Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Worst Game Ever

Today's baseball game between the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals was the most boring game EVER played.
There was nothing the TV crew could do to rescue this torturous affair.
The most important factor in determining the quality of a game is the starting pitching.
In a well- pitched game, a starting pitcher will throw around 100 pitches in 9 innings.
In today's "bomb" of a game, the Cardinals starter threw 82 pitches and the Diamondbacks starting pitcher threw 101 pitches - through 6 innings!
I will not place all the blame on these two pitchers, however, as the home plate umpire was terrible. He squeezed both starters all day long with his miniscule strike zone.
Hey MLB, you want to speed up the game?
A well-paced game is usually played between 2:20 and 2:40.
Today's embarrassment of a baseball game was played in 2:50 through six innings.
Our TV team tried everything to distract from this awful game.
I would take shots of kids having fun at the Busch Stadium.
The weather in St. Louis was absolutely beautiful today. I would takes shots of the blue sky with white clouds and fans enjoying the sun.
Our Producer used flashbacks.
We had fun with the Busch Stadium's main receptionist and her wardrobe.
We utilized insightful graphics throughout the telecast.
All these techniques seemed to improve the telecast but, after trying and trying and trying to escape this terrible contest, we had to return to the game.
It is great fun for the TV crew to capture and enhance the great moments of a baseball game. 99.9% of the time, this is the case for the TV crew.
Then there are games such as the one played in St. Louis today.
No matter how hard the TV production team tries to "hide" a game such as this, it can't be done.
We tried our best.
The game, good or bad, always wins.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Typical Home Game

The Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium tonight by the score of 8 - 0.
Adam Wainwright was the winning pitcher.
He threw 102 pitches in 6 1/3 innings allowing 5 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts.
A typical home game performance by Adam.
Albert Pujols was 3-4 with 2 homeruns, a double and 5 RBI's.
A typical Albert performance.
As I have stated in previous blogs, every TV baseball director loves a well-pitched game with a nice pace.
Adam Wainwright supplied this with a wonderful performance.
Chapter 11 of my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair ( is titled The Homerun.
The most fun a TV baseball director can have during a game/telecast is cutting a homerun.
Tonight, I was fortunate to cut two Albert Pujols homeruns!
This was a very enjoyable baseball game to cut.
Thank you Adam wainwright and thank you Albert Pujols.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Anticipation Rewarded

I was really looking forward to today's game/telecast.
The pitching match-up featured Danny Haren for the Diamondbacks and Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals.
With these two great pitchers, I anticipated a telecast that directors love to cut. I expected a well-pitched, well-played, fast paced game.
Going into the 7th inning, the score was tied 2-2 and the time of game was 1:32.
Up to this point the flow to the show was just what a director loves.
The first batter of the game hit a line drive that struck Carpenter in the right forearm. Our super slo-mo look of this play was fantastic. We were lucky in this instance because our X-MO camera was isoing Carpenter. During the top of the first inning and the bottom of the first inning, as the first batter of the inning is at the plate, the starting pitcher is the topic of conversation with the announce team. The starting pitcher's statistics are sold and this graphic is shown right after the batting order. Our super slo-mo camera shot stayed on Carpenter during this sequence and we were rewarded with a wonderful replay.
Danny Haren matched Carpenter pitch for pitch during the first six innings. These two players were clearly the story of the game.
Then, in the top of the 7th inning, Haren hit a homerun to give the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead.
Haren continued to be the player of the game in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Yadier Molina led off the inning with a walk but Haren got the next batter to hit into a double- play and coaxed the next batter to ground out.
End of the 7th inning: Diamondbacks 3, Cardinals 2.
The Diamondbacks went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 8th inning.
The bottom of the 8th inning was a blast to cut!
The first three batters singled, the Cardinals scored a run and had runners on first and third with no outs.
Coming to the plate were Albert Pujols, the greatest player in the game, Matt Holliday, the recently redhot clean-up hitter, and Colby Rasmus, the hottest hitter in the Cardinals' line-up.
Pujols struck out looking.
Holliday struck out swinging.
Rasmus flied out to centerfield.
This situation is especially rewarding for a director;
Tight face, tight face, crowd cheering in eager anticipation, tight face, tight face, the pitch.
And repeat.
Great fun!
The Diamonbacks do not score in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs in the inning, I shot Haren in the dugout. He was stretching and loosening up and it was apparent that he was pitching in the bottom of the ninth inning. We went to break with a shot of Haren getting ready to take the mound.
Molina led off the bottom of the ninth inning. The first pitch was called a strike by the home plate umpire and Tony Larussa was ejected for arguing the call. This moment only added to the drama.
Molina singled and the next batter, Brendan Ryan, also singled.
Haren was replaced after throwing 112 pitches.
Adam Wainwright was called upon to pinch-hit and he layed down a sacrifice bunt. The relief pitcher for the Diamondbacks threw the ball past the third baseman and the Cardinals scored a run and had runners on second and third base.
Down by the score of 5-4, the next Cardinals batter grounded out to shortstop.
During this point of the game, the crowd was going crazy. This atmosphere is just what a director loves. Capturing this excitement is so rewarding.
The next batter hit a ground ball to the first baseman and the Cardinals won the game on a walk-off 2-run error!
Cutting the on-field celebration with a mix of players and fans is great fun. This situation is almost impossible to over cut.
The crew felt it and delivered!
The anticipation of a great telecast was rewarded.
Great show.
Great fun.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Dreaded Truck Dream

Here are the definitions of two words from the dictionary that describe today's telecast:
Awful - Exceptionally bad.
Embarrassing - Hard to deal with.
This was one of the worst telecasts that I have ever been involved with.
No matter what we did in the truck the show got worse and worse.
This was one of those telecasts where no matter what the crew attempted, nothing worked.
Almost every person who works in sports television has had the dreaded truck dream.
In the dream, NOTHING goes right.
Not only does nothing work, this dreaded situation snowballs. In the dream, situations in the truck get worse and worse and worse.
The dreaded truck dream literally wakes you up.
Today's awful, embarrassing show was the dreaded truck dream while we were awake!
I have been involved with terrible telecasts throughout my career.
When this occurs, the crew is able to save some quality to the telecast 99% of the time.
Not today.
Even in the 90+ degree Kansas City heat, there was a huge snowball of mistakes left over from the telecast.
I experienced the dreaded truck dream today while I was awake.
Please, please, please - no truck dream tonight as I sleep.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So You Want To Be An EIC Huh?

What a day.
I don't remember a telecast that had the audio problems that plagued our telecast today.
The audio in our truck basically died in the 2nd inning.
The RTS system in the truck allows for communication between the producer and director with announcers and the whole crew. This system crashed in the 2nd inning. There was absolutely no communication coming from the truck the truck.
For a few innings, the booth and cameras did not know if we were back from break.
When this occurs, camera operators must behave as if they are always "on the air". The excellent visitor's camera operators in Kansas City know this unwritten rule and we did not have one whip pan on the air.
Our A1 (audio engineer), who is in another mobile unit with his dual feed audio board, did a great job even though he could not hear us in our truck.
Our stage manager was fantastic in taking control of the booth and making sure that our announcers had proper warning about promos and drop-ins.
The whole crew came together as a team during this difficult and unusual situation.
Not one member of our crew worked harder than our EIC. (Engineer in Charge) The RTS system was constantly being rebooted and a semblance of communication, although intermittent, was generally available.
I write about the EIC's in my book "Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair ". (
These fine TV teammates are the hardest members of our telecast team. They are certainly not thanked enough for their diligence and wonderful attitudes.
Today's telecast could have been a catastrophe.
Thanks to the professionals on the Kansas City visitor's side for their great work.
And a special thanks to Chris, our EIC, who made this telecast happen.
Great job, Chris!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

AL Baseball - A Different Game

Directing the American League style of baseball is different than directing National League baseball.
Regardless of arguments put up by people who enjoy American League baseball, there is LESS strategy in the AL game than the NL game.
There is less sacrifice bunting and in games between AL clubs there is no double switching.
The best managers in the AL are those who manage their pitching staffs the best.
The best managers in the NL are those who manage the game the best.
For a TV baseball director, there are more reasons to show the defensive alignment in the National League game than the American League game.
National League directors will show the defense during each bunting situation. Since bunting situations are rare in the AL, the defense is not shown as much.
Because of the fact that the sacrifice bunt is more prevalent in the NL and the defensive alignment is more readily shown, National League directors use this defensive alignment shot more frequently in non-bunting situations than American League directors.
Showing the defense involves a left to right pan in standard definition telecasts from the high home camera (camera 2) and a full pull back from this camera in HD telecasts.
I have had the pleasure of watching and learning from the cut every TV baseball director in the country. This group is very talented and I am grateful to be a member of this unique team.
American League TV directors cut a different game than National League directors.
Because it is a different game.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Off Until Friday

I am taking the Toronto series off this week and my next game and blog will be Friday in Kansas City. Thanks for following my blog!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Missed A Pitch

On page 59 of my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair (, I write;
"Just as football directors should never miss a snap from center, basketball directors should never miss a jump ball or a throw-in, and hockey directors should never miss a faceoff, baseball directors should never miss a pitch. Considering that there are anywhere from 200 to 300 or more pitches a game, numerous promotional items, and in-game advertising inventory that must hit air, I'm proud of the fact that our telecast rarely misses a pitch during play. We may miss a pitch coming back from a commercial break, but that is only because the first pitch of the inning may have been thrown earlier than allowed."
I missed a pitch today.
There are no excuses. I can't remember the last time I missed a pitch.
To make matters worse, the batter was hit by the pitch!
We replayed the missed pitch as I cursed myself out in my mind.
Other than my rookie mistake, other than my humiliation, we had a fairly good telecast.
Our announce team was situated in the Champions Club in Busch Stadium and seem to have an enjoyable time.
The crew, despite the early call (6:00am and 7:00am), performed well and were on the top of their game.
But all this does not matter.
I missed a pitch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mirror Image

The first two games of this A's/Cardinals series were strangely similar.
The leadoff batter for the A's doubled to start each game.
Each Cardinals starting pitcher hit a batter in the top of the first inning.
All four starting pitchers in this series worked extremely fast.
In this second game, each pitcher singled and sacrifice bunted in their first two at-bats.
Except for my hiccup in the top of the first inning where I looked at camera seven and told the TD (Technical Director) "Take one with font", this telecast, like last night's, had a wonderful flow to it.
The two starting pitchers in tonight's game, Ben Sheets and Adam Wainwright, are two of the fastest workers in all of baseball. In fact, we entered the top of the ninth with a chance of a game lasting under two hours. The A's rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth and the Cardinals won 4-3 in 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Once our telecast matched the pace of the game, there was a great flow to the show.
For tomorrow's telecast, our announce team will be located in the Champions Club in Busch Stadium.
The Champions Club is a great place to enjoy a Cardinals game.
It is air conditioned with many food stations and areas to enjoy your favorite beverage. This annual telecast is a great way to promote the Champions Club and a nice "change" from the usual booth set-up employed for every other telecast.
Therefore, a theme of tonight's telecast was the Champions Club. We rolled out to break with shots of the Club and we used video of the Club as a background for billboards. We used shots of the Champions Club to promote tomorrow's telecast
Our TV production team realizes the importance of covering the game on the field AND the fun at the ballpark. We want our viewers to enjoy the telecast while at the same time wish they were at the ballpark.
Tonight's telecast was an excellent example of accomplishing this goal.

Everything Clicked

Every so often you get a game/telecast that just clicks.
From the opening segment to the close, there is a great flow to the show.
When this occurs, there is a feeling of comfort that pervades the whole crew. The shots are there and the sounds are there. There is a wonderful rhythm between the truck and the booth. This "comfort zone" increases the confidence of the whole crew and more attempts are made to show something that has never been seen before or is seen only by the audience at home and not the fans in the stands.
It is almost as if you know nothing will go wrong with anything you try.
In our telecast tonight, there was a situation where we just knew that the runner at first base was going to attempt a stolen base.
We just knew!
The replay sequence went as follows:
1st angle -a tight iso of the runners feet as he took off towards second base.
2nd angle - high home look at the jump and the throw.
3rd angle - tight look at the slide into 2nd base from mid 1st camera.
4th look - super slo-mo look at the slide into 2nd base.
The first look was great as it showed the cross over of the left foot ass the runner took off towards second base. This was a perfect example of a camera operator knowing the situation and taking a chance on some video rarely seen before.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, I remember thinking about how smooth the telecast was going. I knew the great flow to the show would continue until we were off the air.
And it did.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Producer, Director, Announcers and Teamwork

The Producer is in charge of the telecast.
The Director is in charge of the pictures.
The announcers are in charge of the audio.
The Producer, Director and the announcers must always be "on the air".
Therefore, teamwork between these members of the TV production team is essential.
The quality of the telecast and the flow of the show depend on this teamwork.
As far as the game is concerned the Producer and the Director can lead or follow the announcers and the announcers can lead the Producer and Director or follow them.
The main ingredients of the game include live shots, replays, and graphics. Covering these main ingredients as a TV team is the most comfortable part of the telecast.
We all love the game and know the game so "covering" the game is very comfortable for all of us.
The hardest part of developing and keeping a good flow to the show, thus insuring a quality telecast, is the integration of the "sold" items and the drop-ins into the game/telecast.
Take tonight's game/telecast for example.
I will break the game down inning by inning. Remember that game-specific graphics and replays are also in play during our coverage.
Before 1st pitch
Total drop-ins and sold items: seven
1st inning - 6 batters -seven
2nd inning - 7 batters - eight
3rd inning - 6 batters - eight
4th inning - 10 batters - nine
5th inning - 8 batters - twelve
6th inning - 6 batters - three
7th inning - 6 batters - nine
8th inning - 8 batters - eight
9th inning - 6 batters - three
We all know that these items are important because they pay for the telecast. We all understand that these items are essential to the show.
The trick is to incorporate these items into the game coverage as seamlessly as possible. This takes teamwork and cooperation from the Producer, Director, and the announcers.
Our "team" on the St. Louis Cardinals telecasts work well together throughout the game to provide a quality experience for the St. Louis Cardinals fans.
Because of this teamwork, we cover the game with very few distractions.
I am proud to be a member of this team.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Respect = Success

Chapter three of my book "Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair ( is titled Respect = Success.
In this chapter, I write about respect for the game and the team, the crew and the fans.
I am fortunate and very grateful that there is a mutual respect between our Producer, Mike, and myself.
He is the best baseball Producer in the country and I am lucky to I sit next to him.
Mike and I also have a mutual respect with our home TV crew. This crew is "baseball smart" and they work their butts off.
Mike and I are proud of the product we televise and we tip our caps to the crew.
We work for the best organization in baseball if not all of sports. The St. Louis Cardinals do everything in a first class way and we understand what a privilege it is to be part of this wonderful organization.
The home clubhouse manager for the Cardinals is Rip Rowen.
Rip was honored before the game by the team for being named 2009 major league baseball clubhouse manager of the year.
We recorded the on-field presentation and aired it during the game.
This honor is well deserved and everyone in the Cardinals travelling party respects Rip for the fine job that he does.
Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is one of the fiercest competitors in all of sports. This is the side of Chris that the fans see. Chris is also a wonderful family man. Before the game tonight, a little league team of which Chris' son Sam is a member of walked on the warning track with other little league teams.
We had a great shot of Chris waiting for the team and having a team photo in front of the dugout with the players and some fathers of the team. This was a wonderful moment. We aired this moment during the game/telecast and the quality of our show was greatly enhanced.
We respect Chris as a person and a player and this moment captured this respect.
The Cardinals beat the Mariners 4-2 and our telecast was excellent.
The best moments of the show occurred before we went to air.
The best moments of the telecast happened because of our respect for the team and the game, and our crew and the fans.
Respect = Success.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Address, Revisit, Wrap-up

Every sports television broadcast should follow a distinct pattern.
Address the themes in the open, revisit these themes during the game/telecast, wrap-up the themes in the close.
Sometimes the game follows the theme and sometimes the game goes in a completely different direction.
When the game does not follow the theme presented, it is the responsibility of the TV production team to adjust to the game.
Tonight, our pre-game show made a big deal (as it should have) of the fact that Matt Holliday was batting in the number two hole ahead of Albert Pujols and that Ryan Ludwick was batting in the cleanup position.
The interesting tidbit about this lineup change was that Holliday had NEVER hit in the second spot in the lineup at any level.
We graphically revisited this theme after each of these player's third, fourth, an final at-bats.
When the game ended, Holliday was 2-4 with two runs, Pujols was 3-3 with 2 runs and an rbi, and Ludwick was 2-4 with 2 runs, 4 rbi's, a homerun and a double.
The graphics team built a nice looking lower third graphic with headshots that really added quality to the telecast.
Ryan Ludwick was the star of the game and we wrapped up the show with an interview immediately after the game ended.
We addressed this major theme, we revisited it during the telecast, and we accentuated this theme as we wrapped up the show.
Great telecast!
We thank the game for cooperating.

Another Director

I had the great pleasure of listening to and occasionally watching another TV baseball director during yesterday's telecast.
During Sunday road telecasts for Cardinals baseball, we are in the back end of a dual feed with only two cameras at our disposal plus cameras that are controlled by the home feed. During these telecasts, I cut the game as best I can with this camera complement. However, when there are runners on base and the ball is put into play, I will join the program cut. With a full complement of cameras, the home director is better able to cut in runners while the ball is in play.
When there are no baserunners, however, I cut the game as I listen to our announcers.
I am always listening to the home director cut the game as well.
Mitch, the director for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is one of the best baseball directors in our business.
I don't believe there is a baseball director with more infectious energy than Mitch. I am sitting in the back end of a dual feed and Mitch has me fired up!
His camera cut is succinct and confident.
He knows where he is going and he gets there with a crisp, concise cut.
This was evident during his final cut sequence of the game/telecast.
Maybe the greatest, most exciting moment for a TV baseball director is a walk off homerun win.
The Diamondbacks beat the Cardinals 7-5 with a 2-run, 2-out homerun.
When the Diamonbacks player hit the ball I immediately instructed my Technical Director (TD) to "take 2 (high home camera) and go to program".
The St. Louis Cardinals TV audience was now watching Mitch's cut.
I was now watching Mitch's cut and I was listening to his call.
Mitch nailed it!
The call was clear, confident, and concise and the camera shots were exciting and tight.
A pleasure to watch and a great pleasure to hear.
A great cut and a great job!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Going into the top of the 5th inning tonight, the Diamondbacks had hit three homeruns (including back to back) and led by the score of 6-0. Also, Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren was perfect through four innings.
Haren's stuff was nasty and it looked like "no-hit" stuff.
Every TV baseball production team dreams of being part of a no-hitter or a perfect game.
In tonight's contest, with the early lopsided score and an all-star pitcher on the mound (Haren) for Arizona, we all realized that while the chances of a no-hitter or perfect game were slim, there was the possibility given the nastiness of Haren's pitches.
The leadoff hitter for the Cardinals in the fifth inning doubled and the thoughts of a pitching gem ended.
At this point in the telecast something else ended as well - the concentration level of the crew. When the concentration level of the crew ends, there is NO flow to the show. The show becomes herky/jerky.
The next batter hit an rbi single and the Cardinals were on the board.
Waiting for a tape machine to cue up a replay Mike, our Producer, immediately picked up on the fact that the crew had lost focus and said, "Let's go, guys. Cue it up. We need a replay!"
The replay aired a bit later than desired but the crew "got the message".
Focus returned and the flow of the telecast/game returned as well.
It is the responsibility of the Producer and the Director to keep the crew focused.
There are games, however, where focus can be disrupted.
When this disruption occurs, as is apt to happen, The Producer or Director MUST immediately refocus the crew to the job at hand.
Losing focus during a telecast is possibly the worst scenario for a TV production team.
The quality of the show suffers and the viewer is robbed of an enjoyable baseball experience.
Mike saved the telecast tonight.
Too bad he couldn't save the game.
Final: Diamondbacks 7, Cardinals 2.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Scenics and Crowd Shots

One of the telltale signs that the game does not offer much to the telecast is when the most memorable shots during the game are crowd shots and scenics.
Arizona is a beautiful state and the scenics available for the visiting feed are wonderful.
Even when the game does offer some great memories, scenics are used to "wrap a ribbon" around the baseball game package.
There is not a better venue for offering scenics than Arizona. They supply the greatest number of scenics and some of the most beautiful scenics you will ever see.
I have always understood the value that scenics offer to a telecast, but it wasn't until tonight's telecast that I realized the importance of scenics in relation to the telecast.
During the next homestand, we are going to put a special emphasis on scenics and we are going to increase our scenics inventory.
The telecast had some memorable crowd shots tonight.
There was a shot of a youngster licking the salt off of a pretzel that was quite entertaining and there was a shot of an Arizona Diamondbacks fan holding the sign "I'm with Stlupid with an arrow pointing at his girlfriend who was dressed in a Cardinals Jersey. The announce team had some fun with this shot as well, but it just goes to show that when a shot such as this becomes memorable, the game did not offer much excitement.
Sometimes this is the case and scenics and crowd shots become all the more important.
I hope the game offers some memories tomorrow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deja Vu

It is 2:00 am pacific time and I just arrived in my room in Phoenix, Arizona after a short flight from LA.
During tonight's telecast from Dodger Stadium between the Cardinals and the Dodgers, I was wondering what I was going to blog about concerning the game/telecast.
This was a nondescript telecast with not one thing standing out that warranted a blog.
The Dodgers scored two runs in the first inning and two runs in the third inning and the Cardinals answered with a 3-run homerun in the fourth inning.
Despite the fact that TV-friendly Manny Ramirez and red-hot Ryan Ludwick each hit homeruns, there was really nothing special about the game or the telecast.
Then deja vu struck.
With the score 4-3 in favor of the Dodgers, Albert Pujols led off the top of the ninth inning against Jonathan Broxton.
This was the exact same scenario as last night's game/telecast.
Last night's at-bat in the top of the ninth inning was one of the most memorable at-bats ever.
It was an eleven pitch at-bat with Albert eventually striking out.
As I wrote in yesterday's blog, the excitement and energy level grew in Dodger stadium and with the TV crew grew with each and every pitch.
The quality of tonight's telecast, like last night's show, was determined by a single at-bat.
Before the at-bat, we aired a split screen of Pujols and Broxton followed by a pitch by pitch sequence of the fantastic eleven pitch at-bat from last night.
Then the confrontation began.
Tight shots of these two combatants preceded each pitch and help elevate the excitement level of this battle.
Albert Pujols eventually won the battle with a single to center field on the sixth pitch.
This confrontation did not reach the energy level of last night's showdown between these two great players, but this confrontation gave some added value to the quality of the game and of the telecast.
Members of a TV sports production team never know when an important moment may occur in a telecast.
When this moment occurs, the TV production team must be ready.
We were ready tonight and captured that moment with high quality.
Off tomorrow.
We will be ready on Friday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The At-Bat

Chapter 11 of my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair ( is about cutting a homerun. I write in chapter 11 that cutting a homerun is the most fun a TV baseball director can have while directing the game.
I may have to amend chapter 11.
The Dodgers beat the Cardinals tonight by the score of 1-0.
The two starting pitchers, Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals and Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers, were both masterful.
Their pitching lines were almost identical.
They both pitched 7 innings of shutout baseball. Carpenter gave up 6 hits and Kuroda gave up 4 hits. They both walked 1 batter and the strikeouts were 5 for Carpenter and 6 for Kuroda. Carpenter threw 97 pitches with 61 strikes and Kuroda was equally as good with 101 pitches and 66 strikes.
The top and bottom of each inning were almost identical as well.
This made for a great flow to the show.
This well-pitched, well-played game grew more exciting with each inning.
During the 7th inning the Cardinals threatened with runners on first and third and one out. A groundball double play ended that threat.
The bottom of the seventh inning had a Dodger runner thrown out at the plate by the Cardinals' rightfielder.
The whole TV production team fed off this exciting contest. As the game went on, the camera shots were succinct, the replays were tight, the audio mix was fantastic, and a great job by our graphics team helped build the excitement of this wonderful affair.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning on a basehit by Manny Ramirez. Love him or hate him, Manny is great television. Manny is one of those superstar players who seems to deliver in key situations. Tonight, when Manny was at-bat in the bottom of the 8th inning with a runner in scoring position and the game on the line, it was a blast cutting the game! Manny came through and the Dodgers led 1-0.
Batting for the Cardinals in the top of the 9th inning were the 3-4-5 hitters; Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Ryan Ludwick.
In the bullpen warming up in the 8th inning was all-star closer Jonathan Broxton. With two outs in the inning, we aired a graphic over Broxton which showed the history of the Cardinals 3-4-5 hitters against Broxton.
This whole telecast kept building and building and building.
The excitement kept building and building and building.
This great game and wonderful telecast culminated in THE AT-BAT.
Albert Pujols, arguably the greatest player in the game today if not ever, led off the inning with an 11 pitch at-bat.
Eleven pitches!
I can't remember an at-bat that was so much fun to cut.
When Albert Pujols is at the plate, everyone expects something great to happen.
With each pitch, the crowd in the ballpark grew into a greater frenzy and the TV crew fed off this energy.
Cutting the game during a situation such as this is tremendously fun. Tight shot after tight shot after tight shot builds the moment. Here is Albert, here is Broxton, here is Tony LaRussa, here is Joe Torre, here is the pitch.
This great at-bat ended with Broxton striking out Albert on a check swing.
I don't remember cutting an at-bat that was so much fun.
I may have to rewrite chapter 11 of Cutting The Game.

Monday, June 7, 2010


A successful telecast relies on cooperation.
Cooperation is necessary from all members of a TV production team.
Cooperation is important between the team (players, manager, and coaches) and the TV production team.
Perhaps the most vital cooperation is between the home feed TV team and the visiting feed TV team.
This cooperation is needed in a side by side situation but cooperation between broadcast outlets is most important in a dual feed situation.
A side by side is when both telecasts employ their own truck and crew. Each feed has their own complement of cameras and tape machines. The two broadcast entities cooperate in the camera placement around the ballpark and they share video tape respective of each teams previous games.
The unwritten rule for camera placement in both side by side and dual feed telecasts is that the visiting team gets the primary position in their dugout. This is the inside or home plate side of the dugout. This is the "money" shot of the telecast as this location sells the most tickets. This "money shot" location is equally important for ticket sales regardless of whether the team is at home or on the road. This camera is right on top of the action in the dugout after a homerun or after a run scores and this position gives the viewer the best possible angle of a big moment for the team.
However, this unwritten rule does not exist in Houston where they utilize the position and give the visitor the awful location of the outside or outfield side of the dugout.
But, in retrospect, the Houston viewer is shown the elation of their opponent up close and personal during a bad moment for the Astros ballclub. This has a negative effect on the Houston Astros viewers especially this season where the Astros are 14-20 at home. Showing the opposing club celebrating has a negative effect on ticket sales for the home club. A bad move by the TV production team in Houston.
The Cardinals were soundly beaten tonight by the score of 12-4.
From a baseball game standpoint, there was not much to cheer about for the St. Louis Cardinals fans.
From a baseball telecast standpoint, this was a good clean show which captured some moments with nice shots and great replays.
There was super slo-mo shot of an outfielder just barely missing a homerun hit by a St. Louis Cardinals player.
There was a replay of a hard hit shot into the left field corner that nearly hit the ball boy who was stationed in foul territory down the left-field line.
These cameras were given to our feed by the LA Dodgers production team. This cooperation contributed greatly to the success of our show.
Doug, the Dodgers TV Director was constantly asking me " is everything was going ok?" and "do you need anything?"
This concern for our telecast was greatly appreciated.
The cooperation of the home TV feed of the LA Dodgers towards the visiting TV feed is commendable.
I look forward to tomorrow night's show.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Director's Dream

Tonight's game was the type of contest that TV baseball Directors love.
From the time we went to air at 7:00 for our 15 minute open until we signed off for the post-game show, this telecast had a great "feel" to it.
The theme of the four segment open was the number 5. Each segment of the open addressed the number 5 differently.
I have worked with our Producer, Mike, for 17 of the past 23 years and this was my favorite 4-segment open that Mike ever produced. The open flowed, the open "worked", and the open set the tone for the rest of the telecast.
The open was brilliant!
The game was a Director's dream.
The flow of the game is determined by the pitcher.
The flow of the telecast is determined by the Producer.
When the pitcher and the Producer are clicking, the Director is in for a great night.
Tonight, Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and Cardinals Producer Mike Helling both clicked!
I had a blast.
When there is a great flow to the show, that means that the shots are always there.
The shots were there tonight.
Every member of the crew "feels" the flow. When every crew member is riding a great flow to the show, the quality of the telecast is fantastic.
This was the best telecast we have had in years.
A Director's dream come true.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Great Show

There was a great flow to the show tonight.
Thanks to Mike, our Producer.
We all realize that sales items, promos and drop-ins are very important in that they help pay for the telecast.
These shows cost about $40,000 each - thus the necessity of sales items.
The video portion of a telecast includes live game cut, graphics, replays, flashbacks and sales items. These five video "examples" all play an equal part in determining the quality of the telecast.
Therefore, each of these video "examples" must be game specific.
The game cut must never use "wasted" shots.
Graphics must all be game related.
Replays should always be important when covering the game.
Flashbacks have to be game specific.
All sales items must be game related in order to be effective to the consumer.
There are many obvious game-related sales items during a baseball telecast.
Batting orders, pitcher's stats, defenses and "this day in baseball history" are all examples of game-related sales items.
Sales departments have a tough job because every possible baseball related item in a telecast has been sold.
Now TV sports sales departments have expanded to sales elements that have nothing to do with the game itself.
These elements take away from the game and distract the viewers.
These elements put even more pressure on the Producer who "directs traffic" during the show to give the viewer the best possible viewing experience.
The Producer cannot control the pace of the game but the Producer does control the pace of the telecast.
Every frame of video must be game related in order to insure a good flow to the show.
Cardinals fans are lucky that the Producer of Cardinals baseball is the best in baseball at controlling the flow to a show.
Great show Mike.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Between Innings

In previous blogs, I have written that a goal of our telecast is to air something that the fans in the ballpark do not see. It is very rewarding when we capture something that only the viewers witness.
The best time to capture this goal is between innings.
The best area of the ballpark to succeed in this quest is the dugout.
An aspect of the St. Louis Cardinals TV camera crew that I am most proud is the fact that these operators do not stop working from the time we go to air until we sign off.
Between innings offers every TV baseball crew the greatest opportunity to show our viewers something the fans in the ballpark do not or will not see.
We had a great example of this scenario last night and a couple of instances in tonight's telecast.
Last night, the Cardinals rookie pitcher was taken out of the game. During the following half inning, we shot him in the dugout talking to the catcher. The viewer at home could tell that he was asking questions and eagerly absorbing the answers. He then went to the pitching coach for more schooling.
When we came back from commercial after this sequence of events, he was talking to a veteran starting pitcher. Our color analyst picked up on this and our viewers were treated to a nice piece of baseball television.
Tonight, we captured the Cardinals shortstop trying to grip a bat after taking a bad hop ground ball off his thumb. He was unable to continue in the game and he was quite upset.
Another example of capturing our goal of treating the viewer to something the fan in the stands does not occurred in the visiting Cincinnati Reds dugout. Scott Rolen had returned to the dugout after hitting a homerun and one of his teammates was asking him about the at-bat. Major league baseball players are always trying to learn and this piece of video proved it.
The Reds won the game 9-8 and there were 29 hits.
Yet, despite all this action, the best video of the game occurred between innings.
Congratulations to the camera operators who never stopped working.