Friday, February 21, 2014

Unseen Things

A lot of things I like are happening this week: Sochi Olympics' second week, NASCAR is ramping up to the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Formula One teams are testing in Bahrain, and another cold front is approaching the Northern California Coast.

Unfortunately, there's lots of stuff happening that I wish I wasn't seeing...Venezuela and the Ukraine are aflame as their citizens are protesting in the streets against  their respective tyrannical rulers. Many are dead in Kiev, and blood is beginning to flow in Caracas...

NASCAR kicks off their season with their Super Bowl, the Daytona 500. The teams have been at the Daytona International Speedway for a week, practicing, qualifying, racing an All-Star race, the Sprint Unlimited, and running the Twin Qualifiers to decide the running order for The 500. The front row is locked in during qualifying...the two fastest runs take the Pole Position, and the other front row slot.

NASCAR is pretty tame stuff as motorsports go...I do love the Daytona 500 though, it means that Formula One is coming over the horizon, and that Spring is just weeks away. Still, there are surprises from Daytona. Long time readers will remember the weird Red Flag during the 2012 500.

Jet Dryer spewing flaming fuel after Juan Pablo Montoya sideswiped it under caution!

This week, the Sprint Unlimited provided another head shaker...

That's the Chevy SS Pace Car on fire...during the race! Everyone got out OK, a back-up Pace Car took care of things, but it was really weird to see the Pace Car towed behind the Pit Wall by a wrecker!

NASCAR has a new aero package for their Restrictor Plate Races (Daytona and Taladega) this season, and it's the best they've had in many years! The draft looks like the draft form the Golden Years, long trains of cars nose to tail are gone, as are the two-by-two pairings for the last few years. I think they finally got it right!

During Thursday's second 125 mile qualifier, they had "The Big One'" on the final lap when Jimmy Johnson's number 48 Chevy ran out of fuel causing a huge unlucky racer ran into a spinning car, turned sideways at 185 mph, lifting off the track and did a 360° barrel-roll, landed upright, blasted through the infield grass, and finally drove, under control into the pits! The onboard footage was awesome...good television!

I've mostly forsaken the TV coverage of the Olympics in favor of streaming the events LIVE. Seeing every racer from the first bib number to the last is storytelling in it's most visceral form.

Conditions are a huge part of the Sochi2014 story, you can see and hear the conditions change when you see the whole event. The PrimeTime Package barely qualifies as a 'Highlight Reel', much less storytelling. I will watch the NBC package tonight on Women's SkierCross to see how they handle the mid-qualifying delay while some clouds blew through the middle of the course, causing local whiteout conditions, and holding up the proceedings for 10-15 minutes.

Who knew that Iran sent a Giant Slalom racer to Sochi? Did NBC show their run?

The Formula One circus is in Bahrain testing. No TV, no LIVE Stream...Still there is an information stream or two online. BBC Radio is doing a LIVE Text stream, as are several Grand Prix magazines and websites. These are informative and can be dramatic. Most of these chat-like streams include comments or tweets from fans.

Most compelling is Twitter of course, F1 Teams, drivers, F1 journalists all tweet every interesting tidbit of on-track RealTime.

As the preeminent technological racing series on Planet Earth, it amazes me that F1 doesn't have an internet streaming service for sale like Major League Baseball's MLB.TV.

This gem  gives you every MLB game, from every team, across every device including your Big Screen HDTV LIVE with your choice of home or visitor audio for $129/year. Every single game is available, except in local blackout areas (generally within a team's 'FanSphere')

All games are available On Demand all season, again with choice of broadcasters...worth every penny to rabid baseball fans.

I'd happily plunk down $130/year for the Formula One equivalent!

That's all for today, the San Francisco Giants are streaming LIVE from Spring Training at 10AM PST Here If you can't stream the full screen version, clear your browser's cache.

Play Ball!