The Cardinals clinched the 2011 National League Wild-card with a 8 - 0 victory over the Houston Astros on the final day of the regular season.
This means two things to our Cardinals TV crew.
1 - Every game of the 2011 season was meaningful.
2 - We had the good fortune to cover the post-game celebration in the locker room.
However, this coverage had an odd twist to it. The Cardinals had to wait for over an hour for the outcome of the Phillies/Braves game which was in extra innings.
Fox Sports Midwest stayed on the air with the post game show during this long wait.
This patience paid off!
With two cameras in the locker room, we captured the celebration as it began immediately after the Phillies defeated the Braves.
Usually the celebration begins on the field so capturing this moment was rare indeed.
Covering these celebrations is a blast.
There is the usual mayhem with communications problems between the truck and the announcers in the clubhouse. Last night the ear piece of one of our announcers did not work and, despite the fact that the noise in the clubhouse was incredibly loud, the live coverage worked.
Every game for the season was memorable.
We covered a post-game celebration as the team made the playoffs.
The St. Louis Cardinals TV production team is blessed!
As the St. Louis Cardinals TV producer, Mike, and I were walking from the ballpark to the hotel here in Houston after our game/telecast, Mike made this comment; "I like the fact that we are still doing meaningful games as we are about to televise the 161st game of the season. In fact, I would rather televise a meaningful game than a game where the Cardinals are 10 games up and have clinched a post-season spot".
I couldn't agree more.
Televising the games of the past ten days has been great fun.
Staying on top of the action with my game cut during meaningful games is so much more enjoyable than cutting any meaningless game.
For the TV crew, a meaningful game keeps everyone alert.
The camera shots are crisper and the game cut flows.
Without argument, meaningful games are more enjoyable for the viewer as well.
The Cardinals are still 1 game out of the wild card with 2 games to play.
I can assure you that the fans of the wildcard leader Atlanta Braves are enjoying their game/telecasts with the Philadelphia Phillies as much as the Cardinals TV viewing fans.
I can also assure you that the TV broadcast team in Atlanta is enjoying the game/telecast as much as our St. Louis TV team.
I am truly looking forward to tomorrow's game/telecast.
It is 9:30 pm and I just arrived in my room in Houston as we get ready for the last three telecasts of the 2011 season.
I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (now available on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook) that cutting the homerun may be the most fun a TV baseball director has during a telecast.
After today's game/telecast, I would like to amend that chapter.
While it is true that cutting a homerun is great fun, I now believe that cutting the final out during a huge victory at home is the most fun a TV baseball director can have.
Today's home game against the Cubs is a perfect example of this scenario.
The Cardinals took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on a homerun by Rafael Furcal.
This 3 - 2 lead held up in the top of the ninth inning and the Cardinals prevailed.
There are many factors that are responsible for the excitement at Busch Stadium during today's game and, in fact, for the whole homestand.
On August 25th, the Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out of the wildcard race in the National League. And, the Milwaukee Brewers had basically sewn up the Central Division crown with a 25 - 4 run after the all-star break.
In essence, the Redbirds were "out of it".
Today's win combined with Atlanta's loss to the Nationals means that the Cardinals are 1 game out of the wildcard with 3 games to play.
That Cardinals play the worst team in all of baseball - the Houston Astros who are 55 - 104, and the Braves play the best team in all of baseball - the Phillies who are 99 - 60.
I am looking forward to cutting the final outs of the next three games.
I arrived in my door at 2:15 am Tuesday morning from Philadelphia and went right to be without writing the blog. Last night's game/telecast between the Cardinals and Mets from Busch Stadium went long and I again went right to bed when I got home.
Both game/telecasts were very similar. There is a play-off type atmosphere as the Cardinals continue battling for the Wild Card with the Atlanta Braves.
After the Cardinals defeated the Phillies on Monday, the Florida Marlins defeated the Braves in what could be considered a "miracle" victory. With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Braves leading 5 - 4, the Marlins batter hit a high chopper to third base and future hall-of-famer Chipper Jones lost the ball in the stadium lights! The next batter hit a walk-off 2-run homerun and the Marlins won the game!
This moment led to what I believe may be the greatest piece of video we have ever aired on Cardinals television.
At the moment of the homerun, our sideline reporter was interviewing Cardinals manager for post-game sound. The interview stopped when you could here loud cheering coming from the clubhouse.
The interruption of the interview was priceless!
During last night's telecast, we aired the interview while inserting a video box of the game- winning homerun coverage from the Braves/Marlins telecast.
We had a new TD last night who did a superb job.
There are so many different transitions and video keys to the FSN Midwest show that a technical director (TD) who is not versed on the show may have some problems. Not so tonight.
The Cardinals are 2 1/2 games out of the wild card chase with 8 games to go. They cannot afford to lose another game.
I'll tell you what - this makes for fun television!
The Phillies clinched their fifth straight NL East divisional crown tonight by beating the Cardinals 9 - 2. The Phils scored 6 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game away.
The 6-run eighth may have iced the game for the Phillies but the big 8th inning threw kerosene on the fire for the 45,470 fans at Citizens Bank Ballpark.
This place was electric all night long!
TV crews feed off that energy.
The St. Louis Cardinals travelling TV party includes the producer, director, lead tape producer and graphics guru. All other members on the remote TV production team are hired locally. In most cases, the members of the visiting telecast crew are fans of the home team.
Therefore, with the Phillies winning and on their way to another crown, the crew members on the St. Louis Cardinals feed were really into it. They were feeding off the energy of the crowd.
The camera shots were crisper, the audio was spot on, the cameras were shaded perfectly and the production was a huge success.
One of our best shows of the 2011 season!
Covering a clinching game for the opposition is certainly not as fun as covering a Cardinals' clincher but it is still loads of fun.
Thinking ahead on isos and planning shot sequences is a blast.
Our replays tonight were terrific , our graphics were succinct and to the point, and the rollout was sweet.
Each and every member of the Cardinals/Phillies telecast tonight contributed to a high quality telecast.
The Cardinals beat the Phillies 4 - 2 tonight in eleven innings.
This game delivered just what was to be expected.
If the Phillies win and the Braves lose, the Phillies clinch the NL East division.
If the Cardinals win and the Braves lose, the Cardinals move to within 3 1/2 games in the NL wild card race.
Early into the game the Braves were losing 11 - 2 to the NY Mets.
The crowd knew what a Phillies win meant and the energy in the ballpark was electric.
Both team scored in the second inning and the game was 1 - 1 going into the 8th inning.
With one out in the top of the eighth inning Yadier hit a homerun off of the left field foul pole giving the Redbirds a 2 - 1 lead.
The Mets threatened to score in the bottom of the eighth but the score remained 2 - 1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning.
With two outs and no runners on base Ryan Howard hit a pinch hit double to right field. The next batter hit a fly ball to the corner in right field and the Cardinals right fielder dropped the ball allowing the tying run to score!
Extra innings came with the scored deadlocked at 2 apiece.
The Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the eleventh inning and the Phillies threatened with the tying run on base in the bottom of the inning but did not score.
This was a great game/telecast to be a part of.
Two teams playing great baseball.
The ballpark was electric!
September baseball is either great, great fun or a complete drag.
For teams still in the hunt these games are exciting.
Take tonight's Cardinals/Phillies game - just what was to be expected.
It is often said that if you watch baseball long enough you will see something you have never seen before.
Tonight's game between the Cardinals and the Pirates is a prime example of that adage.
During the bottom of the 5th inning, the Pirates seemingly scored on a sacrifice fly. The Cardinals appealed the play at 3rd base and the runner was ruled out for leaving early by the third base umpire. However, our replays showed that the runner didn't leave early and the umpire missed the call.
Albert Pujols, the Cardinals 1st baseman made 3 errors in a game for the first time.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, the Pirate had runners on first and third with no outs. After a strikeout, there was a fly ball hit to the right fielder. The first baseman, Pujols, cut off the throw to the plate an tagged out the runner from first before the run scored and the Cardinals were out of the inning. Just a horrible baserunning blunder.
Apart from these oddities, this was an exciting game for the Cardinals fans. The Redbirds won the game with a two run ninth inning by the score of 6 - 4.
There was another close play at third base in the bottom of the ninth inning but, despite the loud boos from the crowd, the umpire made the right call.
An exciting game full of rare moments - fun indeed.
The Pirates beat the Cardinals in 3:01 by the score of 6 - 5.
The Bucs scored 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6 - 4 lead and the top of the ninth inning had me on the edge of my seat.
The Pirates had their All-Star closer, Joel Hanrahan, on the mound and things looked bleak for the Redbirds.
The Cardinals lead-off batter singled to right field.
The next batter was thrown out on a great play by the shortstop.
The Cardinals were down 6 - 4 with one out and a runner on second base.
The next Cardinals batter singled and the Cardinals had runners on first and third with one out.
The Pirates threw a wild pitch, a run scored, and the other runner advanced to second base.
With the Cardinals now down 6 - 5 the next batter walked.
With runners on first and second, the next batter hit a ball right down the first base line. The first baseman was guarding the line and made the play. The Cardinals had runners on second and third with 2 outs and the score 6 - 5.
I was on the edge of my seat!
With the great Albert Pujols on-deck, the next batter struck out on a 2 - 2 count.
This was a bad loss by the Cardinals but one of the most exciting finishes of the season.
Believe me, cutting the game from the edge of my seat is a blast!
The Cardinals beat the Braves in a must win game by the score of 4 - 3 in 10 innings.
There were many highs and lows in this game.
Low - The Cardinals were behind 2 - 0 after the top of the first inning.
High - The Cardinals scored a run in the bottom of the first inning and were behind 2 - 1.
Low - The score stayed 2 - 1 until the top of the ninth when, after the first two batters made outs, the Braves scored a run to go ahead 3 - 1.
High - The Cardinals tied the score in the bottom of the ninth after there were two outs.
Low - The Cardinals ran themselves out of the inning with a baserunning mistake.
High - The Redbirds won the game in the bottom of the 10th inning with a bases loaded sacrifice fly.
This telecast was spot on.
Our iso's in the bottom of the 10th inning captured the moment in quality fashion.
The mantra of a professional athlete is to never get too high and never get too low.
The same may be said for the TV baseball production team. Don't let the "lows" affect the coverage of the "highs". It can be easy to get down when your team is not succeeding. But this attitude will affect the quality of the coverage.
There were many highs as well as lows for our TV production team tonight. We didn't get too "down" with the "lows" and we didn't get too "up" with the "highs".
Chris Carpenter beat the Brewers tonight with a complete game shutout.
This wonderful game, this well-played, well-pitched, and well-paced game took 2:05 as the Cardinals prevailed 2 - 0.
Our telecast had a great pace the whole evening.
Until the top of the ninth inning that is.
We planned on doing our closing billboards after the first batter.
Billboards are an element of each telecast that helps pay for the telecast and are thus necessary.
The first batter of the top of the ninth inning, Nyjer Morgan, struck out after an 11-pitch at-bat and we went to our closing billboards.
During the billboard read, Morgan began cursing at Chris Carpenter and the benches cleared. We finished the billboard read and joined the fracas on the field.
Sometimes live television coverage does not go as smoothly as one would hope. We rejoined the action on the field and showed replays that clearly explained what happened on the field. Morgan was ejected which we showed live. The game ended with three more pitches and one of our best game/telecasts of the season was over.
Sales elements are a necessary function of every telecast.
The shot of the night during tonight's game/telecast occurred in the bottom of the third inning. Matt Holliday hit the second homerun of the inning for the Cardinals into the right field seats. The fan who caught the ball was seated next to what we surmised to be his father who we guessed was holding his grandson.
The crowd was already pumped by the first homerun of the inning by Jon Jay and Busch Stadium was rocking.
What was so amazing was that the grandson was sleeping.
The crowd was going crazy and the toddler slept right through the noise even while his father caught the Holliday homerun ball.
We kept going back to the shot throughout the game/telecast and the young boy was asleep the whole game.
Our announcers would periodically say "I wonder if that kid is still sleeping" and sure enough he was.
This shot was a wonderful sideline to the game and never distracted from the game coverage.
This was one of our most enjoyable telecasts in the past few weeks.
They are 10 1/2 games out of first place with 21 games to play.
As the season continues to move to the "meaningless" games stage, the telecasts become increasingly difficult to direct. Cutting meaningless games becomes tougher to do because, like the team, the telecast crew can lose the "edge" needed to deliver a quality product.
As I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (now available on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook) the TV baseball director, in order to deliver a quality product, must respect the game, the players, the fans, and the TV crew.
By respecting these different facets of the telecast, the director is able to maintain that edge to a certain degree.
Just as the best players in the Major Leagues are the ones with the highest respect for the game, their teammates, and the visiting players, the most successful TV baseball directors are the ones with the highest respect towards the aforementioned facets of the telecast.
This respect is absolutely needed as the baseball season winds down and the games become meaningless in the win/loss column.
The Reds beat the Cardinals 3 - 2 in 10 innings today in a game that lasted 3:26.
I was talking with a friend of mine a week or two ago and he told me that he was listening to a radio baseball game from the early 1970's and the announcers started complaining because the game was taking longer than 2 hours and 30 minutes.
I realize that the game has changed in the past thirty years and there are many reasons for the length of games today.
Certainly television plays a big role in the length of games because of the commercial time between innings.
Also, I believe, the umpires could speed up the game by calling the strike zone the way it is meant to be called.
Pitching is the name of the game when it comes to the pace of the game. There are just too many pitchers who do not or cannot throw strikes.
"Specialty" pitchers also contribute to the length of the game time.
You have a 7th inning guy, an 8th inning "set-up" pitcher and a closer. Just look at the difference in the number of complete games in the 1970's compared to the complete games of today.
I know I am complaining about this wonderful game and the way it is played today, but I am complaining because I love the game of baseball and I don't like it when this beautiful game is disparaged because of it's pace.
The Reds beat the Cardinals tonight by the score of 11 - 8.
There was plenty of action in the 3:15 contest as there were six homeruns swatted during the game.
Tonight's game was our "This One's For You" telecast where we honor our brave men and women fighting for our freedom in the military. We had a hook-up with troops from Missouri who were watching the game from Bahgram Afghanistan.
This was one of those telecasts where the game becomes secondary.
It is an honor to be part of our "This One's For You" telecast and I am proud to be a part of our TV production team during this wonderful event.
At one point during the telecast, we had the wife of one of our Missouri troops live in the booth. We surprised her and her husband who is stationed in Afghanistan as neither knew they would be able to talk to each other.
I put the in a two-box so that they were on the air at the same time. This woman, who was celebrating her 50th birthday, was so wonderfully surprised that she started crying on the air.
This was one of the most touching moments that I have ever been involved with during my career.
With my eyes watering and a huge lump in my throat, I tried to cut this most memorable moment interspersed with game action. I could barely talk and, in fact, was whispering my commands to the technical director (TD).
The Cardinals beat the Brewers 8 - 4 in 2:57 today to complete a three game sweep and thus keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. The Redbirds are now 7 1/2 games out with 25 to play.
As I wrote in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (now available on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook), cutting the homerun is great, great fun for a baseball TV director.
This game had seven homeruns!
Homeruns are a good deal more fun to cut when the production team is not in the back end of a dual feed as we were today, but cutting the homerun is still fun indeed.
With 7 homeruns and 23 strikeouts, the pace of the game will suffer. This most certainly accounts for the 2:57 time of game.
I worked with a TD (technical director) for the first time and he was excellent! I especially liked his Minnesota Twins cap.
All in all, this was a pleasurable day in the director's chair.
That's right.....cutting a baseball game was fun.....again.
Tonight's St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers game/telecast was very entertaining for the Redbirds fans.
Too bad I butchered the telecast.
The Cardinals won the game in 2:34 by the score of 8 - 3.
There were many entertaining factors with this game.
Both lead-off batters homered to start the first inning.
There was some great defensive plays.
A Brewers' batter fell on his face rounding third base with a possible and probable inside-the-park homerun only to be tagged out. My cut on this play was absolutely awful. The viewer never saw the most important aspects of the play until the replay sequence.
I missed most of this marvelous game.
I could never catch a rhythm. There was no flow to the show.
This was the most entertaining game for Cardinals nation in the past six weeks.
The Cardinals beat the Brewers 2 - 1 tonight at Miller park in 3:12.
It will take a miracle for the Cardinals to overtake the Brewers this season as they are now 9 1/2 games out with 27 to play. But, this is one of the few games that have had ANY meaning in the past few weeks.
The fact that the Cardinals are not eliminated from the race put a little bit of importance to this game/telecast.
The Cardinals play the Brewers 5 more times in the next 8 days so, even though the future is bleak, there is a bit of meaning to these games.
I have stated many times in this blog that I am very, very spoiled. The Redbirds have been very successful for a long time. I have had the privilege of cutting Cardinals telecasts during maybe their most successful stretch in history.
All of us on the St. Louis Cardinals TV team know that the chances of post-season play for the Cardinals is slim.
But, the recent history of this organization creates a atmosphere of hope that the season isn't truly over yet.
The Cardinals beat the Pirates 5 - 4 in 2:34 thanks to a 2-run Lance Berkman homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning.
This well-paced game reminded me of Cardinals games from the not so distant past. It is true that the Cardinals have had better pitched and better played games than this contest but despite the average pitching performance from the starter and despite some sloppy defensive work, this game moved along very nicely.
I know I sound like a complainer but, to me, there is nothing more enjoyable in a TV truck than a well paced game. The TV production team is able to get into a rhythm and there is a good flow to the show.
There are moments during a season where "you just know" what is going to happen. I just knew Berkman was going to come through in the bottom of the eighth inning in tonight's game.
I just knew.
I set up a couple of camera angles for replays just in case my premonition came true.
Our replay sequence of the homerun was great and our rollout at the end of the telecast was spot on.
I have had the good fortune of directing St. Louis Cardinals games for many years. Many gifted players have donned the birds on the bat in that time.
Therefore, throughout my career, there have been many occasions where "I just knew.
In 1972, during my senior year in high school, our football team went 6 - 3.
One of our losses came by the score of 63 - 30.
The first practice after that 63 - 30 game, our football coach lined up the first string defense (of which I was a part) in front of the rest of the team and the B-squad. Our football coach, coach Busselman, pointed to the first string defense and said to the others looking at us, "I give to you the epitome of stink."
Now I would like to give my summary of tonight's Dodgers at Cardinals baseball game.
After the first inning the score was 3 - 0 Dodgers.
The Dodgers led 7 - 0 after two innings.
After 3 innings the Dodgers led 8 - 0.
Going into the 6th inning the Dodgers had a lead of 11 - 0.
The Dodgers completed their scoring with a 2-run homerun in the top of the ninth when a Cardinals position player was pitching.
The Cardinals finally got on the board in the bottom of the 9th.
So, with the score 13 - 1 with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th the Dodgers made a pitching change.
The Cardinals added another run and this 2:59 game ended with the score of 13 - 2.
Now please allow me to quote coach Busselman as I describe this game.
"Ladies and gentleman, I give to you the epitome of stink."
The LA Dodgers beat the Cardinals 2 - 1 tonight scoring both of their runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Chris Carpenter breezed through 8 innings and the game itself had a wonderful pace. Carpenter hit the first batter of the 9th inning and his day was done.
The bullpen did not come through and the Cardinals suffered their most crushing defeat of the 2011 season.
As I wrote in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (now available on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook), a TV baseball director must respect (in order) the game, the fans, the players, and the TV crew working the contest.
In order for the director to respect these different factions, the director must not become too attached to the team being covered.
Don't get me wrong, I love the St. Louis Cardinals. I wish they would win every game.
But if I become too emotionally attached to the team as I am cutting the game, I couldn't provide the best game "cut" for the viewers.
Trust me, tonight's game/telecast was very, very difficult to cut. As I cut the game, I need to make sure I don't get too high when the team is going good and I can't get too low when times are tough.
I must save these emotions until I am off the air.
Well, I am now off the air.
This was a terrible loss for all of us who love the St. Louis Cardinals.
The TV crews in every major league town are different.
They have different personalities, different senses of humor and different work ethics.
Some crews are a joy to work with and some crews are a pain in the ass.
Throughout my 28 year career of producing and/or directing major league baseball, I have met every type of TV crew member that you can imagine.
I have worked with the good guys and the jerks, the hard workers and the lazy ones, the creative members and the boring ones, happy and sad, healthy and sick, introverts and extroverts, the positive members and the negative ones, the optimists and the pessimists.
I have been on the same TV team with all these types of people throughout my career.
I must say that not only have I been on the same TV team with all different types of people, I have enjoyed being on that team and that may be the most important reason that I love directing major league baseball.
There is, however, one certain type of crew member that I do not enjoy having as a member of my TV production team.
The Pittsburgh Pirates home telecasts include a RF (radio frequency) camera.
Fox Sports Midwest, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, is working hard to include a RF camera for their 2012 home productions.
What a great tool!
The RF camera is successful in two areas.
The RF camera adds quality to the telecast and the RF camera captures the fun at the ball park better than any other tool utilized by the TV production team.
Thus, the RF camera sells more tickets than any other camera used during a telecast.
Perhaps each team should provide a RF telecast for each home TV production. Just a thought.
I believe that the home telecast should accomplish two goals: put the viewer on the field AND in the ballpark.
Putting the viewer on the field through proper camera and replay usage is the best way to judge the baseball coverage quality of each telecast.
Putting the viewer in the ballpark is another goal of the TV production team during a telecast.
(Both of these goals are equally important)
The best procedure for enhancing the ballpark experience for the viewer is with the utilization of the RF camera.
When the TV production team captures the play on the field with camera shots and replays and shows how much fun it is to be at the ballpark with the use of the RF camera, then the TV production is a grand success.
The Pirates telecast accomplished both goals tonight.
In order to keep on top of things during a TV sports telecast, the director must have the "edge".
The TV sports director cannot and must not lose concentration.
The TV sports director must maintain that "edge" at all times.
The director who televises the NFL must have the "edge" for 16 regular season games. These games occur once a week.
The TV directors for the NBA and the NHL televise approximately three games per week. Therefore, the "edge" must be maintained about every other day.
As the TV baseball director for the St. Louis Cardinals, I am in the director's chair for 155 games in a six month period which averages to about 26 games a month.
This presents a credible argument:
Is it tougher to maintain an "edge" one game a week, three games per week or 6 games per week?
I don't believe that any one sport is more difficult than the other when maintaining that "edge". Once a TV spots director is "in the chair", something takes over that pushes the director to perform at a high level of concentration.
That something is the "edge".
For the TV baseball director, once the season starts he/she must get into a specific mindset that is required in order to maintain the "edge" for a six month period. I do not enjoy off-days on the road because these off-days disrupt my mindset. I want to maintain my "edge" especially when I am on the road.
At home it is important to maintain that wonderful "edge" as I direct the game, but it is also very nice to give the mind a break from the "edge". Therefore, I find off-days at home to be very therapeutic. Ask my family and they will agree as well.
Off-days at home are nice.
Off-days on the road with my wife are also nice.
Off-days on the road alone seem to take forever.
I began a roadtrip to Pittsburgh and Chicago tonight.
I have an off-day in Chicago on Thursday followed by two off-days at home on Saturday (Big FOX) and Sunday. (ESPN Sunday Night Baseball)
I am not looking forward to Thursday and I can't wait for the weekend.
During a baseball telecast, the director is constantly making adjustments trying to develop a rhythm as he/she cuts the game. Adjustments are much more prevalent when the director is working with a road crew rather than the familiar home production team. Making the proper adjustments in developing a nice flow to the show is very rewarding. There is no better feeling for a TV sports director than when you have a nice rhythm going.
The same is true for the athletes on the field during a Major League baseball game.
The key to success for these players is their ability to make adjustments throughout the game.
Pitchers and batters must make adjustments during at-bats.
The most successful pitchers and the best batters make higher quality adjustments than the less successful players.
When adjustments are made by the players on the field quality baseball occurs and the game is a blast to cut and fun to watch.
Perhaps the most important person on the field that determines whether adjustments must be made is the home plate umpire.
Tonight's home plate umpire had an off night. This umpire had such an off night that neither the pitchers or the batters could adjust during the at-bats.
There were bad pitch sequences and terrible at-bats all night long.
This was an ugly baseball game.
When the actions of one person on the field affect the quality of the game then the game is in trouble.
It is true that anyone can have a bad night, (read my blog from yesterday) but it is truly awful when a single person's "bad night" ruins the game.
That is the summary of the Rockies/Cardinals baseball game from Busch Stadium tonight.
Tonight's game/telecast between the Colorado Rockies and the Cardinals was the perfect sort of game to deliver a crisp, clean show.
The game was played at the wonderful pace of 2:27.
Good pitching contributed to this well-played game. The only blip on the pitching radar for the Rockies occurred in the 6th inning when the Redbirds plated 5 runs.
This was the type of game that all TV baseball crews look forward to on their way to the ballpark.
It's too bad that the St. Louis Cardinals telecast of this game did not deliver for the viewers.
This telecast was as totally sloppy affair.
My game cut was the most glaring reason for this ugly, sloppy telecast.
The Rockies scored their only run with a 4th inning homerun. As you may know from my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (now available on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook) cutting the homerun is great fun for every TV baseball director. My cut on the Rockies homerun tonight, however, was terrible. There was no flow to the cut, the shots didn't work at all together, and I was embarrassed by this absolutely boring homerun cut.
Near the end of every inning, I plan my shot to break. Sometimes we roll out with video of a particular play from the inning and I don't have to plan my shot. Three times tonight I planned my shot to break and three times the shot didn't work. Once the Rockies manager moved out of the shot just after I took it and an ugly shot was the result.
The most effective shots to break are the ones that revisit, if you will, an important play of the inning. The other two times my shot to break did not work was because I did not adjust to a better shot that would have "revisited" the inning with a higher quality shot.
I was horrible tonight.
I was off a beat all game long and could never develop a flow of the show.
The Cardinals beat the Brewers in 2:34 by the score of 5 - 2.
Back to back well-pitched, well-played, and well-paced baseball games.
Now that is more like it.
We had a wonderful flow to the show tonight.
Our regular technical director (TD) was on vacation tonight and I worked with a TD that I had never worked with before. I didn't know what to expect as I arrived an hour earlier than usual to go over the elements with Brad our fill-in TD.
Brad was great!
Cool, calm, and collected.
I knew before we went to air that tonight's game telecast was going to run smoothly.
I hoped the game would follow suit and it did.
Even though I was confident that Brad would do a good job, I went into the telecast "pulling the reins" in a bit. I did not want to overwhelm Brad with too much too early.
I realized very early on that I could be aggressive in my cut and I was not apprehensive in the least to take chances.
I transitioned with one effect to a source and transitioned off with a different effect.
I transitioned from a shot with a lower third graphic on the air side to a different shot with a graphic from channel two.
This guy was flawless!
A great game, a great telecast, and a flawless TD.
After 7 straight games of three hours plus because they were poorly pitched, poorly played, and poorly paced, the Brewers and Cardinals played in a 2:22 game that included good pitching, playing, and pace.
The Brewers fans enjoyed the game/telecast more than the Cardinals fans as the Brewers won the game by the score of 5 - 1.
But because the game itself was one of the better played, pitched, and paced games in the past week, I believe Cardinals fans enjoyed the game/telecast much more than they have enjoyed the previous telecasts from the past week.
I am not saying that Cardinals fans were happy with the outcome of the game, I am just suggesting that the Cardinals fans are so use to well-played, well-pitched, and well-paced games, because Cardinals baseball has been so good for so long, that tonight's game/telecast was a welcome relief to the crap that has aired for the past week.
I admit that Cardinals fans and the Cardinals TV crew are spoiled by the success of the team but this success puts a good pressure on us, the TV crew, to deliver a memorable "look" at the game we are televising.
We owe it to the great Cardinals fans.
Poorly played, poorly pitches, and poorly paced games make our task much more difficult.
Tonight's contest provided us with a nice respite from the horrible games of the past week.
We were given a nice game to televise tonight and we delivered.
Today's game/telecast finally got underway after a 1 hour 21 minute rain delay.
The game was played in 3:23 and the Cardinals beat the Marlins 8 - 4.
The steady light rain that occurred throughout the game created a couple of almost comical instances on the field. Twice the grounds crew stopped play so that they could apply drying materials to the infield dirt. They did not do this by hand. They did it with motorized carts that had spreaders connected to the back of the vehicle. What I found so comical was that while the grounds crew was doing this, the players were all on the field in the rain watching. We are not talking a minute or two, we are talking 10 minutes!
The head grounds keeper did a fantastic job in a no-win situation. I don't know what they pay this guy but double it!
In my 24 years of involvement with St. Louis Cardinals baseball television I have never witnessed a more difficult roadtrip to televise than the trip we just completed to Milwaukee and Florida. This trip was filled with poorly pitched, poorly played, and poorly paced games.
After each game/telecast, we of the St. Louis Cardinals TV crew thought for sure that the next telecast would get better.
Unfortunately, each game was worse than the previous game.
As I have blogged before, every game as a principle moment.
Tonight's moment occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cardinals were leading 3 - 2 and the bases were loaded with 2 outs.
The Marlins best player, Mike Stanton, was at the plate and Cardinals rookie, Lance Lynn , was on the mound.
The count was 2 balls and 2 strikes.
I made the comment, "You know the count is going to go full" and our Producer said, "No, he is going to get him".
Lynn struck out Stanton with a blazing fastball and the Cardinals won the game.
I took tight shots of the batter and the pitcher to enhance the moment.
I was very lucky in the fact that the third base coach had been blocking my tight shot of Lance Lynn throughout the at-bat but I had a good, tight shot of Lynn before he threw the final pitch of the game.
Leading up to the final pitch I was hoping that the third base coach would move and I could get that effective shot of Lynn that I was looking for.
He did move, I took the shot and thus had a nice sequence of shots to capture the moment.
This was a nice telecast that was only enhanced when we captured the moment of the game.
As I stated in yesterday's blog, the Cardinals/Brewers game was quite unique.
Cutting the unique game was fun and I enjoyed it.
There was one aspect of this game that I failed to mention. The length of this game was 4 hours and 28 minutes - 4:28.
Yes, I admit that I did enjoy cutting this unique 4:28 minute game.
However, I failed to mention that this unique, 4:28 minute game occurred the night before a getaway day game.
After some sleep I made my way to Miller Park hoping, praying for a well-paced, well-pitched, well-played game.
The following is my summary of today's Cardinals/Brewers game telecast:
After 2 innings, the score was 4 - 3 Cardinals and there were 7 total hits in the game.
After 3 innings, the score was 5 - 4 Brewers and there were 13 total hits in the game.
After 5 innings, the score was 7 - 4 Brewers and there were 17 total hits in the game.
After 6 innings, the score was 9 - 5 Brewers and there were 22 total hits in the game.
Going into the 7th inning I was totally fried but still very thankful that both starting pitchers were removed from the game. After 6 innings the Cardinals starter had thrown 100 pitches and the Brewers starting pitcher had tossed 113 pitches.
The Brewers ended up victorious by the score of 10 - 5 and there were 26 total hits in the game.
I don't mean to complain because I love cutting the game of baseball.
Baseball can be the most beautiful sport in the world and positively invigorating.
Baseball can also be downright ugly and absolutely draining.
I prefer the former.
After the game, we flew to Ft. Lauderdale and I am now on my balcony at the Ritz Carlton looking at the water.
Tonight's Cardinals/Brewers game had a little bit of everything.
The Cardinals won the game 8 - 7 in eleven innings and what an eleven innings it was.
In the 4th inning, Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia hit his first career homerun and raised his season average to .089.
In the 7th inning, the Cardinals best player Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch on the wrist by an up and in fastball.
The Cardinals later tied the game 7 - 7 in the 7th inning getting one run despite having the bases loaded with nobody out.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Brewers best player Ryan Braun was hit in the ribs by a 97 mph fastball in retaliation for the Pujols hit-by-pitch.
The Brewers loaded the bases in that inning with nobody out and did not score.
In the top of the 10th inning, Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina, was ejected after being called out on strikes. Our replays showed the pitch to be a ball.
The usually mild mannered (but intense) Molina went ballistic on the home plate umpire and was ejected as well he should have been.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Brewers had a runner on third base with two outs and two of the best players in baseball due up. We speculated in the TV truck that the Cardinals might intentionally walk both of these players - Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. The Cardinals elected to pitch to Braun who was batting .375 in his career against the Redbirds pitcher.
Braun grounded out to third base on the first pitch.
With two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Cardinals slugger, Matt Holliday, reached first base on an infield ground ball. What was more surprising was the fact that Holliday then stole second base for his first stolen base of the season!
The batter at the plate was the National League's homerun leader, Lance Berkman.
Berkman, who earlier reached base with a bunt single, hit a Texas League bloop single to shallow left field and the Cardinals took the lead 8 - 7.
The Cardinals held on and won what may turn out to be their most important win of the season.
In turn, this could be a game that the Brewers look to if they do not make the playoffs.
A good victory for the Cardinals, a tough loss for the Brewers, a unique game for the fans.
Almost every game/telecast includes a "shot of the game".
This is the shot that everyone talks about the next day.
Did you see that shot of Albert when Holliday went deep? Did you see that shot of Berkman as he crossed home plate. Did you see that shot of LaRussa in the 6th inning?
You know what I am talking about.
That telltale shot of the game.
The "shot of the game" is a factor of the telecast that every member of the TV crew is striving for. The game will dictate the "shot of the game". The "shot of the game" may come in many different categories.
The celebration of a walk-off win.
The wonderful moment of an accomplished milestone.
A rare play and the reaction of the players to that play.
99% of the time the "shot of the game" is defined by a positive moment during the contest - a win, a milestone accomplished, a rare exhiliarating moment.
1% of the time the "shot of the game " will tell the story of a disappointing affair.
The Cardinals were beaten by the Brewers tonight by the score of 6 - 2.
Tonight's "shot of the game" was a shot of Cardinals starting pitcher, Chris Carpenter. Carpenter was cruising through 4 innings and unravelled in the 5th inning when he gave up 5 runs. The "shot of the game" occurred during that inning and it showed the sweat running off of the brim of his baseball cap. Our play by play announcer even said as I took a tight shot of his ball cap, "No folks, it's not raining".
Cardinals fans will not talk about any certain play from tonight's game/telecast. They will talk about the sweat running off of Chris Carpenter's cap.
I wrote in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (now available as an ebook on the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook) that the most fun a TV baseball director has during a game/telecast is cutting a homerun. I may have to amend that chapter to include cutting a player's milestone.
Albert Pujols collected his 2000th hit during tonight's game/telecast as the Chicago Cubs played the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
When Albert came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning we were ready in the TV truck.
The crowd in Busch Stadium was ready as well. It seemed like everyone in Busch Stadium was on their feet.
The energy was electric.
Albert doubled into the left field corner and the fun began!
The shots capturing this wonderful moment included Albert as he arrived at second base, a wide crowd shot of the crowd going crazy, Albert's teammates clapping in the dugout, a tight crowd shot of the jubilation, Albert's manager Tony Larussa applauding and a shot of Albert tipping his cap to the fans!
Our Producer, Mike, called a wonderful replay sequence of two swings followed by two real speed replays which were followed by a slow motion look at Albert tipping his cap.
Great, great sequence!
Great, great fun!
The fantastic energy of this moment was in direct contrast to the overall play of the Chicago Cubs during this game.
I remarked to our announcers earlier in the game that the Cubs had the worst pace of any team in baseball. From the pitchers to the batters in the box, their pace was embarrassing. They looked like they just did not want to be there.
Our analyst, Rick, commented on talk back (so the comment did not go out over the air) "They look like they are walking to the electric chair".
Watching as a fan in the stands or a viewer at home or at the tavern can be a scintillating experience.
Covering these types of games for television are what a television production crew loves.
There is nothing better.
That is the good.
Baseball can be real, real ugly.
Watching as a fan in the stands or a viewer at home or at the tavern can be a terrible experience.
At least the viewer at home can turn off the TV and the patron at the bar can play pool.
Covering these types of games for television create the worst possible experience for the TV production crew.
We can't turn off the TV set - we are sending the signal to the TV sets!
There is nothing worse.
Tonight's game was one of those awful games that comes around every so often. It is the responsibility of the TV baseball production crew to continue delivering quality baseball coverage despite games such as this one.
It is very difficult to provide quality baseball coverage when there is no quality baseball to coverage.
That is the ugly.
I made numerous comments on headset tonight about how awful this game was.
That was the bad.
As the TV director, I should have kept my mouth shut.
Everybody and his uncle knew this was a poorly played game. My comments certainly did not make a bad situation better. No, those comments made a bad situation worse.
The Cardinals lost to the Astros tonight by the score of 4 - 2.
For the Redbirds, the game was neither-well played nor well-pitched.
For the Astros, the game was well-played and well-pitched.
Hence the final score.
Game/telecasts such as this can really trap a TV baseball production crew. When the team that one covers is not playing well, it is easy to become almost lackadaisical during coverage. There is a tendency to stop taking chances with camera isos for replays.
The game cut becomes almost rote.
If this happens, the highest quality of coverage will NOT occur and the telecast will suffer.
Baseball is a game of "moments".
When a "moment" occurs, the TV crew had better be ready.
Despite the fact that the Cardinals did not play a very clean game, the Cardinals TV crew did not become lackadaisical and "mail it in".
It's a good thing we didn't because the game ended with Albert Pujols at the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning with the score 4 - 2 and runners on second and third.
We were ready.
Albert struck out on a 2 - 2 count and the game was over.
Our coverage captured the excitement of the "moment" and we delivered quality baseball television.
There was a homerun review in the first inning of the Astros/Cardinals game tonight at Busch Stadium.
Our replays showed that the ball did NOT leave the ballpark. In fact, we aired 2 replays that showed the ball did not clear the fence.
The umpires left the field for four minutes and returned rewarding Albert Pujols with his 23rd homerun.
I was happy that the Cardinals were given a 2 - 0 lead with that call but I still felt perplexed that the call was wrong.
The Cardinals are playing good baseball right now and the Astros are the worst team in the National League and are probably tied with the Seattle Mariners (17 losses in a row) with playing the worst brand of baseball in the Major Leagues.
My point being that the Cardinals were most likely to beat the Astros and didn't need any help from a blown call.
Now, I may not know the exact ground rules for Busch Stadium, but I do know that the ball did not leave the Park.
Like the first inning homerun review call, our telecast was a bit sloppy tonight as well.
The first bad ending occurred in the Cardinals/Pirates game. The Redbirds lost 4 - 3 on a walk-off sacrifice fly IN EXTRA INNINGS.
Getaway days are good. Extra innings on getaway days are bad.
The second bad ending happened after I arrived at Busch Stadium from the 3-city, 11 day roadtrip.
My son Brian was picking me up and the car he borrowed from a buddy broke down near the ballpark and wouldn't start. Since Brian was stalled 6 blocks from Busch, my good friend and TV teammate Keith offered to drive me and my luggage to the stalled vehicle to give it a jump.
How nice was that. He was gone for the whole roadtrip and his girlfriend came to pick him up. I know the last thing Keith expected to do was delay his arrival home. But there he was trying to help me out.
The jump did not work as the battery was completely dead.
Keith offered to stay until help arrived but I thanked this great friend and told him to get home.
I called AAA at 8;30 and they said they would be there "before 9:30". At 9:08 the AAA vehicle arrived and Paul, the technician, tested the battery and replaced it. He did a great job and we were on our way at 9:45.
I arrived in my door at 10:33 and was met by my beautiful wife Jane and Kirby "the wonder dog".
Most of the camera operators around Major League baseball know the players on the teams from their hometowns.
The best camera operators around baseball know the players on the team visiting their city. The immediate identification of the players helps the director develop a nice rhythm. The immediate identification of the players by the camera operators may be the most important aspect governing the "flow of the show".
Gerald Laird is one of the newest Cardinals players. He is playing in his first season with the team. During tonight's game/telecast, I asked camera 1 to "give me Gerald Laird". Not only did camera 1 located at mid-first base immediately find Laird in the dugout but camera 5 (Located in the first base dugout) also immediately took a shot of Laird.
For telecasts in Pittsburgh I am in the back end of a dual feed which means I have three cameras at my disposal and I share other cameras with the home TV feed which is the primary feed. There is a huge reliance on the three cameras relegated to our telecast. The higher the quality of these operators = the higher quality of the telecast.
The three camera operators that are on the St. Louis Cardinals telecast are very, very talented. There is always a great "flow to the show" whenever we are in Pittsburgh.
Camera 1 is at mid-1st base, camera 5 is at low 1st base (Cardinals' dugout), and camera 6 is tight centerfield.
All three of these operators are a pleasure to work with.
PNC Park in Pittsburgh was a complete sellout tonight for the Cardinals/Pirates game. Despite the fact that the Cardinals jumped out to a 4 - 0 lead in the top of the first inning, the crowd was loud and boisterous during the game. The Cardinals won the game 6 - 4 and the Pirates had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning.
This game was great fun to cut.
Even though PNC Park was full, the atmosphere was different than the atmosphere at Busch Stadium which is usually sold out.
The Cardinals fans are the best fans in baseball in my opinion. They always show there appreciation at the ballpark even to visiting players. But, I also believe that the Cardinals fans EXPECT a solid performance from the Redbird players and, thus, a victory both home and road.
The Pirates have not had a winning season for 18 years.
Imagine that. There is a whole generation of possible Pirates fans that have never experienced a winning season.
The Pittsburgh fans certainly do NOT EXPECT a Pirates victory.
But oh do they want one!
During tonight's game, the fans were most certainly urging the Bucs to victory. They so badly want the Pirates to continue the Cinderella season that they have had thus far. This is the latest the Bucs have been in 1st place since 1992.
The difference between the cheers from Busch Stadium and the cheers from PNC Park is this:
The Cardinals fans' cheers are cheers of confident expectation.
The Pirates fans' cheers are cheers of absolute desire.
The Cardinals fans "know" victory.
The Pirates fans "desire" victory.
I want the Pirates to finish above .500 this season.
I like the city, I like the ballpark and I like the TV crew.
I also like this young Pirates team.
This team, like their fans, will "know" victory instead of "desiring" victory soon enough.
I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair (www.cuttingthegame.com) about each crew member of a baseball telecast. Although each crew member brings something different to the show and is important to the success and quality of the telecast, there is no member more important than the technical director or TD. You cannot hide a bad TD.
That is why it is so nice when the TD is very, very good at his position.
Our TD in New York at Citi Field tonight is one of those great TDs in our business.
When the director realizes that the TD is exceptional, there is a certain comfort level that rises and a certain confidence level that rises.
I am not afraid to take chances because I know the TD will come through.
I know that no matter what I do as I am cutting the game I will not tie up the technical director. In these instances I can change my mind on a command to the TD at the last second and I know there will still be a great flow to the show.
I know with confidence that the TD will deliver.
Tonight's telecast in New York was clean and smooth and had a great flow.
I don't know why I am writing this blog since we had an off day today in New York City but I feel compelled to write.
For three or four days I love New York City.
Needless to say it is a vibrant and exciting place.
Anything that anyone could possibly want to do is possible in this city.
So what did I do today?
My good friend Jim Jackson, radio producer/engineer for Cardinals radio on KMOX, and I went to Central Park and watched a softball game for over an hour. It was a heated game that was fun to watch.
So with all the museums and sights to behold in New York City, Jim and I watched a softball game in Central Park. This is not as weird as it seems as Central Park is truly the ONLY place in New York that one can really relax.
I love Central Park.
Off days on the road are the worst. Being creative to make it through an off day is very important for one's sanity as one grinds through a baseball season.
You, therefore, should not be surprised that this was not the first time I watched a softball game in Central Park. My wife Jane and I enjoyed a similiar afternoon about 7 years ago.
I did have a wonderful seafood pasta dish with a fantastic glass of house wine for dinner in Little Italy tonight so I guess I am not a complete dweeb.
Thinking about the game/telecast and writing about the game/telecast is a great learning tool for me.
I would, therefore, like to write about today's game/telecast but something far more important has been brought to my attention.
A bad situation has been brought to my attention.
This Cardinals/Reds series has provided some wonderful entertainment for both team and their fans.
The Reds won Friday night with a 2-run walk-off homerun.
Yesterday, the Cardinals defeated the Reds mostly because of a superb, gutsy performance by their ace pitcher Chris Carpenter.
The Reds won the rubber game of the series today by the score of 3 - 1 in a well pitched game from both sides.
Now let me explain the bad situation.
One of the main responsibilities of the TV broadcast team is to sell tickets. Some may argue that selling tickets is the primary responsibility of the broadcast team and they may be right.
I know that our telecast yesterday sold tickets to Cardinals baseball at Busch Stadium. Our coverage enhanced the Cardinals victory (except for my poor cut during the games' biggest moment) and this coverage certainly sold tickets.
The TV coverage of the two victories by the Reds in this series certainly sold tickets for the Reds. In fact, I will be willing to bet that coverage of Friday night's 2-run walk-off homerun sold more tickets than any other game/telecast of the season for the Cincinnati Reds.
The final shot of that game featured an RF camera at home plate as the homerun hitter was met by his boisterous teammates.
Even though the Cardinals lost this game, this was the best shot on our air by far.
Just a great shot!
Just a great look!
Yesterday and today, however, I heard that a decision had been made by the Reds front office that the RF camera cannot be used on the field ever again in walk-off situations.
Wow - what a mistake!
The relationship that the St. Louis Cardinals TV production team has with the Cardinals front office is spectacular. We want to deliver a first class product for the team and we do. The trust factor we have with the Cardinals is invaluable.
I don't understand the thoughts of the Reds front office. Their TV production team is THE MOST IMPORTANT tool they have in representing their product.
To handcuff that tool is a grave mistake.
No wonder the Reds get 15,000 fans a game when they are in first place.
The Cincinnati Reds and their TV TEAM - a bad situation.
The Cardinals were leading the Reds 4 - 1 in the bottom of the 8th inning. There were 2 outs and runners on second and third. Both of these runners reached on errors so, in essence, the Redbirds would have to get 5 outs to end the inning. There was a 3 and 2 count on the batter.
Camera iso: The Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter who everyone in the TV truck knew would show some great emotion with a strikeout.
The pitch came in and the batter checked his swing. Rather than cutting to Carpenter immediately after the pitch, I went to camera 2 which went to the first base umpire for the appeal call.
Only there was NO APPEAL!
I immediately took camera 1 which was isoing Carpenter and caught the last part of his emotional reaction.
I messed up big time.
There is only one chance to capture the moment correctly and succinctly.
I missed that chance.
We had a very nice, clean telecast but I ruined the show.
Sure, we had the shot in tape which provided a great replay but I made a huge mistake.
For most of the game tonight, we were a half a beat slow.
Believe me, there is nothing more frustrating for a television sports TV crew than being "a half a beat slow".
Nothing is succinct.
Nothing is tight.
There is a terrible flow to the show.
During game/telecasts like tonight's, it does not matter if we slow down the speed of the telecast or we speed it up.
I don't believe this type of telecast was caused by the 4 day all-star game break.
Obviously the crew can't give in and give up.
You have to keep plugging away and not get too frustrated. I was going to say keep plugging away and not get frustrated but that would be impossible because there is a certain amount of frustration when the telecast is "a half a beat slow".
So the crew can't get TOO frustrated.
I tied slowing down my cut......didn't work.
I tried really slowing down my cut....still didn't work.
Finally in the top of the 8th inning (and I don't know why) we started clicking. We were no longer "a half a beat slow".
And it was just in the nick of time as Albert Pujols hit a 96 mile and hour fastball from flame thrower Aroldis Chapman for a 2-run homerun and a 5 - 4 lead.
Then, in the bottom of the 9th inning Brandon Phillips hit a 2-run walk-off homerun to win it for the Reds.
We were a half a beat slow for most of the show but we finally clicked.
The Cards won the game today over the Diamondbacks by the score of 4 - 2.
The temperature during the game was very uncomfortable and, in fact, as I was driving home after the game the temp hit 101.
Even though there were not many instances for the use of crowd shots to enhance the effect of the play on the field, when crowd shots were used they were not very effective. People were hiding from the sun.
I wasn't as sharp as I like to be when I am cutting the game. I occasionally drifted and many of my commands to the technical director (TD) were sometimes confusing.
The all-star break now starts so the Cardinals' TV production crew is off until Friday in Cincinnati. We begin our last 3-city trip of the season on Friday with games in Cincinnati, New York, and Pittsburgh.
I will be recharged after the layoff and I look forward to the second half of the season.
Almost as much as I looked forward to today's game - the last one before the break.
Every TV baseball director loves the "big moments" of the game/telecast.
There is a bit of adrenalin rush when these moments are at hand the the cut of the action is great fun. The walk-off homerun is the best example of a "big moment" but game tying hits and walk-off hits are included in this scenario.
As a big moment is unfolding, I believe the most fun is setting the iso's of the cameras for the replay sequence that will occur once the play is completed. Mike, our producer, and I will discuss certain isos as a big moment is unfolding.
As I just mentioned, the cut of a big moment is great fun but I also love the replay sequence or in the case of a walk-off hit, the roll out to break. Seeing these isos work gives a great feeling of satisfaction equal to the enjoyment of the live cut.
There were two "big moments" in our game/telecast tonight.
The Cardinals were behind 6 - 3 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. They scored a run to make it 6 - 4 and Albert Pujols tied the game with a homerun. The live cut worked and the replay sequence was great.
The fact that Albert was not playing up to his usual standard before the homerun really added to the importance of this moment.
Then, in the bottom of the 9th inning, the Cardinals won the game on a walk-off double by one of their rookies.
Two big moments.
One with the greatest player in the game and one with a rookie.
It just goes to show that "big moments" can occur at any time.
It is the responsibility of the TV crew to capture these moments in the best possible way.
Allow me to rewrite that previous sentence. Just two games remain until the much needed all-star break.
I am so blessed to be able to direct TV baseball for a living. I love the game of baseball and I learn something every time I sit in the director's chair. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. My love for baseball allows me to stay focused during every inning of every game.
There are times, however, when staying focused can be a difficult task.
I am beginning to fry just a tad as we enter the break.
I find myself struggling and almost fighting with myself to remain focused. I begin to notice things that I normally would not even be aware of. During a game/telecast, I am listening to the announcers and the producer outside of my headset almost exclusively although I can hear comments from the camera crew through my headset. I hear everything and am able to stay completely focused. However, for the past few telecasts I have heard from scources that I generally am able to zone out such as inane chatter inside the truck from crew members.
Staying focused when the game is on the line is not a problem. Those situations are the most fun to cut and the focus is there. It is when there is not much happening in the game that the mind can begin to wander and the focus can become cloudy. These are the instances where experience takes over and the focus remains solid.
We ran the first four segments of our open followed by opening billboards and another floater break before we threw it to alternate programming as we waited out a 1:06 rain delay to start the game.
The game began at 8:21 pm and was moving along quite nicely until the rains hit again during the top of the 6th inning.
A long night turned longer. In fact, with our 13 inning game the previous night, a long two days turned longer.
It was during the second rain delay that Mitch, the Arizona Diamondbacks director walked over and sat with me on our dual side of the TV truck.
Mitch is a great TV baseball director and I consider him to be one of the most creative people in our business. We talked for about a half an hour during the rain delay and I really enjoyed the conversation. We picked each others brains about directing baseball and I learned quite a bit from Mitch's philosophy on cutting the game of baseball.
After a 50 minute delay, the game resumed and the dud of a contest ended at 11:37.
I got in my door at 12:30.
As I drove home, I reflected on my conversation with Mitch and was somewhat energized despite the long two days.