Thursday, September 30, 2010

Missing Cameras

On the St. Louis Cardinals home show telecasts camera 7 is the robotic camera located on the backstop directly behind homeplate. By a directive from Major League Baseball this camera cannot be lower than 10 feet from the ground. The primary responsibility of this camera is to cover runners which includes scoring all runs.
This camera was inoperable tonight so camera three which is located at mid-first base inherited these responsibilities. Camera three is the primary shag camera on our telecast and I really missed this function during tonight's telecast.
I considered using camera five which is located in the low first base (Cardinals) dugout, but this is our super slo-mo camera and I couldn't waste this camera on shots of runners.
(For a complete summary of camera responsibilities on the St. Louis Cardinals read my book, Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair (
I really missed camera 7 during tonight's game/telecast.
Tony, who is the camera 7 operator, took a handheld during the show and offered some great shots from around Busch Stadium. We used to utilize the roaming camera in old Busch Stadium during our telecasts and I really miss that camera as well.
Tonight's game was well-pitched and well-played and we had a great show.
But, I truly missed camera 7 and the roaming handheld (camera 8).
Every camera on our show offers a unique perspective to the telecast.
Camera 7 and camera 8 may offer the most unique looks of all the cameras.
I hope camera 7 is working tomorrow and I would like to add camera 8 for next season.
I am crossing my fingers.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is It Really September 29th?

The Cardinals beat the Pirates today in by the score of 4-1.
This was a well pitched, well played game.
Going into the 4th inning, the game was only :31 in length.
After six innings the time of game was 1:29.
The final time of the contest was 2:15 which is incredible for a late September game between two teams that have been eliminated from contention.
The game included some great plays and clutch hitting including a homerun.
There was a great flow to the show today as the pace of the telecast kept up with the speed of the game.
We were talking in the truck before the game about the Cardinals' lineup that included only one regular - Colby Rasmus. The rest of the batting order looked like the Cardinals AAA club from Memphis.
Because of this, we were expecting a typical game that occurs after the September call-up when the rosters are expanded.
Boy were we wrong!
This was one of our best telecasts of the season and this certainly was one of the best played games of the year!
Is it really September 29th?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The Cincinnati Reds clinched the NL Central Division tonight with a walk-off homerun. What great fun the Cincinnati TV crew must have had!
The Cardinals lost to the Pirates tonight by the score of 7-2 in one of the least enjoyable games of the season. This game/telecast was not very fun at all for our St. Louis TV crew.
The game had a fairly good pace until the seventh inning. Coincidentally, that was almost exactly the time the Reds clinched the Division.
Once the Reds won their game, the place and flavor of the Cardinals contest disappeared.
It was like the baseball Gods stuck it to the Redbirds.
The Cardinals took the field in the seventh inning after the Reds won.
The Cardinals pitcher who relieved to start the inning walked three batters and threw 32 pitches with 16 strikes and 16 balls. The nicely paced game drew to a halt as the half inning took over thirty minutes.
In the television truck, we always try to stay focused and sometimes the baseball Gods test us with an inning such as tonight's seventh.
With the season officially over and the game seemingly over, I must admit that I lost a bit of focus. I even committed a cardinal sin for all TV baseball directors - I missed a pitch.
This jolted me back into the proper mindset, but I relaxed, lost focus, and the telecast suffered.
The Reds clinch and the Cardinals' game becomes a stinker.
You tell me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Always Working

The Cardinals and the Reds each have six games remaining.
For the Cardinals to win the Central Division, they have to win every game and the Reds have to lose every game.
In other words, it will take a miracle for the Cardinals to prevail.
The most valuable members of the telecast team are those who never stop working. Just because the inning is over does not mean that "it is break time".
As I have written before, sometimes the greatest contribution to a quality telecast is found between innings.
From the 1st pitch of the season until a team is eliminated from contention, it is very easy for the crew to continue searching for the unique shot and memorable replay. Once the season is over for a team, the TV crew naturally will feel like their TV season is over as well.
They mail it in.
Not our crew in St. Louis.
We had a great telecast tonight.
The camera shots were crisp and clean. There were excellent replays especially from the super slo-mo camera.
TV crews joke about "mailing it in" but I believe that "mailing it in" would be hard work. Much harder work than covering the game in a quality fashion.
As I wrote in yesterday's blog, successful sports television crews MUST have the mindset of being in focus each and every telecast.
The quality of the show depends on this.
St. Louis fans should be proud of their local TV crew.
During every telecast, they are always working.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Mindset

Today, I completed my 23rd road season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
This organization travels in first class fashion.
The charters are wonderful. There is plenty of food and drink and the service is excellent.
We stay in four star hotels that can't be beat.
It is a privilege to be a member of the St. Louis Cardinals travelling party.
I enjoy working with the various crews across the country. These crews are filled with very talented and very unique individuals. It is a joy learning from these professionals each and every telecast.
I consider the St. Louis Cardinals travelling staff to be very good friends.
The cooperation from Tony LaRussa, his coaches, and the players is unbelievable. Because of our presentation of the game of baseball the players respect us and trust us. This trust factor may be the most important aspect in delivering a quality television product to the great St. Louis fans.
To be able to deliver quality baseball television for a whole season is very difficult. It is a grind. Every single member of our profession must get into a specific mindset for six months. There can be no wavering from this mindset or the product will suffer. This can be very difficult to do. The reward for a firm and steady concentration on the daily task of presenting television baseball is measured by the quality of the telecast day in and day out.
The most important factor in maintaining this very important mindset is that you "have to care" about your product.
I am proud that our St. Louis Cardinals television team cares and, indeed, loves covering Major League baseball.
There is one week left in our regular season. We have seven home games remaining. These games will be a piece of cake. The quality will be there.
The idea for this blog came to me after we signed off the air today in Chicago.
I felt this intense feeling of relief and satisfaction come over me.
The 2010 road telecast season is complete.
The 2010 road telecast season was successful.
The grind is over!
Thanks to our mindset.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Scare

Today's Cardinals and Cubs game/telecast included one of those scary moments that occur so infrequently that when they do the complete complexion of the show changes.
Cardinal's pitcher Blake Hawksworth was hit in the face by a line drive.
I was just about to take camera 1 live as it was shooting Hawksworth and just before I did Hawksworth rolled over and the very graphic picture of his distorted face appeared in the camera one monitor.
There was no way I could have aired that shot.
The ball had hit him in the mouth and his mouth was distorted in a hideous way.
As I write in my book, Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair (, this is the only instance in a live sports telecast that the Producer and Director can gather their wits and decide to air the shot or not. Every other decision we make is in a split second with no time to ponder the shot and it's importance to the telecast.
Like every other horrific injury on telecasts that I have been a part of, these ugly moments take the life out of the ballpark and the telecast.
The crew for today's show was a patchwork of TV techs from around the country. This game was a late add-on to our telecast schedule and, because it was on a saturday during the college football season, a crew was hard to find.
This crew was great!
Every member of this telecast contributed to a very good, clean telecast.
It is too bad that we were all involved in covering a very scary moment in the game.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Meaningful Game

The Cardinals are on fumes.
There are 9 games to play and the Cincinnati Reds magic number is 3 to clinch the division.
There were two pluses in today's game/telecast. The game was at Wrigley Field and Adam Wainwright was gunning for his 20th victory of the season.
I so enjoy doing games from Wrigley Field that I devote a chapter to this great venue in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair. (
Like Busch Stadium in St. Louis, it is an event to go to a game at Wrigley Field.
If every sports team in the country could figure out how to make going to the game an event, then every game would be a sellout or close to it. Pessimists say that you have to win before people will come to the game and thus this would become "an event".
My answer is the Cubs haven't won in 101 years and going to a game at Wrigley is an event.
Like every single game I have ever done at Wrigley Field, today's game was a blast to cut. The wind was blowing out and the place was electric.
Adam Wainwright was brilliant on the mound and picked up his 20th victory of the season. We were all very happy for Adam as he is one of the classiest men in the game.
Congratulations Adam!
Two more game/telecasts at Wrigley tomorrow and sunday.
What a great way to finish the road schedule for the 2010 season!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Good Times And Bad Times

Good Time:
Cutting the Cardinals/Pirates game.
Albert Pujols hit his 40th and 41st homeruns and Matt Holliday drove in his 100th run of the season. Rookie Daniel Descalso collected 4 hits in his second Major League start.
This all added up to a 9-2 Cardinals' victory.
Bad Time:
3:08 was the time of this contest as 13 pitchers were used during the game.
Good Time:
The flight from Pittsburgh to Chicago was a very comfortable 1 hour and 7 minutes.
Bad Time:
The bus ride from O'hare to the downtown Ritz Carlton was a very uncomfortable 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Good Time:
Staying at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago.
Bad Time:
Three straight 7:30am wake-up calls.
Good Time:
Cutting three Cardinals/Cubs games out of Wrigley Field.
Fortunately, in this profession the good times always outweigh the bad times.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One Good Thing About September Baseball

September baseball is the time when AAA baseball comes to the big leagues.
There is a huge difference between AAA and the Major Leagues.
I don't believe there has ever been a bigger margin between the quality of the big league player and the AAA player.
Granted, these AAA players are trying to make a good impression on the manager and the team and maybe this puts unnecessary pressure on the called-up player, but there is a huge discrepancy between these two leagues.
Pitchers become throwers and hitters become swingers.
There is one aspect that I do enjoy about September baseball.
Many players collect their 1st major league hit during this time.
Cutting a player's 1st major league hit is a blast. The look on the player's face is priceless and there are always great reaction shots from the teammates.
It is just such a great feeling when this memorable event occurs.
There was a "first major league hit" in tonight's game/telecast.
This was the best moment of the AAA game we televised tonight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Light Moment

Producing and directing live television sports is a high pressured job. We have one chance to capture a play in the highest quality possible. Thousands of split second decisions are made during every telecast.
Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we could have made a better decision.
Because of this scenario, it is the producer and the director who MUST insure that there is not too much pressure on the crew and even the announcers. It is our job to create the proper atmosphere in the truck therefore allowing the crew to perform at a high quality level.
This is why the screamers in our business NEVER get the most out of the crew. The screamers in our business are those with the biggest egos and the least talent. Period.
The trick is to not go "too far" with the lightheartedness and I admit that I have crossed that line a few times in my career.
There was an example tonight, however, that I made a comment to the announcers in their headsets that lightened up the mood during another frustrating Cardinals loss.
Because communication is so important between the truck and the booth that the audio system (called RTS) allows for the producer and the director to talk to the announcers and the announcers to talk to the truck without the audio going over the air.
Late in the game, Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit (Pronounced doe mit) had just completed an at-bat and I said to Dan (PXP) and Al (Color), "Do you know what Ryan Doumit's brother's name is?" ........."Duncan".
Dan started laughing (off the air) and Al suggested I write about this in the blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Truck Dream Telecast

Greetings from Pittsburgh!
At 11:39 this morning, I received a text message from my son who is a bug operator in the Twin Cities. His text read, "Had a truck dream last night".
On June 27th, I wrote about the "dreaded truck dream" in this blog. I remember how proud I was of my son when he had his first truck dream last winter. As far as I am concerned, one is not truly meshed into the live TV sports community until one experiences a truck dream.
During a truck dream, nothing goes right and there is nothing you can do about it.
Little did I know that my son's text message was a precursor to today's game/telecast!
This was a weird game to begin with.
It was a rain out make up against the Florida Marlins at 3:00 eastern.
Crew call was 9:00 and the "live" truck dream began at 10:15 when our duet operator hadn't shown up. A call was made and it was determined that the operator thought it was a night game. Fifteen minutes later it was discovered that our ENG camera operator also thought this was a night game. Unlike the duet operator who was on her way, the ENG guy couldn't possibly be to the stadium until 2:30. We captured some sound for the pregame show through the truck and the ENG guy showed up and shot soundbites for the postgame show.
This was only the beginning of the "live" truck dream.
With the first pitch scheduled for 3:10, we had three opening segments to fill.
The first segment recapped the series in which the rainout occured. The video recap with two lower third graphics was finally completed after four attempts.
The second segment on the starting pitchers was much more successful as the video package for the segment only needed three takes.
Our final segment was titled 5 in :55 in which we highlight five players who we think will have an impact on the game. After three passes the 5 in :55 package was completed.
Now we began recording the segments with the announcers.
We started with the third segment and after our 7th take this opening segment was done.
The second segment was recorded next in only 4 takes!
We were really on fire when we recorded the opening segment of the show.
Three takes and it was in the can!
Recording the batting orders and defenses was next. This process usually takes a good five minutes and never more than ten minutes.
We captured the Cardinals batting order and defense and also the Marlins batting order.
This took 15 minutes and we still had not recorded the Marlins defense.
At this time I implored the TV Gods to "please, please, please let us capture the Marlins defense in one attempt! Please!
We did it!
That may have been the happiest moment of the entire season for our TV crew.
Well not so fast.
After we aired the Marlins batting order in the bottom of the first inning we realized that the Marlins had changed not just the lead-off batter but the number two batter as well.
Things settled down after this but we were trapped in the dreaded truck dream for almost 5 1/2 hours.
Fourteen telecasts remaining for the 2010 baseball regular season.
Again, I beg of you TV Gods, "please, please, please no more "live" truck dreams." "PLEASE".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Well Pitched Game, Sloppy Telecast

The Cardinals beat the Padres today in 2:22 by the score of 4-1.
Adam Wainwright pitched a gem allowing 5 hits in 8 innings while striking out 7. This feat by Wainwright is even better than it looks when you take into the fact that the home plate umpire had the tiniest of strike zones today.
I have blogged many times that the well-pitched, well-played games offer the pace that is very conducive to a clean telecast.
Not today.
This was a very sloppy telecast today.
There was a whip pan and some bad cuts during action.
As the season winds down, the possibility of a poor telecast increases. Another reason is that football is starting and the local crew is starting to work with other Producers and Directors. The St. Louis home show crew has worked exclusively with me and Mike for the whole summer and now they are working on other sports telecasts with many other Producer/Director teams.
Each team has a different rhythm during a telecast and all crews must adjust to this rhythm as the show goes on in order to insure a quality telecast.
It does not matter that our home TV crew has done fifty straight baseball games with the same Producer and Director. Working with another Producer/Director team will have an effect on the regular team and the quality of the show will reflect this.
This is why, I believe, that basketball and hockey telecasts have a more difficult time televising quality shows than baseball. When you are in a city for baseball, there will be 3 or 4 telecasts back-to-back.
Basketball and hockey televise 2, 3, or 4 games a week in different cities with different crews. Kudos to my basketball and hockey peers for the fine product they put out show after show.
A difficult task indeed.
Baseball is much more of a grind than basketball or hockey. Every single Cardinals game is on television this season. The games that are not on ESPN or big FOX are on local TV. Including spring training, Cardinals fans will enjoy 155 games on local TV this season. The nice thing about this is that there are no off days on the road. It seems that when the Cardinals are on Saturday Big Fox, they are also on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
This is great because off days on the road are awful. If the team is playing, I want to be part of the telecast.
There are many off days on the road for basketball and hockey. When I did the NBA or the NHL, I never liked the off days on the road.
Again, kudos to my peers in those sports for their fine efforts during their respective seasons.
Speaking of the road, I am in Miami for a make-up rain out game to be played tomorrow at 3:00 local.
Hmm....let's Florida Marlins (eliminated)......3:00 Monday afternoon make-up game....and then on to Pittsburgh. Should be a fun blog.
Ah the glamour!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lots Of Action

The Cardinals beat the Padres tonight by the score of 14-4 and the two teams combined for 29 hits.
My favorite game to cut is one that features low scoring and good pitching. These games tend to have a good pace and it is easy to get into a rhythm while cutting the game. Every TV baseball director loves to get into a nice rhythm during the game/telecast.
Tonight's game featured season highs in both runs and hits for the Cardinals. This type of game in not a game that I usually prefer to cut, but I really enjoyed cutting this game.
As I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair (, The homerun cut is the most fun a TV baseball director can have during a game/telecast. Tonight, I cut three homeruns and even though two of the homeruns were hit by the Padres, I enjoyed cutting them.
The Cardinals scored 3 runs in the first inning, 5 in the second, 1 in the fourth, 2 in the sixth, and 3 in the eighth and I enjoyed cutting each and every inning.
Occasionally games with this amount of action can lead to mistakes due to over cutting. When there is lots of action during a baseball game, it can be very easy for the director to be overly aggressive. It is a mistake for a TV baseball director to try and match the pace of the game. A director can lead the announcers but a director can never lead the game. Take what the game gives you and cut accordingly.
The game ALWAYS tells the telecast what to do.
That's why this profession is so enjoyable. Follow the game - the game will tell you what to do. This philosophy does not entertain forcing elements into the telecast.
Following the game = a great flow to the show.
It's all about rhythm.
We followed the game tonight and had a great flow to the show.
Rhythm = success!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Planned Telecast

On July 31st, the Cardinals traded Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres and received Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians.
Tonight, September 16th, was the only visit to Busch Stadium by the Padres this season.
We have had our eye on this game for sometime.
The trade was our central theme for the telecast tonight. We highlighted each player during our opening segment and revisited the theme throughout the show with graphics and video.
We capped off the show with a video package during the postgame show that revisited each at-bat between Ludwick and Westbrook.
This show worked.
There are two very important factors that determine the quality of the telecast.
Preparation and communication.
These factors are both equally important.
The St. Louis Cardinals TV crew was more prepared for this telecast than any other show this season. This preparation enhanced the communication between the truck and crew and between the truck and the booth.
It showed.
This was a great telecast!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Microcosm Of The Season

This game was an exact microcosm of the 2010 season.
The Cardinals started out playing very well and then collapsed in the 7th inning.
The game ended in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the score 7-3. The last batter of the game (the tying run) struck out and the game, like the season, ended by teasing all Cardinals fans.
This game/telecast included the best shot of the year.
During the top of the fourth inning there was a routine groundball hit to the Cardinals shortstop.
Our super slo-mo camera operator, John, followed the ball tight. Very tight. The revolution of the ball in the air to the first baseman was perfectly in focus and absolutely beautiful.
The feed from the super slo-mo camera is recorded at three times normal speed and played back at normal speed.
John is a microcosm of our St. Louis television crew. The Cardinals are on life support being eight games out of 1st place with 18 games to play and our crew worked as hard as they ALWAYS do. Not one member of the TV team "mailed it in".
Trust me, covering baseball on television is very difficult. Every member has to be "on" for every pitch. The quality of the telecast depends on this.
Tonight was our 139th telecast of the season. Just because the Cardinals are basically "out of it", this is no excuse to "go through the motions".
I am proud of our St. Louis crew.
Top notch TV from game one through the season.
We owe it to the great game of baseball.
We owe it to the great Cardinals fans.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stood Out

Most telecasts have moments that stand out.
It is so rewarding for the TV crew when a certain play of the game is captured in such a way that the coverage stands out.
For this to occur all components of the telecast must come together.
Sometimes one of those components is luck.
In tonight's game/telecast, with the help of luck, we televised a moment that really stood out.
Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock was a guest in our booth promoting his golf tournament. Lou is always a great guest and tonight his involvement on or show was the highlight of the telecast.
When Lou retired from the game, he was the all-time stolen base leader in MLB history.
Our play-by-play announcer, Dan, initiated a conversation with Lou about stealing bases. The Cardinals' shortstop Brendan Ryan was on first base and Dan asked Lou to explain the art of base stealing using Ryan as an example.
For three pitches Lou talked about getting a jump, reading the pitcher, and leading off.
This is where we got lucky.
Ryan stole second base when Lou was explaining this aspect of the game!
Our first angle of the stolen base was a super slo-mo shot of Ryan's feet as he took off for second base. Lou talked of the cross over step and his analysis was spot on.
After a pitch, we aired a second super slo-mo look of Ryan sliding into second base.
Dan asked Lou why he always slid hard into the base on his steals and Lou stated, "I slid hard because I really didn't know how to slide". Lou then complemented Ryan on his slide and this sequence went down as one of our most memorable of the 2010 season.
This moment stood out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September Baseball

Televising September baseball can be very difficult.
The rosters are expanded and a great percentage of the teams are out of the running.
The St. Louis Cardinals television crew has been very spoiled. The team has had a great run and has been in contention in September almost every season during the past 15 years.
Tonight's game/telecast featured the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. This is one of sports' biggest rivalries and the games are generally exciting and fun to televise. In fact, the last time the Cardinals and the Cubs both did not make the post-season was 1999.
The Cubs have been eliminated and the Cardinal are on life support. The Redbirds are 7 games out of 1st place with 20 games to play.
During the game tonight, I noticed that some of the Cubs were just "going through the motions". The Cardinals were battling hard but seemed to be missing that intensity necessary to compete at the Major League level.
During the game/telecast, I kept thinking about my peers whose teams are out of contention and have been for a while.
Televising baseball can be great fun when your team is winning.
Televising baseball can be very difficult when your team is losing.
I admire those peers who continually deliver a good product as they televise their games despite covering a losing team.
Baseball is the most difficult game to televise.
If the team being covered is a losing team, the task is all the more difficult.
If the team being covered is a winning team, the task is a blast and although the game is the same, the task seems easy.
When your team is winning, September is the greatest month of the season for the television crew.
There is no month more agonizing than September if you are covering a team out of contention.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Forget And Continue

We had a sloppy telecast tonight.
But, all in all, this was a good telecast.
I make this statement because we did not let the mistakes snowball into bigger and bigger mistakes.
I believe this is one of the biggest problems for the less experienced members of our broadcast community. The less experienced members of TV sports production teams allow mistakes to effect them and their performance and, thus, the quality of the telecast suffers.
The members of our broadcast community with the most experience understand this "law".
This broadcast community consists of EVERYONE who is involved in a TV sports production. From the runner to the Producer, the most experienced members of our fraternity understand this "rule".
Mistakes will be made.
Keep doing the responsibilities of your job as good as you possibly can!
You can't stop the game and redo a play.
I would like to offer some advice to the less experienced members of our wonderful broadcast community.
Here is the best advice that anyone can give to a member of our broadcast brotherhood:
Don't make the same mistake twice.
Follow this advice and your contribution to the telecast will increase in value every show.
Off Saturday (Big Fox) and sunday (ESPN)
I will blog monday after the Cubs game at Busch.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Star Of The Game

As I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair ( each member of the telecast crew is equally important. Televising live sports in a quality fashion must be a total team effort. From the Producer to the runner, if any member of the crew has a bad game or even a bad moment, the whole telecast suffers.
My favorite game/telecasts are those shows where every member of the TV team contributes to a successful telecast.
We had one of those shows tonight.
It seems that every time we have a telecast of the caliber of tonight's show, there is one person on the crew who particularly stands out.
Tonight, that person was our technical director.
I admit that I am spoiled by the fine work of our home TD (technical director) and the work of our technical directors on the road this season has been exceptional.
Tonight's TD was flawless. He executed his responsibilities perfectly and it was a pleasure to sit next to him on this show.
Great telecast!
Great show TD!

Watching Baseball

It is just after 3AM and I just arrived at my room in Atlanta.
The Cardinals have a very important 4-game series with the Atlanta Braves this weekend and I am excited to be a part of it. I played in the Braves organization over 30 years ago and I really enjoy working Cardinals and Braves games.
I was thinking on the charter flight from Milwaukee about how lucky I am.
I have the greatest job in the world.
I love the game of baseball and I love being a TV baseball director.
I had to smile on the plane because I realized that what it all comes down to is that I watch Major League Baseball for a living.
For home games I get to watch the game with 7 cameras and for road contests I watch the game with 6 cameras.
I love working with the home crew. This crew holds a special place in my heart.
Working with the road crews in each respective city is very rewarding as well.
For the most part, I enjoy televising baseball from different cities. There are very talented TV technicians in every town and it is a pleasure learning from them.
I have often said that the greatest aspect of what I do for a living is that I learn something EVERY time I sit in the chair.
During tonight's uneventful game/telecast, I realized how lucky I am.
I am blessed and I am fortunate.
I watch baseball for a living.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Historical and Weird

Future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman collected his 600th save in tonight's game.
It was a blast to cut the celebration on the field after this great accomplishment. I even got a huge lump in my throat as Hoffman was hugging and kissing his three young boys on the field.
Naturally, we iso'd Hoffman during the final out and were rewarded with a nice reaction shot as he raised his arms in great relief and excitement.
It is always wonderful to be part of the team that televises historical games.
Every TV baseball crew member wants to be part of a perfect game or a no-hitter.
I will never forget Mark McGwire's 61st and 62nd homerun games. And on the final day of the '98 season he hit #70.
I have been part of a couple of no-hitters and it was a fantastic experience.
However, Hoffman ending the game with his 6ooth save capped off a very strange, very weird game.
During the bottom of the second inning, the Brewers had runners on first and second with nobody out. The batter hit a groundball to the second baseman and the Cardinals turned a 4-6-3 double play with the run scoring thus giving the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
However, the second base umpire ruled that the Brewers' baserunner went out of the basepath to take out the shortstop thus nullifying the run.
Brewers manager, Ken Macha, was ejected for arguing the play.
Ejection #1.
The Brewers fans were incredulous and the booing was loud.
After the first pitch of the bottom of the third inning, Home plate umpire Bob Davidson threw Cardinals' pitching coach out of the game for arguing the pitch which was called a ball. Replays showed the pitch was a ball.
Ejection #2
Later in the bottom of the third inning, a Brewers' batter hit a groundball to third and the throw pulled Albert Pujols of the base. He tagged the runner on the head but the first base umpire called the runner safe. Pujols argued that he tagged the runner and Cardinals manager joined in on the conversation. The first base umpire consulted with the home plate umpire and the runner was ruled out.
Replays showed this to be the proper call but the home Brewers crowd would have none of it and the booing became even louder.
During the bottom of the 5th inning, Brewers' outfielder Chris Dickerson was ejected by Davidson after being called out on strikes. He threw his bat and helmet which led to the ejection. Replays showed the pitch was a strike.
Ejection #3.
Before the start of the bottom of the 7th inning something happened that made this weird game even stranger.
Davidson ejected a fan from the game!
We talked in the truck and none of us had ever been witness to a fan being ejected.
Ejection #4
Twenty years from now, baseball fans will look at September 7, 2010 as the day Trevor Hoffman collected his 600th save.
Baseball fans will not remember how weird this game really was.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Best And Worst of The Milwaukee Dual Feed

Despite the fact that it is a dual feed in Milwaukee, I enjoy working with this crew and the dual feed situation is pretty comfortable.
We are in our own mobile unit which is very nice.
This dual feed is among the best in baseball.
I really like the crew in Milwaukee. They know the game and they work hard.
This crew is one of the best in baseball.
Unfortunately, the dugout camera locations are on the outfield side of the dugouts and are easily blocked by players or coaches.
These dugout camera locations are among the worst in baseball.
However, the mid-level camera locations are great. They are not too high and not too low.
They are among the best mid-level cameras in baseball.
I am not a fan of Miller Park. I guess I learned this dislike because of the Metrodome in Minneapolis. I was working on the Twins' telecasts when the when the HHH Metrodome opened in 1982 and there was not one day that I enjoyed working out of that monstrosity.
Baseball should be played outdoors.
Therefore, in my mind, Miller Park is one of the worst venues in the game.
I like the Milwaukee Press Room.
It is one of the best in the National League.
We store our equipment in the visiting clubhouse. Phil, the visiting clubhouse manager is a great guy and is one of the best "clubbies" in the game.
All in all, I like coming to Milwaukee.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Atmosphere 2

Greetings from Milwaukee.
After our game/telecast on Friday night, I wrote about how important atmosphere is to the success of the telecast.
The fans in the stands Friday night created the atmosphere that led to a quality telecast.
Today's game/telecast also included an atmosphere that was the main ingredient to this successful show.
However, this atmosphere was created in a different way than the electric atmosphere of Friday night.
Friday night's atmosphere was created by the fans.
Today's atmosphere was created by a player.
In the bottom of the 6th inning with the Reds leading 2-1, Matt Holliday was at the plate with two runners on and a 3-2 count. He fouled off a couple of fastballs and then the Reds' pitcher, Homer Bailey, threw a curveball which Holliday barely fouled off. The foul ball struck the catcher in the groin area and the flow of the game was slowed as the catcher shook off the effects of the foul ball.
(Before the curveball, I noticed that Bailey was shaking of the catcher's signal for a fastball - twice.)
When play was resumed, the catcher kept putting down one finger (they were using the first sign in the sequence) and Bailey kept shaking off the fastball. The catcher called time, went to the mound, and talked to Bailey.
I read Homer Bailey's lips, "I don't want a fastball", is what he said to the catcher. The catcher continued to plead his case and then went back to his position behind the plate. Bailey shook off the first sign for a fastball, the second sign for a fastball, and then finally agreed to throw that particular pitch.
Holliday hit a 3-run homerun and the Cardinals held on to win 4-2.
Up to that at-bat, there was no atmosphere in Busch Stadium.
The ballpark was downright quiet.
Totally different from Friday night when the place was electric from the first pitch on.
One swing of the at-bat changed that.
Busch Stadium was on fire.
The place was buzzing.
I knew the Cardinals would win that game when Busch Stadium came alive.
It doesn't matter if the fans create the atmosphere or the players.
There is nothing better for the television crew then when the ballpark is rocking!

Friday, September 3, 2010


During tonight's game/telecast I realized how important atmosphere is to the success of the telecast.
The attendance for the last three games of the road trip at Minute Maid Park in Houston was 22,068, 29,307, and 23,140. The atmosphere in that ballpark for those three games was disappointing but understandable. The Astros have never really been in the race after starting the season 0-9.
The attendance for tonight's Reds/Cardinals game at Busch Stadium was 43, 540.
Even though the Cardinals had fallen to 8 games behind the Reds after the atrocious road trip, our main theme for the show was to revisit the last Cardinals/Reds series in Cincinnati which the Cardinals swept and included a bench clearing brawl.
The main combatant for the Reds in that series was Brandon Phillips who precipitated the brawl by calling the Cardinals a bunch of "whiny bitches" among other things.
We addressed this issue in an opening segment. We came back from our last break of the open with open billboards, a shot of the packed Busch Stadium, and then a shot of Phillips who was batting second in the order for the Reds.
After the Reds lead-off batter flew out, I immediately took a shot of Phillips and audio opened the PA (public address) of Busch stadium as Phillips was introduced.
We expected the home crowd reaction to be negative towards Phillips and we were correct. There was a constant "boo" from the crowd during the whole at-bat.
When there were two strikes on Phillips, I had camera 3 (mid 1st) come wide to cover the explosion of the crowd in case Phillips struck out.
He did!
A great reaction was captured live and the atmosphere in Busch Stadium was electric.
After the third out of the inning, our Producer rolled out to commercial with the strikeout at normal speed with the audio being tracked.
A great roll out!
Phillips went 0-4 for the game and each at-bat was a blast to cut. The great atmosphere in Busch Stadium peaked during every Phillips at-bat.
The Cardinals scored two runs in the first inning and one in the second and held on to win 3-2.
This game/telecast would have been completely different in Minute Maid Park because of the atmosphere.
We are blessed that we have the privilege to cover Cardinals baseball at Busch Stadium.
For Cardinals' fans there is only one other venue that can capture the atmosphere of Busch Stadium.
Wrigley Field.
Busch Stadium and Wrigley Field are two of the greatest ballparks to cover the great game of baseball.
Because of atmosphere.
Off tomorrow for FOX game of the week. Next game/telecast is sunday.
Thank you for following my blog.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Three Similar Games, Three Similar Telecasts

A recap of the 3-game series between the Cardinals and the Astros.
Game 1:
Score: 2-0 Astros
Cardinals - 2 hits
Time - 2:00
Game 2:
Score - 3-0 Astros
Cardinals - 3 hits
Time - 2:21
Game 3:
Score: 5-2 Astros
Cardinals - 7 hits
Time - 2:38
These well-pitched, well-paced, low scoring affairs offered the Cardinals television viewers with almost no excitement at all.
The two run homerun that began the third game was about all the excitement that happened for Cardinals' fans throughout the series.
There is frustration in the TV truck as we try and try to raise the quality level of the telecast and we can do absolutely nothing to raise the quality level of the game.
Generally speaking, these types of games usually offer a great viewing experience for the fans watching on television.
I have never seen anything like this series in my 28 years of televising Major League Baseball.
I hope I never experience this again.
Off day tomorrow and then the Reds come to Busch Stadium for a three game set.
There is NO WAY this series will mirror the Astros games.
I can't wait.