Ranking Baseball’s Center-Field Camera Shots (2014 Update)

Three 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.

What follows is the product of an almost identical exercise, except updated to account for more recently adopted center-field cameras (or, in the case of Miami, more recently constructed ballparks).

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.
  • Whim
    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: Bottom Five, Top Ten, and The Rest. In every case, I’ve used images featuring only right-handed pitchers — so that the orientation of that pitcher’s body might least distort the perception of the camera angle. Furthermore, I’ve attempted to identify feeds from regional broadcasts — as opposed to national broadcasts, which might utilize a different feed altogether.

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.

Bottom Five
30. Colorado Rockies

Colorado

29. Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee

28. Seattle Mariners

Seattle

27. Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati

26. Oakland Athletics

Oakland

*****

Top Ten
10. Chicago White Sox

Chicago AL

9. Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto

8. Minnesota Twins

Minnesota

7. Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore

6. Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay

5. St Louis Cardinals

St. Louis

4. Boston Red Sox

Boston

3. Miami Marlins

Miami

2. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta

1. Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh

*****

The Rest (Click to Embiggen)
Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona

Chicago Cubs

Chicago NL

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland

Detroit Tigers

Detroit

Houston Astros

Houston

Kansas City Royals

Kansas City

Los Angeles Angels

LA AL

Los Angeles Dodgers

LA NL

New York Mets

New York NL

New York Yankees

New York AL

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia

San Diego Padres

San Diego

San Francisco Giants

San Francisco

Texas Rangers

Texas

Washington Nationals

Washington

*****

Notes and Observations

  • In the original edition of this same thing from three years ago, Pittsburgh’s camera angle was ranked last among all 30 clubs. At the beginning of the 2012 season, however, the Pirates introduced the angle one sees above — and which is probably the best in all the majors now.
  • Three years ago — and certainly for at least some of the time in between — Minnesota featured a straight-on camera angle that was also alarmingly high. The angle one sees above here was utilized frequently for replays, however. The author can’t confirm that the Twins now employ the more reasonable angle depicted here during the entirety of their current broadcasts.
  • The reader might note that Baltimore was ranked ahead of Boston on this same thing from three years ago and now ranks behind them — despite neither club having perceptibly altered their camera angle. I have no strong argument for the alteration except that (a) Boston’s camera appears to be more appealing now and also (b) a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of you-know-whats.
  • On windy days, Kansas City will sometimes employ an even more dramatically off-center camera angle, so that the spray from their Storied Fountains doesn’t interfere with the broadcast.
  • It’s not infrequently the case that visiting clubs will utilize a different center-field camera than the home club. This is certainly the case with Atlanta, for example: visiting clubs will sometimes (always?) use the off-center camera angle also located in center field.





Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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The Stranger
8 years ago

Is it wrong that I take pride in the fact that my team (and therefore the broadcast I watch most) is highly-rated?

Also, does anybody else get frustrated by broadcasts that don’t include a pitch location graphic? I realize that debating whether a pitch really caught the outside corner is a traditional way for broadcast teams to kill time between pitches, but that little rectangle is super-helpful.

Reddickulous
8 years ago
Reply to  The Stranger

I don’t like the rectangle, and I’m glad it is not a fixture of the Oakland A’s broadcast.

It is interesting to watch on away-broadcasts sometimes, I’ll agree, but in general I find that I can’t help buy move my eyes that way, meaning I’m not watching other things that are going on.

I like to be able to see a pitch enter the zone and make up my own mind about if it’s a ball or strike, and not reflexively look to the side, and then say “yup, I’m right,” or “the rectangle is broken!”

The fact that many good looking borderline stike calls show fully outside the rectangle on many broadcasts, makes me want them even less.