There was an amount of polish to the production that wasn't there during the 4SD days.
Second: They never got around to talking to Orlando Hudson.
The first thing is notable because I had sort of gotten used to 4SD. The new studio that came with Petco Park in 2004 was a great addition, but in the decade plus before that, I recall a lot of budget productions. Not that it was a bad thing necessarily. I think there was a nice down home feel to the whole proceeding. There wasn't the glitz or glamour that you see if you happen to be in another city and catch the commercials or the pre/post game show for say the White Sox or the Yankees. It was almost like it just got along on being and feeling very local.
The Fox Sports SD broadcast on the other hand. That just felt national.
And I know it gets down to some really basic "tricks". The graphics were much more solid. The bumpers had a little bit more shine. The cameras would go between the nice "high-def-though-not-broadcasting-high-def" look to a more "snazzy documentarian look". Like the cameras would purposely move in and out of focus with a very hipster handheld motion. Everybody looked a little cleaner. Like they had showered.
And the commercials between segments added to the national flavor. Apparently, as San Diegans, we are to root for the former San Diego Clippers, Chivas USA of the MLS, and the Anaheim Ducks along with our beloved Padres. I know many old timer San Diegans who can't bring themselves to root Lakers are Clippers fans, and the proximity to the Ducks and lack of Gulls recently has probably turned many a local into a Ducks fan as well. As for Chivas... If you're a soccer fan, I think that's just you being contrarian to everything the LA Galaxy represents.
I think we're also supposed to root USC and/or UCLA or something...
Which is to say that there no commercials for Corky's Pest Control. I saw no semi-poorly shot videos for Boot Barn. There was definitely no creepy talking faces on garage doors for Garage Doors Unlimited. Instead, it was mostly Fox Sports and Fox broadcasts being advertised, which yanked us out of the local budget advertising we had all grown accustomed to with 4SD. The downside to that? A steady amount of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. McCarver I don't mind so much, but Joe Buck. blech...
They also played a lot of Switchfoot. Like over and over. I guess we have to root Switchfoot now too.
What about the actual content of the broadcast?
I am pleased to let you know that the Padres 2012 Season Preview was just about as good a season preview as you're likely to see.
MLB's 30 Clubs in 30 Days? An Orlando Hudson demo reel for his eventual jump to the commentary desk.
ESPN? No season preview. Good farm system. Ugly uniforms.
That's how America sees the Padres. The team that wise cracking Orlando Hudson is on that has a good farm system, ugly uniforms and is not even worth mentioning in the same breath as any other baseball team (other than the Oakland A's).
How does Fox Sports SD see the Padres? The Padres are the team with Cam Maybin playing the part of the young stud. The team where Cashner/Street has the feel of the young buck and the wily veteran closing out games. We're the team with Yonder Alonso and Carlos Quentin (pre-knee surgery) demonstrating how they plan to attack the ball viciously. The Mat Latos deal is worth talking about extensively. Tim Stauffer and Cory Luebke are worth watching.
In short, the content is great.
The staff will grow on me I'm sure.
Mike Pomeranz did a solid in his interviews with players, staff and media, but I miss Johnny Midnight.
Leila Rahimi was super pro on the sidelines, but I miss Jenny Cavnar.
Mark Sweeney was bald headed as all get out of town, but I miss Bob Scanlan's hair.
In fact, that was one of the more notable things to me was seeing Pomeranz, Sweeney, Mudcat and Enberg all sitting in a row was how bald-headed the group was. Supercuts may not be using our current group in their local advertising.
The broadcast itself is essentially what you'd expect. It's tough to get a true gauge based on a Spring Training game. The games at Petco will have more cameras, more access to the sights and sounds that we're interested in seeing, but for now, color me impressed.
The station is set to launch on Monday the 19th for Cox and DirectTV. Once we all find it, let's watch and become enamored with how glossy and shiny everything is.