Telecast of CMWS championship game postponed due to technical issues

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − The tape-delayed broadcast of last Friday's championship game of the 2022 Connie Mack World Series, which was set to air Saturday on CBS Sports Network, was forced to be pulled from the network due to technical issues.

The Connie Mack World Series came to a dramatic end Friday night at Ricketts Park when the Midland Baseball team staved off a late D-Bat United rally to win their 17th title by a score of 9-8 in front of more than 6000 fans.

The game, which was recorded live and set to be aired on the CBS Sports Network the following evening, was instead replaced by a re-airing of an event hosted by the Professional Bull Riders Association, leaving many local and interested baseball fans frustrated and looking for answers.

"We didn't actually find out about the game not being on TV until we sat down to watch it Saturday night," said Kirk Carpenter, who served as the television analyst for the broadcast. Carpenter, who also works the radio broadcasts locally for the CMWS, was teamed with CBS Sports play-by-play commentator Jeff Siembieda for the commentary of the championship game broadcast. "It showed up on the guide that the game was going to be aired, and we were just as surprised as everyone else."

According to Richard Neely, president of the American Amateur Baseball Congress, which hosts the Connie Mack World Series, the rain which fell overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, caused technical issues with the equipment that was being used for the broadcast.

"Basically, it was a complete electronic breakdown," Neely said. "The power surges and dampness fried the boards that were being used for the broadcast."

A streamed version of the 3-hour telecast was available online through the CBS Sports Network website, and those who did see the streamed version said there were moments where the broadcast froze and appeared to stop on several occasions.

"This would have happened regardless of what equipment was in use," Neely said. "But this wasn't on our end, this was a CBS issue, but it was a matter of things that were totally out of our control."

According to a statement released Saturday by the AABC, there will be a one-hour special aired by the CBS Sports Network at a later date to highlight the tournament and "honor the athletes and teams that competed" in the CMWS.

Kirk Carpenter served as part of the broadcast team for the CBS Sports Network's coverage of the Connie Mack World Series championship game, played Friday, July 29, 2022 at Ricketts Park.

There has been no update made to the CBS Sports Network schedule at the time of this reporting.

Carpenter said that neither he nor Siembieda were made aware of the technical issues during the live game.

"We just went about calling the game, which was a great experience," Carpenter said. "Calling a game on television was a great experience especially working with a professional like (Siembieda)."

The broadcast of the championship game created some late scheduling havoc for the AABC, as well as teams, players and fans for the CMWS. The first of a potential two championship game schedule was moved from Saturday afternoon to Friday night in order to accommodate the telecast, which also meant shifts to the schedule of games on Friday afternoon and evening.

Those changes came as a surprise to many, including fans, ticket holders and coaches of the teams who were playing on Friday.

Midland Baseball players celebrate their 2022 Connie Mack World Series championship win against D-BAT United by dog piling on the first base line at Ricketts Park on Friday, July 29, 2022.

"I hope those people involved understand they made a lot of us fans very unhappy," said Brad Gibson, who traveled from Albuquerque to see the game live and was hoping to see the television broadcast the following evening. "They let a lot of fans down."

The deal between CBS Sports and the AABC was announced last spring. AABC senior vice-president Shannon Enfield said at the time with the event receiving national attention, the potential for greater exposure of the tournament would likely follow.

"With CBS coming on board, that brings in national exposure and you have to treat that more like other national events," Enfield said. "It's a big deal for Farmington and for all of those involved with putting on the series."

Still, the late change in game schedule came as a surprise to those coaches involved with the series.

"It's a special deal for the kids and for the fans, but it makes a big difference in how we bring pitchers back for the final games," said Midland coach Dave Evans, "But it's all a part of the deal, a part of the game."

Despite the technical issues which arose last weekend and the cancellation of the tape-delayed telecast, there is still optimism that the future between the Connie Mack World Series and CBS Sports is bright.

"Obviously, making sure that equipment is protected and backups are in place is important," Neely said. "But we're not close to thinking about all of that just yet."