Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seeing At Home - Not At The Ballpark

A major goal of our telecast is to show the viewers at home something that the fans in the ballpark do not see.
Tonight's telecast included 6 instances which captured this goal.
There were three examples tonight which were fairly "easy" to capture because of the technology we utilize on our show. These three examples were captured because of the super slo-mo camera. Our super slo-mo camera operator is one of the best camera ops in the country and his skill was highlighted tonight.
The first example occurred in the first inning. There was a groundball hit to the shortstop and our super slo-mo op followed the ball TIGHT to the first baseman. The tight, tight shot of the ball spinning to the first baseman was absolutely beautiful.
The next two super slo-mo replays occurred in the top of the third inning. First, the Cardinals third baseman made a spectacular play on a swinging bunt up the third base line. The replay showed the third baseman fielding the ball bare handed, finding the seams of the ball and throwing the batter out at first. Then, later in the inning, this camera operator gave us a fantastic shot of a pitch from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's glove. This "ball follow" was one of the most spectacular I have ever seen!
Another example of our viewers at home seeing something the fans in the ballpark did not see happened in the bottom of the 4th inning. We noticed that the Nationals pitcher held the ball in a changeup grip while watching the catcher's signs. Our color analyst did a great job explaining why pitchers hold the ball in a certain way during "signs" and the shot worked.
Luck plays a huge part in our goal of showing our viewers something the fans in the park do not see.
Luck was with us twice tonight.
Early in the game, the home plate umpire thought that the batter had taken a called third strike. We heard him yell "strike........three" as he emphatically swung his arms during his "strike" call. The problem was that the count was 3-1. We replayed the pitch tracking the audio and the replay was very effective. In no way were we trying to embarrass the umpire as he actually called a great game, but this replay was entertaining.
Late in the game, with the game on the line, we got lucky again.
In the bottom of the 8th inning with the score tied at 2 the Cardinals lead off batter walked and was replaced with a pinch runner. This pinch runner had been going through some tough times at the plate AND in the field. I jokingly said to our play-by-play announcer - "watch him get picked off." Well, he was picked off of first base.
I had a camera stay with him in the dugout looking for a reaction. This is where we got lucky again.
The next pitch the Cardinal batter hit a homerun!
The best replay of the homerun was not the swing and was not the crowd going wild. The greatest replay of the homerun was the shot of the player who had just been picked off of first base in the dugout.
There were two emotions captured during this replay - elation and relief.
The elation of the Cardinals celebrating the huge homerun and the relief shown by the player who had just been picked off of first base.
This contrast of emotions caused this replay to be one of my favorites ever.
The viewers at home were rewarded tonight with pictures that the fans in the ballpark did not see.
Our goal was met.
Great show.

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