Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Trend Continues

The Cardinals beat the Braves 5 - 3 in eleven innings.
The game took three hours and twenty nine minutes.
Yes, I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
I find true enjoyment when they win.
The Major League Baseball season is a six month, 162 game season. Playing this sport and televising this sport is a grind. One has to develop a mind set that will carry you through tough stretches during a season and the Cardinals are certainly going through a tough stretch at this time.
Every team in the game will go through tough stretches. It is how the team responds to these stretches that determines the success or failure of the season.
The same is true of the TV baseball production team.
The St. Louis Cardinals TV baseball production team is a successful team because we are able to respond in a positive fashion to the "valleys" of a season. We are able to succeed because our friendships are the very important to us. This is a primary reason why our telecasts are successful. We respect each other and like each other. We want the team to win and we hope the team wins but in the end our mutual respect and our true friendship are most important to us.
I respect and know that our producer Mike is going to give his all.
I respect and believe that our lead EVS (tape) producer Brian is going to deliver a high quality product.
I respect and know that Keith - our primary graphics producer - is going to produce high quality, entertaining information.
Win or lose, dud or exciting, short or long, the St. Louis Cardinals TV baseball production team knows that a "best" effort has been given by each member of the team.
And that is why we are so good.
And we are good.

3:59 am

It is currently 3:59 am in Atlanta and I have just entered my hotel room. I am not complaining because the hotel is the Ritz Carlton Buckhead and is very nice indeed.
In fact, this blog will have nothing to do with complaining.
The Cardinals beat the Astros 11 - 7 in a rather weak baseball game but Lance Berkman hit two homeruns, one from each side of the plate, and his performance greatly enhanced an otherwise uneventful ballgame.
Today's game telecast features two of the game's elite pitchers in Chris Carpenter and Tim Hudson. The Cardinals/Braves series of the past have always proven to be high quality contests as each team was led by two hall-of-fame managers - Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox. Bobby has since retired so it should be interesting to see if the quality of the Braves play has diminished.
Last night's telecast was a good, clean show that hopefully presented the game in a better fashion than the game presented itself.
Hopefully, today's show will prove to be entertaining and I will get to my room before 3:59 am.
Mind you - I am not complaining.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Angst and Directing

Today was a perfect, delightful day.
I had lunch with my good friend Jim Jackson (KMOX radio producer/engineer) and I was basking in the glory of my Charlie Sheen/Goddess encounter and photo op.
The first seven innings of the game were well-pitched and well-played and the Cardinals led 6 - 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning.
The Astros scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to make the game interesting.
The Cardinls squandered an opportunity in the top of the ninth inning and then, during the bottom of the ninth inning, the Astros scored 2 runs and had the tying run on second base with their best hitter at the plate.
The perfect, delightful day was now officially ruined.
The Cardinals had a rookie pitcher on the mound. Granted, this player had enjoyed some success at the big league level, but the situation was not ideal in any manner for the St. Louis Cardinals viewer.
The rookie pitcher struck out the Astros best hitter and the Cardinals won 6 - 5.
Give me a photo op with Charlie Sheen and The Goddess every time.
This game ending scenario does not compute in the enjoyment category.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pick The Highlight of The Day

In my mind, there were three highlights that occurred today that could be considered the "highlight of the day".
We have changed hotels here in Houston and we are now staying at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown which is in walking distance to the ballpark.
The first "highlight of the day" occurred when I showered in the morning. This was the greatest shower I have ever taken in the history of my shower taking. I now know what it feels like to be under Niagra Falls!
The second highlight of the day occurred during our telecast tonight. The Cardinals took the lead in the top of the ninth inning and lost on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. Cutting "walk-offs" is great fun (better fun if it is the Cardinals) but still exciting for any TV baseball director.
The third highlight is that I had my picture taken with Charlie Sheen and his remaining Goddess. I will change my Facebook picture to that photo hoping that this will in no way alter the vote of the followers of this blog as the pick the highlight of the day.
You guys choose.
I know my "highlight of the day".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Past Week

A strange week indeed.
The final game at Dodger Stadium ended with a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning by Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. This 2 - 1 victory was a tough loss for the Cardinals as they scored in the top of the ninth to go up 1 - 0. To make matters worse this loss was the 4th "blown save" loss of the season for the Redbirds. Still, from a TV baseball director's standpoint, cutting a walk-off homerun is a blast. As I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From The Director's Chair there is no situation during the game that is more fun to cut than the homerun.
Monday: Off day at home.
Tuesday: Game called because of rain.
Wednesday: Day/night doubleheader.
This was a very long day. The games were scheduled for 1:00 and 7:00. As I write, I truly do not remember much about these games/telecasts. What I do remember is the drive home after the second game and how wiped out I was. I am not complaining. I know how fortunate I am to direct television baseball for a living. I am blessed and I am grateful. However, after cutting two games in one day a TV director in any sport will be mentally spent. I did not want this feeling to carry over into Thursday's day game so I called our coordinating producer at Fox Midwest and asked to be relieved from directing the pre-game show for Thursday. Being a director himself, he readily agreed and became a bit refreshed knowing I was cutting the game only on Thursday.
Thursday: Day game on get away day for the Washington Nationals.
This was a strange game. The Cardinals won 5 - 0 and the Nationals collected only 2 hits. A well pitched game with a good pace. Usually a game such as this is exciting and fun to cut. The reason this game was strange was because even though the game was well pitched and had a good pace there was really nothing remarkable or memorable about the contest.
Friday: The Cardinals beat the Reds 4 -2 in a fairly exciting contest. However, after 6 pitches were thrown to start the game time was called and there was a 2:10 rain delay. Play began again at 9:28 pm and when the final pitch was thrown it was after 1 am.
The past week: A walk-off homerun, a rain out, a day/night doubleheader followed by a noon start, a long rain delay and another long day.
I am off today because of the FOX game of the week and I am off tomorrow because of ESPN Sunday night baseball. Monday is another off day as we travel to Houston.
I look forward to Tuesday's telecast.
I will be refreshed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

Wow! Another offensive outburst from the Cardinals. The Redbirds beat the Dodgers 9 - 2 and collected 13 hits. In the 27 innings of this series the Cardinals have scored in 16 of them. They have scored 29 runs with 48 hits in the first three games of this series. The last time a St. Louis Cardinals team was this hot was 1922. I wrote about "expectations" after last night's telecast. That same feeling was evident again tonight. As I sat in the chair, I expected each Cardinals player to succeed. This roll by the Cardinals proves that hitting is contagious. The Cardinals starting pitcher, Kyle McClellan, was special tonight as well. Because of the offensive success the team has been experiencing of late, we centered much of our attention on McClellan's performance. A very nice sequence which aired tonight was a piece which we called "McClellan on the black". We showed a sequence of pitches that McClellan made that hit the corners of the plate. "Expecting" good things from the ballclub creates a unique atmosphere in the TV truck. The creativity level goes up and the TV production becomes a bit more aggressive. Video packages seem to be more concise and the opportunity for more creativity increases. Covering a game when the chances for more creativity presents itself really keeps the TV team on it's toes and makes for a more exciting production.


The Cardinals beat the Dodgers tonight by the score of 11 - 2 and they collected 19 hits in the process. This was the sixth straight game that the Redbirds have score at least 6 runs and collected at least 10 hits. There have been many instances in my career of directing major league baseball that a certain player has been so hot that one came to "expect" something special to happen whenever this player was at the plate. Mark McGwire comes to mind in 1998 and for the last ten years Albert Pujols has filled the bill. Never before has a whole team fit into this category until now. Up and down the roster I "expect" something special to happen. Each and every player has contributed to the team's success day in and day out. The success of the ballclub on the field has spilled over into our TV production truck as well. We aired one of the coolest replays I have ever seen during tonight's telecast. Lance Berkman hit a homerun in each of his first two at-bats. We superimposed each swing from our ultra-mo camera and rolled each swing simultaneously. The swings were practically identical. It was almost impossible to detect the two different homerun swings. Very, very cool. I shouldn't have expected anything less.


The Cardinals have gone six straight games with at least 10 hits and at least 6 runs. Every member of the team is contributing. Occasionally throughout a season a certain member of a team gets on a hot streak and whenever that player comes to the plate he is "expected" to deliver. Certainly Mark McGwire comes to mind in 1998. Albert Pujols is "expected" to deliver something special every time he comes to the plate. In fact, someting special has been expected from Albert during his whole ten year career.

This is the first time that I can remember a whole team being so hot that each player is "expected" to come through. It is unbelievable how hot this Cardinals club is at the moment.

This "hot" team has had an effect on our telecasts as well. We aired the greatest replay ever (in my opinion) on

Thursday, April 14, 2011

National League vs American League

14 runs and 27 hits in 3 hours and 4 minutes. Cardinals beat the Dodgers 9 - 5. Lots of action. Oh great another American League type of game. Don't get me wrong. I realize how fortunate I am to direct TV baseball for a living. But I am a National League baseball fan. Give me the 2 -1 game with strategy. Sacrifice bunts, moving runners over, double switches, manager against manager. That is National League baseball. American League baseball uses designated hitters thus destroying any hopes of equalling the strategy level of National League ball. There is no comparison between the two leagues. Major League baseball should institute National League rules during interleague play in American League cities and American League rules during interleague play in National League cities. I think I know the reason that Major League baseball doesn't do this. If fans in the American League saw how baseball SHOULD be played (with National League rules) these fans would demand that the game be played with the strategies that are only possible in the National League. Likewise, if fans in National League cities had to sit through games with a DH and little strategy they would go berserk in frustration if they hadn't already laughed themselves silly watching this inferior brand of baseball. Tomorrow I will direct another baseball game between two of the greatest franchises in the history of the game - the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. I pray the baseball Gods give the fans a classic example of how this game should be played - the National League way. Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1. I can't wait.

Forgive Me

We televised the Cardinals 15 - 5 victory over the Diamondbacks tonight being (rarely) the only TV feed of the contest. The Phoenix Coyotes were playing the first round of the NHL playoffs and took precedent over the Diamondbacks. We had a good telecast in our 3:02 game but I must ask for your forgiveness as I write this blog.
We arrived at our hotel here in Pasadena at 1:40 AM. The time now is 3:52 AM. Tired as I thought I was, I waited for my suitcase as I perused the Internet. After my suitcase arrived, I prepared for bed and actually tried to sleep.
Sleep would not come.
There is always a bit of adrenaline that lingers after every telecast.
EVERY TV sports director feels the "rush" during the telecast. If a TV sports director tells you that there is no adrenaline rush during a telecast, then the person is either lying or a horseshit TV director.
I am still trying to figure out why I can"t sleep.
We had a good, clean telecast.
Yes, I had the adrenaline surge still working after the game.
Our bus left the ballpark one hour after the game (as always) and it was a short one hour flight to LA.
The bus ride from LAX to our hotel in Pasadena is about 30 minutes. I felt the adrenaline starting to wear off during the bus ride but, lo and behold, when I got to my room I went to bed hoping to fall asleep.
Didn't happen.
So here I am at 4:04 PDT still awake with no chance of a soon-to-be-sleep.
Please forgive me for this boring blog.
Maybe if I read it I will fall asleep.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This game hurt.
The Cardinals lost 13 - 8 in 3 hours and 18 minutes.
The Diamondbacks scored their 13 runs in each of the first 6 innings.
The Cardinals scored their 8 runs in four of the first 6 innings.
Going into the bottom of the seventh inning 299 pitches had been thrown. During the 2011 season, the average number of pitches thrown in a major league game was 292. At the completion of this abomination, there were a total of 346 pitches.
It is so important to focus on each and every pitch during a game that games such as the one tonight can really wear every member of the TV crew down. Even though it is early in the season games such as this one can really "fry" a director. I was wiped out by the end of the telecast.
Not only was the game poorly pitched but there were also two long delays during the game. In the bottom of the third inning the Diamondbacks manager was ejected after a lengthy argument with the home plate umpire.
During the bottom of the seventh inning, the Cardinals pitcher suffered a pulled groin after a pitch and the new pitcher was allowed all the time in the world to warm up.
And believe me he used it.
Trust me, I love the game of baseball.
I am the luckiest guy in the world being a TV baseball director.
I look forward to going to the ballpark everyday to cover the game.
Sometimes the game can invigorate you so that the adrenaline doesn't wear off for hours after a telecast and sometimes the game can "wear you out".
Tonight was one of those contests.

Monday, April 11, 2011


One of the most interesting aspects of this profession is the amount of adjusting one has to do between each and every venue on the road. Yesterday we televised from San Francisco which is one of my favorite places to direct baseball in the National League. I am so impressed with the San Francisco "road crew" that I write about them in my book Cutting the Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair. Indeed, the telecasts from the bay area were clean, the crew worked hard, and the shows were a success. Our telecast from Phoenix tonight was also a success. The truck "worked". The crew worked hard and was very good. When travelling on the road for television sports and I believe that this is true for every sport - the TV production team MUST adjust to three things. 1 - the mobile unit. 2 - the crew. 3 - the venue. Every truck is different. From the monitor wall to the intercom system to the layout, each and every remote television production unit is unique. Every crew is different. In fact, every member of each crew is different. The TV sports director MUST adjust to each crew member in order to insure a quality telecast. Each and every TV director in each and every sport must adjust to the venue that the event is taking place in as well. For example, it is completely different televising out of Wrigley Field in Chicago than it is to televise out of Minute Maid Park in Houston. This is interesting because quality television is much easier to accomplish in Wrigley Field which was built in 1914 (BEFORE TELEVISION) than Minute Maid park which opened on 2000. But that is a matter for another blog. The TV sports director is adjusting to the truck, the crew, and the venue during each telecast. As the director is performing this "juggling" act he/she is also "cutting the game" which requires adjustments continually throughout the contest. It is the adjustments that each game requires that make directing TV sports so demanding. Adjusting to the demands of the game to insure quality television is also what makes our profession so rewarding.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another Hard Loss

Seven games into the season and the Cardinals have suffered three heart breaking losses. Once a month - maybe, but not three times in the first week. I love covering baseball on television for a living. I am blessed to have such a position and I am very grateful for it. This is my 24th season of covering St. Louis Cardinals baseball on television. The Cardinals are the most storied organization in the National League. When a person thinks of the most storied franchises in the big leagues, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees always come to mind. It is a privilege to cover this great organization. As a major league TV baseball director, I have 4 major responsibilities: 1 - respect the game 2 - respect the players 3 - respect the organization 4 - respect the viewer. The game, the players, the organization, and the viewer are all equally important. One is not more important than another. After tonight's tough loss, I was thinking about these responsibilities as I walked from AT & T Park to my hotel. I realized that #1 I am a fan of the game. I love the game of baseball. I have a real respect for the athletes that play this game at such a high level. I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful organization and I am thrilled to present St. Louis Cardinals baseball to the knowledgeable fans that make up Cardinal Nation. During moments when the Cardinals lose in a awful way I must remain focused as I cut the action on the field. Trust me, there is nothing more difficult than cutting the game during a difficult loss. I know - I have done it three times this week.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Giants 5, Cardinals 4 12 Innings Two of the best closers in the game each blow ninth inning leads with 2 outs and nobody on! The Cardinals employ a 5-man infield in the bottom of the 11th inning after the Giants have a runner on third base with nobody out. They don't score! This was maybe the strangest game I have ever been involved with as I enter my 24th season of Cardinals baseball and my 29th season of major league baseball television. As everyone in our business will attest, extra innings generally suck. But, because this game was so unique, this was one of those games that the extra innings were those innings that provided the most "wows" of the telecast. What constitutes a "wow" for a telecast can include great defense, clutch hitting, great and unique video. Sometimes even comments from the announcers can enter the "wow"category. The "wows" of this game were uttered because of great defense and the unbelievable similarities of the blown saves. The dual feed here in San Francisco is the most comfortable "dual" situation in baseball. The crew is great. Every person on this crew works from the time we hit air until we sign off. There is one word to describe the crew members of the visiting feed in San Francisco - WOW!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Beginning of the Season

The two spring training telecasts that I was involved with went better than expected. The crews were both very good for the Jupiter game and the road game in Vireo against the Nationals. The opening homestand went less than expected as far as the telecast was concerned. However, this season's start was a bit different from any other season start that I can remember. The opener was on Thursday, there was an off day on Friday and a game of the week on Saturday. Our second regular season telecast was on Sunday. Usually the rustiness will wear off during the second telecast but that was not the case this season. Our home opening telecast was good except for the fact that members of the media don't understand the importance of TIMING when it comes to the television network. We dumped out of our pre-game telecast at 3:00 to insure the huge St. Louis Cardinals television network could join our coverage for the season opener. Unfortunately, this just so happened during the Cardinals players introductions and the coverage was interupted for the St. Louis viewer. The last player introduced before we went to our 3:00 telecast was Albert Pujols so the damage was limited. I don't get too riled up by negative reactions to our telecasts because I know that; #1 - we do our best to present Cardinals baseball in the best possible light. And # 2 - I know that the majority (99%) of the people that comment on a telecast are negative. Our presentation of Cardinals baseball is top notch. We cover the game as good as anyone. It's proven. Look at our numbers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Hello, My apologies for not blogging as of yet but I have been very busy turning my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball from the Director's Chair into an e-book. Cutting The Game will soon be available on Kindle and Nook as well as other e-readers. This is my excuse and I am sticking to it! After 2 spring training games and the 6-game homestand to open the 2011 season, I am ready to continue this blog about St. Louis Cardinals' telecasts. Our first roadtrip of the year starts tomorrow when we begin a ten day trip to San Francisco, Arizona and Los Angeles. I will write when I arrive in San Francisco tomorrow with my thoughts on the upcoming season and our telecasts thus far. But now I am off to pack. Busy, busy, busy.