A Hot Mic at the All-Star Game

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

During the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, broadcaster Fox had players wear microphones and headsets during the game. With this technology, they actually conducted live, in-game interviews, including while players were batting. The hardest thing in sports used to be hitting a baseball. Now, it’s hitting a baseball while Fox announcer Joe Buck is nattering in your ear.

Nevertheless, the in-game interviews with players in the field were interesting, if a bit clunky at times. I don’t want to see this come to real games, but the All-Star Game is an exhibition with no real meaning, and it’s a fine place for such gimmickry. However, in addition to not bothering hitters at the plate, broadcasters might want to consider additional modifications. The need for one such adjustment became quite clear thanks to the foul mouth closer Liam Hendriks.

Hendriks came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning, looking to protect a lead and give the American League their eighth straight victory. If you know anything about baseball, or have even just seen the movie “Major League”, you know pitchers are often emotional. That goes double for closers, who are tasked with preventing runs in the most pressure-packed situations.

When Hendriks came to the mound, Buck attempted to talk to him. Though Hendriks gave no direct response, the audience could hear audio from him. When he began pitching, this became something of a problem. First came a very loud and very clear “Goddammit” after Hendriks threw a ball to Milwaukee Brewers catcher Omar Narváez.1 If the potential for danger wasn’t obvious before, that expletive certainly should’ve led producers to make some changes.

However, they didn’t cut the mic, or even put it on a delay. As a result, not long after we got an even worse string of expletives.2 It was quite something. After giving up a hit following that F-bomb, catched Mike Zunino came out to talk to Hendriks.

“You’re giving what the people want—you’re miked up,” Zunino said.

“No, it’s not working,” Hendriks replied. “I haven’t heard a thing all inning.”

Whoops! We all certainly had heard some things, because though the headset may not have been working for Hendriks, the mic certainly was. A piece of advice for anyone ever wearing a microphone: just assume it’s on.

“I would have been a little more conscious of (my word choice) if I had heard them back,” Hendriks said. “And it all turned out the volume was too low. Probably my fault. Probably user error. Makes for some interesting TV, I’m sure. Hopefully the bleeping guy was on point.”

Alas, the bleeping guy was not on point, or even present at all.

I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to mic up a closing pitcher, nor who opted not to put that mic on a delay. However, despite the rather disastrous outcome, they might still count themselves fortunate. That’s because Hendriks hails from the nation of Australian, where cursing is often as basic as breathing. Fox is lucky the man didn’t drop the non-cancer C-word on live television.


Footnotes:

  1. That swear is archived here. ↩︎

  2. And that even worse swear is archived here. ↩︎


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