Ranking Baseball’s Center-Field Camera Shots (2015 Update)

Four 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. Last year, I provided an updated edition of that original post.

What follows is the product of an almost identical exercise — updated to account for whatever changes (if any) have occurred within the last calendar year.

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: Top Ten, Bottom Five, and The Rest. In every case, I’ve used images featuring only right-handed pitchers at the peak of their leg kick — so that the orientation of that pitcher’s body might least distort the perception of the camera angle. Furthermore, I’ve attempted to identify weekday feeds from the home club’s regional broadcast — as opposed to weekend and/or national broadcasts, which sometimes utilize a different feed or graphics. In that same spirit, I’ve also attempted to find representative moments that feature the relevant broadcasts typical score bug and strike-zone plot (if the latter exists).

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.

Top Ten
1. Pittsburgh Pirates

PIT

2. Miami Marlins

MIA

3. Atlanta Braves

ATL

4. Minnesota Twins

MIN

5. Tampa Bay Rays

TBA

6. St. Louis Cardinals

STL

7. Boston Red Sox

BOS

8. Baltimore Orioles

BAL

9. Toronto Blue Jays

TOR

10. Colorado Rockies

COL

*****

Bottom Five
26. Detroit Tigers

DET

27. Seattle Mariners

SEA

28. Los Angeles Angels

LAA

29. Milwaukee Brewers

MIL

30. Cincinnati Reds

CIN

31. Kansas City Royals (Windy Days to Avoid Spray from Fountain)
KCA

*****

The Rest (Click to Enlarge)
Arizona Diamondbacks
ARI

Chicago Cubs

CHN

Chicago White Sox

CHA

Cleveland Indians

CLE

Houston Astros

HOU

Kansas City Royals (Regular)

KCA Real

Los Angeles Dodgers

LAN

New York Mets

NYN

New York Yankees

NYA

Oakland Athletics

OAK

Philadelphia Phillies

PHI

San Diego Padres

SDN

San Francisco Giants

SFN

Texas Rangers

TEX

Washington Nationals

WAS

*****

Notes and Observations

  • As noted above, the most significant change between this and last year’s collection of camera angles belongs to Colorado. Last year, the club had arguably the worst of the leauge’s center-field cameras. Entering this year, the broadcast has adapted a nearly straight-on angle. It’s still probably higher than is ideal, but still probably ranks among the league’s top-third of available cameras.
  • There’s a greater number of minor differences between this and last year’s collection of cameras than one might otherwise expect. Boston’s camera this year, for example, appears slightly crooked and gives on almost a sense of vertigo. Cincinnati actually features a wider angle than last year’s already less-than-ideal one. This is almost certainly the product of relying on a single moment from a single game as a representation of a club’s “one” camera angle. Still, it reveals that there’s more moment-to-moment or day-to-day variation than one might expect.
  • Nearly related to that last point, but not entirely: the author has placed Miami’s camera ahead of Atlanta’s after featuring those two in the opposite order last year. In this case, I’ve noticed that the pitching rubber in the Miami shot is more centrally located relative to the plate than in Atlanta’s. This observation reveals not merely to what degree a preference for one camera or another can be subjective, but also how even one’s understanding of his or her own preferences can actually change.

We hoped you liked reading Ranking Baseball’s Center-Field Camera Shots (2015 Update) by Carson Cistulli!

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

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wildcard09
Member
Member

Regarding Boston’s camera, I remember from an earlier broadcast this year Don and Jerry mentioning how they moved the cameras from the center field bleachers to on top of the monster seats in center field. Interesting how they’re getting that camera angle from a position that’s slightly left of center.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones

The new camera location is more towards center (and higher) than the old one. It is not on top of the monster seats.

wildcard09
Member
Member

Huh, knew it was higher but I thought it was on top of the center-most part of the monster, is it just built into the top of the back center field wall? Doing a quick look around and I can’t find a shot of the new location. Will have to see if it shows up on tonight’s broadcast.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones