RE: Balog on BPT opener – With all due respect to my fellow Social Distortion fan, after watching both MLF and Bassmaster, some counterpoint thoughts. Yes, MLF "felt" different on the broadcast, but I can't say it was better. Theirs was generic (felt like golf to me), whereas with Bassmaster, we had Tommy and Zona, both the universal voice in Tommy and the color commentary of Zona. Tommy and Zona are just better. Not saying MLF can't get there, but they are not there now. I was just not interested in anything the MLF commentators had to say. Nothing made me think harder, nothing made me laugh, they said nothing I did not already know.
Regarding overall "excitement," I too was presently surprised by the excitement I felt over MLF ... until I watched Bassmaster this weekend. It was not even close. MLF lacks the tension, in my mind. Every bite in Bassmaster "might" help ... no guarantee. The weights are not guaranteed (Menendez was on top of BASSTrakk most of the day). In my mind, MLF has removed a lot of the tension elements that make the whole day exciting to follow, not just the last hour for the guys in 15th to 25th place.
Lastly, I have to disagree that catch-weigh-release is the future. I could be totally wrong, but there is something special about putting a bass in your livewell, pulling it out and showing the crowd ... more of a sense of accomplishment. The climax builds throughout the day. I DO agree that fish care has to continually improve – I would even like to see a rule in Bassmaster about fish touching the carpet. But as far as I can tell, even after five Bassmaster events in the last eight years and thousands of other tournaments and guides going after these fish, the St. Johns at least seems to be one example of a fishery that is not at all fazed by tournaments big and small. I watched MLF and will continue to do so ... it is interesting. In my mind, it is just not Bassmaster level yet.