Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Talking Heads

Two or three years ago HPI TV up here in the north went to a rotating racing format with no anchors. On chat boards and at the track I often heard horseplayers opine that this was a good idea. I saw that point and it does make sense; horseplaying is a relatively solitary game, and talking heads (especially if they are not up to snuff) are not welcomed by the hard core.

I noticed this phenomenon as well from our US friends who have HRTV and TVG. If I had a nickel every time I read "be quiet and show the races" on chat boards I would be a very rich dude.

I did something a little different the past week or so: I signed up for HRTV, am paying cash for it, because I actually want to watch some commentating.

Being a hard-core player I am often so into my game, and the racing day, that I barely watch races. But when I am kicking back, working and wanting a break, I find myself wanting to listen and watch others watch the races. If I want no sound, and no commentating, I will log into the track feeds and away I go, which are now very prevalent. Before they were not (that is a whole other crazy racing story we have talked about here).

What say? Does anyone miss Greg Unger up here in the North? Does Gary Seibel or Jeff Siegal provide you with some entertainment? Or do we want the internet feed - no talking heads; just racing.


Anonymous said...

i agree that i can use online aves, but I still dont think much of the HPITV crew.... it seems they dont bet. I like some of the TVG guys from what I see.

Anonymous said...

They are all a bunch of clowns that give out chalk, chalk, chalk and more CHALK! Why do I need them to help me hit a 3-5 shot?

Anonymous said...

During the post parade, when the talking heads could be telling us something important about the horse or connections, we generally get a review of last night's meal at some restaurant, or an impromptu song that relates to the horse.

Distracting and useless.

The_Knight_Sky said...

I'm a regular simulcasting patron. Note to talking heads: we can't hear you at the track or OTW.

Please get your bosses to buy a captioning decoder so we can "see" your Pick 4 ticket on screen.

Otherwise make sure you have enough makeup on for the HD cameras.

Pull the Pocket said...

What do you guys want to see? I think that is a good exercise.

Allan Kirschenbaum noted in a round table that he would like to see more flair and more guts. He wants to see some passion, and have a commentator with some cajones to say what he thinks, just like a guy in the grandstand. Is that too much?

Mark Patterson at MNR gives stats, biases and chats away about connections. Good, bad?

I tend to agree about picks. They are good for newbies, but not for me. I don't want to know which horse someone thinks is the most likely winner - the tote board tells me that better than they could. I also do not want pick 4 tickets thrown at me, especially at a track with 30% take with a sequence of 6 horse fields. It's a one way ticket to the poorhouse.

My personal opinion: I would love to see a dude betting and showing me a running ROI. I would love to see him talking about value. I would love to see them talking about how a horse might be washed out, or fractious. How a trainer is scoring at a high rate etc.

I am not convinced that we throw the baby out with the bath water with TV talking heads. If we want no sound and love action we can use twinspires TV so that is always there for us. What do we want to see from them might be a better topic?

My 2 cents.


Phil J. said...

Completely off topic ...

Have you found any decent harness software that allows you do dive into a decent results/PP based data base? You and I spoke about this type of thing a bit probably over a year ago, doing the record keeping by hand. That however is still time consuming and messy. Just wondering if anything has made it easier over the last year or so.

Or, have you done any or know anyone who has done any data basing with Excel and the Trackmaster PDF PP's?

There has to be an easier way than a Friday night with paper, pencil and 12 pack!

Pull the Pocket said...


Ray (ray2000 I believe is his screen name) over at Paceadvantage is offering out his software free. it uses trackmaster files and you can mine a database a bit. Log in and PM him for more info as I am sure he'd be happy to help.


Phil J. said...

I've actually used the program a bit but had no idea it could database. I wasn't really looking for "selection" type software so I didn't explore it too much ... maybe I should have! Awful nice of him to offer up a program of that nature for no cost.

I'll PM him. Thanks!


That Blog Guy said...

I like listening to Gary Siebel; perhaps the only person at TVG who knows his harness racing, though Michelle Yu seems to know surprisingly a lot.

That being said, I look at the broadcasters as entertainment. I don't need their help to lose races; I don't need them to win races. If I am betting seriously, I will turn the volume down.

Anonymous said...

If I bet only what the talking heads told me to I’d lose no matter which channel I watch, so I go for the entertainment factor. Which is why like TVG better than HRTV overall -- its commentators have more energy. Sometimes TVG get a little carried away ( “The Late DDouble” comes to mind), but at least it tries.

HRTV has some interesting horse-related shows on it that TVG does not. Right now The Mane Event is showing the FEI Nation’s Cup series, which is great. What it needs to shy away from is, say, the deplorable coverage of the Keeneland Sale. It would cut in to the live auction feed "expert" commentary (aka people reading the catalog page) -- and it was terrible audio. The auctioneer did a FAR better job than the HRTV crew…and they shouldn't have tried to reinvent the wheel. I finally gave up and watched Keeneland’s online feed.

I agree with other posters’ wishes for relevant information, though. That’s one reason I like Nick “The Sarge” Hines on TVG. He almost always, no matter what program he’s on, gives you pedigree information on the horse. I appreciate him not assuming that I am looking at the same information he is.

Anonymous said...

I now have my sanity back. After years of TVG and HRTv I now have RTN. Every track with the live signal. The Meadowlands live broadcast is the best in the game.

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