Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Life

Usually a 3-0 game that ends in 2 hours and 21 minutes is a fun game to cut.
This is generally true for all well-played, well-paced games.
Most well-played, well-paced games are exciting and full of infectious energy.
Most of the time the TV crew will feel a tremendous rush from a well-played, well-paced game.
Not tonight.
There was no life in the Cardinals tonight.
The Cardinals were shut out for the second consecutive game. There was not one instance in tonight's game when there was even a moment to be excited about when the team was at the plate.
The Cardinals had the tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning but the game ended on a check swing strikeout.
Fitting for this clunker of a game.
As I have stated in earlier blogs, the game itself will usually give the TV production team something to enhance through video or graphics.
To put this game in perspective, the most telling graphic of the telecast was the updated score from the Milwaukee @ Cincinnati game. The Cardinals are chasing the Reds in the Central Division and are now 7 games behind in the standings.
Other than the updates from Cincinnati, this game offered us absolutely nothing in regards to building up this game/telecast.
It was like the baseball Gods were punishing the Cardinals for their lack of energy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Game, The Venue, The Dual Feed

First of all, let me blog about this game.
From a TV baseball perspective, this was a great game to televise.
The game was well pitched and well played by both sides and the time of game was exactly 2 hours.
This game moved and we had a great "flow to the show".
There were some technical issues early in the telecast but the EIC (engineer in charge) was on top of the problems and fixed them quickly.
These problems included no program audio to a camera and problems with Fox Trax. These issues in no way interrupted the quality of our show.
Now let me blog about the venue.
What did, however, interrupt the quality of our telecast was Minute Maid Park
When the pitcher has a well thrown inning, it is nice to shoot him as he leaves the field at the conclusion of the inning.
Don't try this at Minute Maid Park however. The security guards MUST enter the field IMMEDIATELY after the third out and their positioning on the field blocks the shot.
Also at Minute Maid, the third base coach for the Astros blocks the shot of the pitcher and the runner at first base by where he stands during the game. I realize that he has a perfect right to stand there and I make an adjustment accordingly. Camera 3 (mid-1st) is my pick-off camera on any attempt at first base. This weakens the quality of the telecast because camera 3 is my main shag camera in a dual feed.
Last but not least allow me to comment on the dual feed.
During a dual feed situation, the home show controls the high home camera.
This camera shows the defensive alignment of the team on the field.
I love to show the defense many times throughout the telecast but I am unable to show it when I prefer to because I don't control this camera when I am in a dual feed situation.
I find this very frustrating.
Also, the announcers like to talk about the defensive alignment and you can't blame them.
In the back end of a dual feed, I just can't show the defense when I want to.
I don't control camera 2.
I refuse to ask the home show to pan the defense because I do not want to tie up their production like ours is tied up in the back end of a dual feed.
I was told once that the dual feed was created because everyone "cuts the game the same".
First of all, this comment is insulting and secondly this comment is wrong.
The dual feed was created because it is a money saving venture.
I understand this and I live with it.
Please don't try to BS me that the dual feed is something else.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Camera 1

Camera 1 is the camera located in the third base dugout also known as low third.
In 1982, I ran that camera in the HHH Metrodome in Minneapolis for Minnesota Twins home games.
I enjoy watching and learning from other camera one operators across the country.
Like TV baseball directors, every camera operator has his or her own style when running the camera.
The camera one operator in Washington DC for the visitor's feed of Washington Nationals home games is Jimmy.
It was a pleasure watching this true professional shoot camera one. Jimmy never stops working. During the game and between innings he is always looking for "the shot".
The other camera one operator who really impressed me in the last couple of years is Amy who works in Cincinnati. Amy is now on the home show and I don't blame the Cincinnati producer and director for wanting her on their show. She is terrific.
In no way do I mean to disrespect other camera one operators in Major League Baseball. Most camera operators in our business are very, very good.
Jimmy and Amy have a different style than other camera one operators. They are very aggressive and have a knack to find "the shot".
I say this as a former camera one operator who was average at best.
My claim to fame as a camera operator was that my work was once specifically mentioned on ESPN's SportsCenter.
"Here is a look at Twin's manager Billy Gardner looking slightly dejected and slightly out of focus".

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tomorrow's Telecast

One of the most difficult tasks for any TV sports production team is to decide which themes for the days telecast should be addressed in the opening segment.
Do we talk about the starting pitchers?
Which position player is hot for each team?
What should this telecast spotlight throughout the game?
Many times the previous days game/telecast will give you a definite theme to cover in the next show.
Tonight's game did just that.
The Cardinals lost tonight's game 14-5 and it is my experience to tell you that a game such as this usually doesn't offer any clues as to what the major theme for tomorrow's show should be.
On a blow out loss such as this, it is usually a good idea to stay away from this game and look for a theme from another source.
Thank you Nyjer Morgan.
During the Nationals 6-run bottom of the eighth inning, Morgan went out of his way to collide with the Cardinals catcher as he scored.
A truly bush league play.
Tomorrow's telecast will address this a one of the themes for the telecast.
As we talked in the truck after this incident, it was stated that hopefully this play will fire the club up just as the Brandon Phillips comments before the series in Cincinnati ignited the team to a 3-game sweep.
Great job by the crew tonight and thank you Nyjer Morgan for giving us our theme for tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Washington Nationals' TV Crew

I may have a new favorite road TV crew.
This crew in Washington DC is good, very good.
The TD is excellent.
The camera operators work and know what they are doing.
Our Producer loves the tape room.
Audio and video mix and shade well.
The fox box operator is solid.
The duet operator is fast and on top of things.
Our announcers like the stage manager.
And the EIC (engineer in charge) of the truck is easy going and very, very talented.
Last night's game/telecast was an extra inning affair that lasted 4 hours and 35 minutes. The crew was sharp until the final out.
Tonight's game/telecast was very normal game with some intrigue at the end.
Again, a solid performance by these talented TV techs.
The quality of a television sports crew is measured in two ways.
Their performance and their attitude.
I have already blogged about the performance of this fine TV crew in Washington DC crew.
Now I will blog about their attitude.
I love this crew!
They are fun and they are funny.
They have a great time doing their jobs and you NEVER have to tell them something twice.
Televising baseball is a blast!
Some road shows are more difficult and less enjoyable than others. Don't get me wrong. I did not say that some road show are not enjoyable. I said some road show are less enjoyable.
I enjoy what I do as a TV baseball director.
I just enjoy my profession more in some venues than others.
Washington DC is one of those venues.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Highs And Lows

This game included some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any game I have ever televised.
The highs included Albert Pujols 400th career homerun. This historical homerun was a blast to cut. We have been expecting this memorable event to happen since Monday and were well prepared with graphics and flashbacks that really enhanced the homer and added quality to the telecast.
The top of the ninth inning provided an exciting high for Cardinals fans as well. The Redbirds were down 8-6 going into the inning in a time of the season where the team is almost in a "must win" situation.
The Cardinals scored 4 runs in the inning to take a 10-8 lead! This inning provided some exciting moments that we captured on the telecast. Namely, a Brendan Ryan at-bat where Ryan went from an 0-2 count to a double to deep left field to make the score 8-7 with runners on second and third.
A few moments later with the team and fans on an incredible high, Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday was hit on the hand by a pitch.
"Oh my God", I said.
Holliday was in obvious pain and every teammate and Cardinals fan were holding their collective breaths.
The next batter, Randy Winn, hit a two run single and the Cards led 10-8.
Another high.
After the commercial break, the lows began.
Holliday was replaced in left field and we were told that he was getting x-rayed.
Then with one out, the Nationals tied the score with a 2-run homerun.
Thing then got worse.
What is the worst thing that could happen to a Cardinals fan?
How about losing Albert Pujols to injury.
In the bottom of the tenth inning Albert suffered a sprained ankle trying to catch a foul popup by the tarp.
Albert finished the game but the injury did not look good.
The Nationals won the game in the bottom of the 13th inning and after 4 hours and 35 minutes of incredible highs and lows the game was mercifully over.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pittsburgh Baseball

I had a tough time tonight.
I tried and I tried but I could not find anything to be excited about during this game/telecast.
I wasn't bored. Baseball doesn't bore me.
I was in Pittsburgh - a city I like.
I just couldn't escape the feeling that I was directing "another one of those games " from Pittsburgh.
The Pirates are a young team that may be good in two or three years but right now I find them rather irritating to watch. Yes, they did beat the Cardinals in two out of three games in this series, but they are so hard to watch.
I see these young Pirates playing the greatest game in the world at the highest level in the world and I just want to scream "Act like a big leaguer!".
I don't mean to be disrespectful to these young Pirates because they are so talented. But c'mon, respect the game and act like "you've been there before".
Hey Pirates, you want to win?
You have some great young talent in the field.
You have a wonderful, beautiful ballpark.
You have some fantastic and faithful fans. (I know because I witnessed them in the early 90's)
Bring back the interest and enthusiasm of that winning era of Pirates baseball.
Erase the last eighteen years of futility.
Rid yourselves of those games that usually happen in your ballpark.
I love what I do. I love the game of baseball. I love cutting the game of baseball.
Change Pirates baseball.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Rarity In Pittsburgh

Top of the ninth inning, bases loaded, one out, leading 4-3.
Clean-up batter at the plate with the crowd going crazy!
I love cutting the game in this situation.
The batter pops out for the second out and the number five batter comes to the plate.
The noise is even louder.
Ball one.
Ball two.
Strike one.
Crowd on their feet cheering loudly.
Great fun is had in the television truck!
Play by play announcer, "He doesn't want to go 3-1 does he?
Swing and a miss, strike two!
Everyone in the ballpark is standing and cheering.
Here comes the pitch..........pop up to the shortstop, game over.
A game at Busch Stadium?
No. This game ended at PNC Park in Pittsburgh with the Pirates winning 4-3.
I haven't heard a Pittsburgh crowd this loud since the early 90's with Bonds and Drabek.
I don't like the Cardinals loss but the top of the ninth was a blast to cut.
Game on the line.
A raucous crowd.
A Cardinals loss.
A rarity in Pittsburgh.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Am So Fortunate

This blog will recap the Cardinals last three game/telecasts.

Saturday @ Busch Stadium: Cardinals beat Giants 5-1
Pitching match-up: Tim Lincecome vs. Chris Carpenter
Attendance: 44,477

Sunday @ Busch Stadium: Cardinals beat Giants 9-0
Pitching match-up: Barry Zito vs. Jaime Garcia
Attendance: 42,638

Tonight in Pittsburgh: Cardinals beat Pirates 10-2
Pitching match-up: Kyle Lohse vs. Ross Ohlendorf
Attendance: 12,393

How bad can it get for the Pittsburgh Pirates fans?
Take the top of the first inning for example. The Cardinals' lead-off batter walked and went to third base on a single by the Redbirds #2 batter. With the greatest player in the game coming up to the plate in Albert Pujols, Ohlendorf, who injured his shoulder, was removed from the game. Reliever Sean Gallagher entered the game and took as long as he wanted (by baseball rules) to warm up.
On the FIRST pitch to Pujols, Albert swatted a monster blast to deep left-centerfield and the Cardinals led 3-0 only nine pitches into the game.
The Cardinals then went double, walk, single and led 4-0 before an out was made in the inning.
Game over.
As the St. Louis Cardinals TV Director I am spoiled.
Win or lose, the game telecasts out of Busch Stadium are a blast to cut. The energy in the ballpark is electric and contagious. Our home TV crew gets pumped up for every Busch Stadium show because we know the fans will be "into it" and we want to capture that energy for our viewers.
We also realize that we are privileged to cover the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club because they are very good and always play hard.
The Producer and the Director for the Pittsburgh Pirates are two very talented individuals.
Pete and Jeff occupy maybe the two toughest chairs in all of television baseball. Yet, game in and game out, they provide quality coverage and entertaining television.
Being in a dual feed situation in Pittsburgh, I am able to watch their show and these guys are good! They are always upbeat and their coverage shows it.
PNC Park in Pittsburgh is my second favorite ballpark in the National League behind Wrigley Field. It excites me to think of what it would be like to televise a Cardinals/Pirates game out of PNC Park with a raucous full house.
WOW would that be fun! (Hint Hint Pirates management)
St. Louis Cardinals television baseball.
I am so fortunate.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fun Game To Cut

Today's game/telecast was a whole lotta fun to cut.
The Cardinals' starting pitcher, rookie Jaime Garcia, threw the first complete game shutout of his short career.
In my estimation, this performance today rates as one of the top two pitched games of the season for the Cardinals.
In my estimation, this telecast ranks as one of our best this season.
Garcia was in total control the whole game. In the nine inning complete game shutout, Garcia only threw 89 pitches and 65 of them were strikes.
Our Producer, Mike, was in total control the whole telecast. There was a great flow to the show the whole game and Mike capped off a great telecast with a rollout that showed another Cardinals' pitcher, Adam Wainwright reacting after he threw his first career complete game shutout earlier this season. This reaction was followed by Garcia's reaction when the final out was made today.
Great stuff!
During the game, the home plate umpire called a great game.
During the telecast, the camera operators were "on top of it" the whole game, the graphics were succinct, and the tape room was solid. I think todays' game/telecast included our best audio mix of the season. This was a tough day for the video operator with a mix of sun and clouds and the camera shading was excellent.
Sometimes the game is bad and the telecast is good.
Sometimes the game is bad and the show is bad.
Sometimes the game is good and the telecast is bad.
And sometimes, like today, the game was good and so was the show.
This telecast was great fun.
In Pittsburgh for Cardinals @ Pirates in a three-game series starting tomorrow.
I hope there will be more fun games to cut.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just What We Expected

This game/telecast delivered just what we expected.
Tim Lincecome, Cy Young award winner for the past 2 seasons, pitching for the Giants. Cy Young winner, Chris Carpenter, pitching for the Cardinals.
Also, as expected, we highlighted these two great pitchers in our two of our four open segments.
We pointed out that although Lincecome had never lost to the Cardinals (5-0) he had not pitched well in his last three starts.
Carpenter's performance at Busch Stadium since the all-star break was covered by video and graphics.
Lincecome's line: 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts and 1 homerun.
Carpenter's line: 7.1 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts and no homeruns.
Final score: Cardinals 5, Giants 1
The pace of the telecast matched the pace of this well pitched, well played game.
Just what we expected.
I thought that I cut a pretty good game except for the two "rookie" mistakes I made.
Twice I looked at camera 7 and said "Take 1".
Lucky for me there wasn't a whip pan, but I am embarrassed when I lose focus.
However, this was not the worst thing that happened during the telecast.
The worst thing that occurred during the show was that the dreaded "tape block" won the pool!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friends In The Business

There was really nothing special about tonight's game/telecast.
We had a fairly clean show with some great super slo-mo replays, but nothing really happened during the show that was truly memorable.
However, in the fifth inning, our EIC (engineer in charge) came to the front of the truck and told something that was truly memorable and, in fact, shocking. I now repeat what Sean told us.
"The game in Kansas City between the Royals and the White Sox has been postponed. Lightning hit both TV trucks and the stadium scoreboard. Both trucks are out of commission and the scoreboard doesn't work."
Mike, our Producer, asked the question that was on all of our minds.
"Is everyone OK?"
"Yes, everyone is fine," Sean responded.
This incident reminded me of what a small, close knit fraternity we are in baseball television. There are thirty teams in the big leagues and there about forty Producers and forty Directors that work the game of baseball regularly.
I know every Producer and Director in the National League and most of them in the American League.
There is a mutual respect between all of us in this great industry.
I consider many of my peers to be good friends and I enjoy talking TV baseball with many of these talented individuals.
We are all very fortunate to work in Major League Baseball.
Every baseball TV director has his/her own style. Every "cut" is different. I have great fun watching my fellow Directors cut the game and I always learn from their work.
I am very lucky to be a part of baseball television and I am very grateful to be a member of this wonderful fraternity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Second Best

The most fun a baseball TV Director can have during a game/telecast is cutting a walk-off win during a home game.
The second best time a TV baseball Director can have is cutting the game leading up to a possible walk-off situation in the game.
Today, I was fortunate enough to cut a game where the Cardinals were down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and two outs. To make matters even more exciting, the Cardinals entered the ninth inning down 3-0.
Needless to say, Busch Stadium was electric.
Our crew fed off this energy and our coverage of the bottom of the ninth inning was crisp and sharp.
With one out, the Cardinals hit back to back doubles to left field. The left fielder actually should have caught both balls. Our replays highlighted this fact with the final angle of each replay sequence being a super slo-mo look.
Brewers 3 Cardinals 1
The next batter for the Cardinals was hit by pitch on a ball thrown up and in. This really fired up the Cardinals' manager and energized the crowd even more.
When the game is on the line and the crowd is going crazy, the television crew is really feeds off this scenario and really gets pumped up.
Then, with two outs, the Brewers first baseman made an error on a groundball which scored a run and left runners on first and third.
Brewers 3 Cardinals 2.
The next batter walked to load the bases.
The Brewers manager than replaced his "closer" with Trevor Hoffman, the Brewers former closer who is the all-time saves leader in baseball history with 697.
We aired a graphic stating the Hoffman had blown 4 of the last 5 possible saves against the Cardinals.
Brewers 3 Cardinals 2, bases loaded and Busch Stadium rocking!
On the first pitch from Hoffman, the Cardinals batter hit a hard line drive that went foul down the third base line.
We showed a great reaction from the Cardinals' dugout on the hard hit ball and this look really stoked up the excitement level of the situation.
The Cardinals batter eventually struck out on three pitches and the energy level in Busch Stadium literally disappeared.
It is very rewarding to the television crew when a home game walk-off victory does occur.
However, cutting the game leading up to a possible walk-off victory is also a blast.
It's just second best.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Dog

The operator of our high home camera (camera 2) is Big Dog.
I write about camera 2 and Big Dog in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair. (www.cuttingthegame.com)
The main responsibility of the camera is to "follow the ball".
It is "how" this operator "follows the ball" that determines the quality of his or her work.
The most important determining factor of "how" this operator runs camera 2 is the framing of the ball in relation to the play on the field. The perspective of the ball to the field and the fielders is very, very important in determining the quality of the viewing experience for the fans watching at home.
The most common mistake that high home camera operators make is to go too tight. This mistake is no more noticeable than on homeruns. On the homerun shag, the operator must keep the ball and the ballpark in perspective. Too many times the ball follow is too tight because the operator is sure that a homerun has been hit. Then, the ball is caught by the outfielder and the too tight ball follow is a lousy shot. Ball follows on ground balls to the right side of the infield should include the ball, the infielder, and the batter. This is the best look for the television viewer.
Being too tight is not nearly as bad as those high home camera operators that pull back, find the ball, and then shag. Thankfully, these operators are few and far between.
I will put Big Dog up against any other high home camera operator in the country.
His framing is top notch.
He is baseball knowledgeable. (He knows the game)
It was a pleasure to watch his work tonight. I noticed his framing early and continued watching his work throughout the game/telecast.
His work was flawless.
Thank you Big Dog.
I learn from you each and every telecast.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Tale Of Two Innings

Today's game/telecast included two similar innings that were quite different.
These two innings were the top of the fourth for the Cubs and the bottom of the ninth for the Cardinals.
The Cubs scored 6 runs in the top of the 4th and the Cardinals scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th.
The Cubs sent eleven batters to the plate in that inning and the Cardinals sent ten batters to the plate.
During their big inning, the Cubs collected 6 hits with 2 walks.
The Cardinals collected 4 hits and 3 walks during their big inning.
The big difference between these two innings was the fact that the Cubs' inning seemed to take forever and the Cardinals' inning flew by.
The Cubs top of the fourth inning crawled and crawled and seemed like it would never end.
I didn't want the Cardinals bottom of the ninth inning to end.
There was no real flow to the telecast when the Cubs were at-bat in the fourth and there was a great flow to the show during the bottom of the ninth.
This shows me how much I have invested in Cardinals baseball.
When the team is doing well, it is a blast to cut the game. It is not that I don't enjoy cutting the game when the Cardinals aren't doing well, it is just that I don't have as much fun.
The top of the fourth inning set the pace for the game.
The bottom of the ninth set the pace for the next game.
Off tomorrow, I can't wait for Tuesday.
By the way, our video operator, Larry, did a fantastic job shading cameras today.
Sunny days with huge billowy clouds guarantee a nightmare day for the video operator.
Well done Larry!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Tuesday night's brawl-game between the Cardinals created an energy that carried over to the game on Wednesday. The atmosphere in the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati was electric during the series because of the brawl of Tuesday night.
Usually when the Cardinals and the Cubs square off there is a great amount of energy at the ballpark as well.
It matters not whether the teams are tied for first place or tied in the cellar. One club may be real good like this season's Cardinals and one club may be bad like this year's Cubs team.
Whatever the situation, you can usually count on an electric atmosphere when these two ballclubs meet.
Not last night.
After we signed off the air last night, our Producer commented that this certainly did not seem like a typical Cards/Cubs game.
The highlight of the telecast was the standing ovation Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina received when he came to the plate for his first at-bat. This ovation was a spillover from the brawl in Cincinnati in which Molina was a main combatant. We planned for this moment and opened the PA to hear Molina announced to the crowd as the next batter. The standing ovation was long and loud and was a nice moment in the telecast.
Friday, August 13, and the Chicago Cubs are done.
Stick a fork in them.
I remember thinking early on in the game/telecast that the Cubs were mailing it in. They were just going through the motions. Even though they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, I knew the Cardinals would win the game.
There was absolutely no life to the Cubs.
They had no energy.
I am off today with the Cardinals on FOX.
This may be good as I can conserve my energy for tomorrow's telecast of the Cardinals and the woeful Cubs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rhythm And Luck

Yesterday's game/telecast had a strange flow to it.
There would be a nice rhythm going during one inning and then I couldn't get into a flow during the next inning.
When there was no flow to the show I tried being more aggressive and I tried slowing down. There are times during a telecast where no matter how hard you try you just can't get that rhythm going.
However, I was lucky that there was a great flow to the show when the most exciting moment of the game occurred.
During the top of the fifth inning in a scoreless game, the Cardinals' Colby Rasmus hit a grand slam homerun.
When there is a good rhythm going in the TV truck, decisions by the Producer and the Director seem to always "work out".
You "feel" it and sometimes you just get plain lucky.
Just before the homerun was hit I isolated the high first camera (camera 3) on the Cardinals' third base dugout. The framing started with the batter (Rasmus) in the box and also included the dugout. I asked the camera operator to push to the dugout after the batter hit the ball. On the next pitch we got lucky and Rasmus hit his first career grand slam homerun. The reaction from the dugout was fabulous and the shot worked!
During this series, another Cardinals player also hit his first career grand slam homerun. In fact, four Cardinals players had all hit their first career grand slam homeruns at this ballpark with three being hit this season and one being hit last season. During pre-production, our tape producer put together a video package of the first three career slams. We added the slam hit by Rasmus to the package and aired this video adding real quality to the show.
Thank goodness there was a flow to the show during this exciting moment of the game/telecast because I am sure our execution of the moment would not have been as successful if there was no "flow to the show" at that time.
Off day today and the Cubs tomorrow at Busch Stadium.
Home shows always seem to flow.
I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Favorite Telecast

Tonight's telecast between the Cardinals and the Reds might be my favorite telecast of all-time. This is a bold statement as I have done more than 2300 TV baseball telecasts, but tonight's game/telecast was such a blast to cut.
Everything worked.
The telecast can never dictate to the game. The game always dictates to the telecast.
It is how the TV crew adapts to the game that separates the quality shows from the weak shows.
Tonight, the game kept giving and we kept adapting.
It was like the game was rewarding us for how well we adapted to it.
From the beginning of the telecast we were spot on in our coverage.
Our second segment of the open keyed on the comments of the Reds second baseman who called the Cardinals a bunch of "whiny bitches" and that he "hated the Cardinals". We accentuated this statement by showing this player making the last out of last night's game by striking out and we contrasted his play with the play of the Cardinals' second baseman who hit a grand slam homerun in the same game.
The game rewarded us in the bottom of the first inning with the Cardinals leading 1-0..
The Reds second baseman is also the lead-off batter for the club.
As he approached the plate for his at-bat, he tried to tap the Cardinals' catcher's shin pads with his bat.
One thing led to another and pretty soon both benches emptied and a full scale brawl erupted. This was not your typical baseball brawl with some yelling and shoving. This was a real fight between the two clubs and both managers were ejected.
During the fight, we aired video of other skirmishes that these two managers have been involved with as they managed against each other throughout the years.
Great TV!
The Reds went down 1-2-3 in the first inning.
The second batter for the Cardinals in the top of the second inning was Yadier Molina, the catcher who began the melee.
He hit a homerun on a 3-2 count.
During his at-bat, we isolated him into a tape machine and we isolated the Reds' second baseman into a tape machine.
The two angle replay was these two isos played at real speed.
Great looks!
This homerun was also our pitch-by-pitch feature.
Very effective!
TV sports is all about capturing "moments".
Sometimes the game will be very stingy in supplying these "moments".
Not tonight.
This game kept giving and giving and we kept adapting and adapting.
This was our best telecast of the year by far.
Every member of our crew contributed to this great telecast.
We nailed it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Shot

The best camera operators are always looking for "the shot".
From the moment we go on the air until we sign off the best camera operators are always looking, always searching, looking and searching for "the shot".
Capturing "the shot" during the big games is the most rewarding. Tonight's game was the biggest of the season between the Cardinals and the Reds who led the Cardinals by two games in the NL Central division.
What exactly is "the shot"?
"The shot" is when a moment of the game/telecast is captured in an exciting or unique fashion.
St. Louis Cardinals television has included many games throughout the years that have captured "the shot".
There was "the shot" of Albert Pujols in the Cardinals dugout telling John Rodriguez "You don't need that" as he took the bat out of J-Rod's hands and hurled it down the dugout steps. We read his lips, "You don't need that". This was during the tenth inning of a game with the Atlanta Braves at the old Busch Stadium. Sure enough, on the next pitch David Ekstein smashed a grand slam homerun and the Cardinals won the game.
There was "the shot" of Tony Larussa holding up four fingers and telling Kiko Colero, a relief pitcher to take four pitches and not swing the bat. On the second pitch, Colero swung the bat and hit a bloop single to right field. The look on LaRussa's face was priceless.
It was "the shot".
Capturing a moment that can be classified as "the shot" does not happen very often. Once a series is very rare and I believe that we are lucky if we experience "the shot" once a month.
There were no examples of "the shot" in tonight's game/telecast.
Then again, there was no looking and no searching for "the shot" tonight.
Even though this was the biggest game of the season for both ballclubs.

Rain, Rain, And More Rain

The game was finally postponed due to rain.
After a :55 minute rain delay to start the game, the teams played a total of 7 minutes in the top of the first inning.
After another 3 hours and 7 minutes of rain delay, the game was finally called.
The seven minutes of baseball television in the top of the first was some of our best TV of the season!
7 minutes of baseball and 4 hours and 2 minutes of rain.
Great fun.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Feeling It

This game/telecast did not start out the way that we hoped it would begin.
There was a 23 minute rain delay before the first pitch was thrown.
The pitching match-up of the Cardinals' Jake Westbrook and the Marlins' Josh Johnson was very intriguing. As we talked about the upcoming game/telecast, we were expecting a game with the wonderful pace of last night's contest.
We were correct.
Johnson retired the first 10 Cardinals in the game and Westbrook tied a career high with 9 strikeouts.
There were eight 1-2-3 innings.
In fact, going into the top of the ninth inning, the time of the game was 1:50.
The Cardinals trailed by the score of 3-2 going into the top of the ninth and scored two runs with two outs to take a 4-3 lead.
The first batter in the bottom of the ninth homered to tie the score and the Marlins eventually won the game in the bottom of the tenth with a walk-off basehit by Hanley Ramirez.
The total time of the game was 2:23 and this included a rain delay and extra innings!
Despite a few sloppy mistakes we had a good telecast that nicely captured some exciting moments in the game.
Cutting the homerun is a blast for every TV baseball director and there were three in this game including the first batter of the game for the Marlins.
The Cardinals' two-run rally in the top of the ninth was a blast to cut.
All walk-off hits are great fun to cut and tonight's was no exception.
This was another telecast that had a great pace, great action, and was great fun to cut.
Our tight centerfield camera operator (camera 6) had a great look at the walk-off basehit and his shot showed a great "feel" for the situation.
When members of television sports crews "feel" the moment great memories are captured.
Our final rollout in tonight's telecast was the camera 6 look at the winning walk-off play.
A fitting end to a nice telecast.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fantastic Flow!

Tonight's game had the best pace pace of any game we have covered this season.
Tonight's telecast had the best pace of any telecast we have aired this season.
Thank you Adam Wainwright.
Thank you Laz Diaz.
These two gentleman were the primary reason for tonight's 2:23 baseball game.
Wainwright worked fast and threw strikes.
Diaz, the home plate umpire, called the strike zone the way it should be called.
When the game is moving at a nice pace, the players make plays.
The pace of the game also determines the pace of the telecast.
When the telecast is moving at a nice pace, the whole crew contributes to the quality of the show. The camera operators make their shots and the replays are succinct.
The audio is sharper, the video is cleaner and the graphics are more poignant.
Despite the fact that we were in the back end of a dual feed, this was one of the best telecasts that we have produced this season.
During the game/telecast, I was thinking about how much this telecast felt like a home show. The comfort level of tonight's telecast was similar to the comfort level of our home telecasts.
A great show with a great flow!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Pool

Tonight's game/telecast was completely different from the first two game/telecasts of the series.
Tonight was fun.
This was a better pitched, (by the Cardinals anyway) better played, and had a good pace.
The most fun had by the TV crew was in the top of the ninth inning.
The Cardinals led 4-0 after one inning and 7-0 after two.
The score was 8-2 going into the top of the ninth and the game was basically over.
Why was this time of the game the most fun for the TV crew you ask?
Because of our pool.
The pool costs $1.00 to enter and you pick the exact time the final out of the game will be made.
If there are no winners, the pool carries over to the next game until there is a winner.
Tonight's game was game #7 in the pool (7 carry overs) and the total amount of the pool was $180.00.
Because of the pace of the game, we knew in the bottom of the eighth inning that there would be a winner tonight.
The beginning of the top of the ninth began at 9:41 and every time was taken until 10:00.
Our tape crew always buys 4 consecutive minutes and labels it the "Tape Block". So, naturally we all root against them. Tonight however, they made a mistake when they entered the pool and only blocked out only 3 minutes. They chose 9:47 - 9:49. Because of this, their leader Brian was forced to pick 9:53.
Wouldn't you know it, the tape block was on the clock for all three minutes with 2 outs!
The Houston Astros mixed in some hits and scored some runs thus eliminating the "Tape Block" much to the cheers from the production side of the truck.
All of a sudden the "Tape Block" leader was on the clock. The cheers were loud after every foul ball and after every pitch because the "Tape Block" looked like they would not win the pool.
The final pitch of the night was thrown at 9:53:57 and the fly ball was caught at 9:54:05.
The dreaded "Tape Block" was foiled by 5 seconds and the loudest cheers of the night exploded from the truck. (Our TD (technical director) was the winner.)
The Houston Astros visiting feed on the dual side were wondering just what was going on and when they were told of the situation they got a kick out of it as well.
The quality of the telecast does not suffer as everyone is into the game at that time as most of the crew is involved in the pool.
Great telecast and great fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Quote

Final score: Astros 18, Cardinals 4
Time of game: 3:19

Quote of day: "Is there a word beyond excruciating?"
Cardinals' Producer Mike Helling after we were off the air.

Enough said

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not Memorable

Usually there is a memorable moment in a game that we capture during the telecast.
The more memorable moments we capture during the game, the more memorable the telecast.
Sometimes the game delivers the moment and sometimes we create that moment in the TV truck.
Tonight's game/telecast did not include one memorable moment.
If there was one reason to be pleased with this telecast it was the fact that the telecast did not match the poorly played game.
In fact, in the bottom of the first inning, the Houston Astros made two errors on one play allowing the Cardinals to score the first run of the game.
I was happy with the game cut during this rare play and the replays were excellent.
Tonight's contest between the Astros and the Cardinals was an absolutely NOTHING game.
Tonight's telecast was very clean with minimal mistakes.
I have already forgotten about it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Knew

I knew the Cardinals were going to crush the Pirates today.
I knew by the third batter of the game.
On the mound for the Cardinals was Adam Wainwright who was 14-6 and had won 10 straight games at Busch Stadium.
The game did not start out all that well for Wainwright and the Cardinals as the first two batters for the Pirates singled to start the game.
Runners on first and second with nobody out and the Pirates #3 batter who was hitting .305 is at the plate.
What happened next I still don't believe.
As the late, great Jack Buck once said on the air, "I don't believe what I just saw".
The batter tried bunting the ball.
Not once but twice!
And on the second attempt, the ball hit him outside of the batters box and he was called out!
At that moment I knew the Cardinals were going to destroy the Pirates.
The Cardinals won the game 9-1 and the score wasn't even that close.
The Cardinals' ninth run typified the day for the pitiful Pirates. The run scored on a 2-out bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning.
This will be the eighteenth consecutive losing season for the Pirates.
I have great respect for Jeff, the Pirates TV director. He is always upbeat and he does a great job. I said to him during the game, "I don't know how you do it." His answer, "It ain't easy."
I am totally spoiled because of the success of the St. Louis Cardinals and I am very grateful that I have the privilege to cut their games.
There is a certain added quality sitting in the director's chair knowing that the team you cover has a great chance to win every night.