In the past week, the U23 European Baseball Championship was played in Verona, Italy. This is a short evaluation of how I experienced the tournament from home.
This evaluation is only about the fan experience for those who stayed home. I cannot tell anything about how the tournament was organized for the players (hotels, transport, locker rooms, etc) or how the fans in Verona experienced it. This is solely about the experience regarding the play-by-play and the streaming.
First of all the streaming of the games. IF there was any streaming, there wasn’t a game where it functioned properly. The connection was very bad and the footage was stuttering. And no, it wasn’t my internet connection because many of the Dutch baseball community complained about this. Very annoying. In several cases, there wasn’t even live streaming. For example, round-robin game between Great Britain and Italy could not be followed through streaming. Of the three round-robin games of the Netherlands, two could not be watched because the streaming did not function.
Then the play-by-play. It is not a secret that the new system of the WBSC still has some hiccups. For example, when you score a base hit but three plays later you discover that that base hit is supposed to be an error, it cannot be changed anymore. The only way to solve this is to call a kind of service desk in order to have the score adapted. As a result, the updating of the play-by-play is delayed. I must admit that most of the time, the play-by-play was ahead of the footage but there were several cases in which it was slow and lagged behind events. I cannot tell if this was because of the system or because of the scorers screwing up. But it was annoying for sure.
Overall, the fan experience was very disappointing, mainly because of the bad performance of the streaming. IMHO that is something we can blame the organization for. Regarding the play-by-play, the slow performance at times may be caused by the complexity of the system. It may take a while before every scorer in Europe is used to it.
I really hope that both the streaming and the play-by-play will work better with the upcoming European Championship in the Piemonte region. The WBSC prides itself on making the game of baseball popular. If the streaming during a big tournament is not working properly, it doesn’t make the game more popular at all. Perhaps something to think about for Riccardo Fraccari and his cronies.