Phillies-Braves Apple TV+ broadcast forgot they weren’t a Braves feed

Friday night's Apple TV+ broadcast felt like watching a Braves home feed, but the Phillies got the last laugh.
Philadelphia Phillies infielder Bryson Stott and Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies infielder Bryson Stott and Trea Turner / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves renewed their rivalry on Friday night in the teams' first meeting since Opening Weekend. Things went the Phillies' way to start the series, as they came away with the 8-6 win, improving their record to 58-30.

The unfortunate thing for Phillies fans, however, was that the game was broadcast on Apple TV+. While some fans were just out of luck and unable to tune in to watch, the fans who did found themselves quickly wishing for Tom McCarthy and John Kruk.

Phillies-Braves Apple TV+ broadcast forgot they weren’t a Braves feed

Despite the Phillies playing like the better team for most of the game during Friday’s series opener at Truist Park, the Apple TV+ broadcast crew couldn’t help tripping over themselves with praise and compliments for the Braves. It certainly didn’t have the neutral tone you’d expect from a national broadcast.

If you tuned in without knowing the current standings — which, by the way, had the Phillies ahead by 9.0 games in the division at the beginning of play — you would have thought the Braves were the team running away with the NL East.

Okay, so they did mention that the Phillies are leading the division. But that didn’t do anything to overcome the general overarching tone from the guys in the booth, Alex Faust and Ryan Spilborghs, that the Phillies are ahead for now by some miracle and that it’s only a matter of time until last year’s division winners rise up and reclaim their rightful first place spot.

Add to that the preening and fawning over Braves first baseman Matt Olson for his defense, and you had what is supposedly a neutral broadcast causing some Phillies fans to pull out their hair. While Olson did make some impressive plays in the field, an unsuspecting observer just tuning in would have been forgiven for thinking Olson is the best first baseman in the game — which is far from true. He has -1 OAA and -1 FRV by Statcast's measure. Bryce Harper has 5 OAA and 4 FRV, for comparison's sake.

Phillies got the last laugh in the series opener

Anyway, the baseball gods set things right in the seventh. After repeatedly telling viewers how good Olson and the Braves are in the field, the first baseman biffed a routine grounder, opening the floodgates to a three-error inning by the Braves. While the amazing Braves threw the ball all over the diamond like a hapless little league team, the Phillies extended their lead by three runs to 8-2.

For any Phillies fans who were "brave" enough to tune in to Apple TV's broadcast without subbing the audio from WIP's fantastic radio team, you may have gotten the feeling that the Phillies are running on borrowed time. Now over halfway through the season and still with the best record in baseball, when will the national media stop treating the Phillies like a fluke on a hot run and start buying into what the Phillies are doing this year?

Sure, there's always the chance they go through a bad slump. It's baseball, and that can happen to good teams. Take a look at the New York Yankees. For a while, the Bronx Bombers were matching the Philliles' pace at the top of the MLB standings. They've since fallen into a 2-8 crater in their last 10 games, losing four in a row and the lead in the AL East.

The Phillies have faced adversity. By this team's standards, June was a rough month, but they still escaped with a 15-11 record. They've been without Trea Turner for six weeks already. They've been without J.T. Realmuto and will continue to miss him until after the All-Star break. They're without Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber right now. But they keep on finding ways to win games.

Maybe the Apple TV+ broadcast should have spent more time reading the room and actually treating the Phillies like the legitimate World Series contenders they are. You don't open a 10.0-game division lead by fluke.