Friday, July 29, 2011

Cutting A Milestone

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".

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Baseball can be a beautiful game.
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.
My apologies to my teammates on the TV crew.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Didn't Get Trapped

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.
We delivered because we "didn't get trapped".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homerun Review

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.
We will get it right tomorrow night.
I hope the umpires do as well.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I love baseball.
I love directing television baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals.
I love directing television baseball period.
Covering television baseball is fun, is a blast, especially if the game is played well.
Directing television baseball is even fun if the game of the night is well played or poorly played.
I am spoiled because directing television baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals is the BEST job in baseball.
The Cardinals are almost always successful.
The Cardinals are almost always good.
St. Louis Cardinals baseball is ALWAYS competitive.
When our fans turn into a telecast, they expect a victory.
That is why our TV ratings are the highest in the game....period.
I am blessed that I direct TV baseball for the Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals baseball on television is produced my Mike and directed by me.
We know and understand the responsibility we have when we televise a game for our fans. These fans expect great coverage and we deliver.
The quality of play by the team dictates the quality of coverage we provide.
Yes, there is pressure because of this but we thrive on that pressure.
Kudos to the Houston Astros TV production team. This season they don't have the LUXURY of covering a good baseball team.
The Houston Astros are terrible.
I paid attention to the Astros' telecast tonight to see if they were affected by the poor quality of play that this team provides.
They have a great telecast.
They cover the game with great respect. They cover their team with great respect.
They have it figured out.
Despite the fact that this is one of the worst Major League baseball teams ever, they cover EACH GAME as if this team was special.
I cover the St. Louis Cardinals with the "luxury" of a good team.
They cover each game as a luxury.
I learned from them tonight.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2 Bad Endings Forgotten

There were 2 bad endings in my life today.
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".
The two bad endings were immediately forgotten.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pittsburgh Camera Ops

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.
Very impressive!
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.
I learn from them each and every telecast.
Thanks guys!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Knowing And Desiring

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

If you read my blog from yesterday you will know how bad the day ended for me and Mike our producer.
Today's game/telecast began at 11:30 AM with the pregame show and noon with the game. This means that the show started at 10:30 AM in St. Louis with the game at 11:00 AM
I was a bit fired up after my experience with the gypsy driver and found it a bit difficult to fall asleep. This came at a little after 3AM and I awoke to my annoying alarm at 7:00.
I arrived at the TV truck at 9:00 (crew call) with just under four hours of sleep. Even though I poured a bunch of coffee down my throat, I was a bit foggy to say the least.
A 3-hour plus game or a 12 - 7 game or, God forbid, an extra inning game just would not, could not happen.
I prayed for a well-pitched, well-played, well-paced game.
The Cardinals won the game 6 - 2 in 2 hours and 7 minutes!!!
I will now steal a line from the St. Louis Blues great play by play announcer John Kelly which he says when the Blues score a goal.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Now in Pittsburgh looking forward to the weekend Cardinals/Pirates series.
The Pirates are good again which means a full house and a great atmosphere for tomorrow's game/telecast.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Good To Bad

Tonight's Cardinals @ Mets game/telecast was very similar to my day.
Like the game for the Redbirds, my day went from good to bad.
The Cardinals were having a great old time tonight. They had a 4-run lead and things looked good.
They lost the game in the bottom of the 10th inning on a walk-off homerun.
I woke up this morning, drank some coffee and read the USA Today.
Then, I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes, showered and went to my favorite deli for a sandwich.
Things were going good.
The telecast was very clean and even though the Cardinals lost, it is great fun cutting a walk-off homerun.
Then this day took a turn and I mean it took a real turn - a turn for the worse.
Our producer, Mike, and I jumped into a gypsy cab for a ride back into midtown Manhattan to our hotel - the Westin Times Square. Just like we have for the past 24 years.
The driver got lost.
45 minutes later as we sat in a traffic jam on 42nd street, I said to Mike "I'm outta here".
I paid the driver and while trying to keep my cool told him that "It would be a good idea to learn the city if he wanted to make a living driving in it".
Mike and I walked the last 20 minutes to the hotel.
I got into my room and discovered that my room had not been made up from the previous night. My wife, Jane, settled me down a bit and this blog is the result of my day.
A good day turned bad.
For me and the Redbirds.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Technical Director

I write in my book Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair ( 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.
The whole crew did a great job.
There were none better than the TD.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Softball On An Off Day

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.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Bad Situation

I enjoy writing this blog.
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.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Missed The Shot of the Night

I blew it.
I flat out blew it.
Situation: Biggest pitch of the game.
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.
I missed the shot of the night.

Friday, July 15, 2011


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.
Just in the nick of time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last One Before The Break

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.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Big Moments

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.
We did tonight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Break

Just two games remain until the all-star break.
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.
Like now.
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.
Right now, however, I am fighting it.
Two more game/telecasts until the break.
I will make it but I need "the break".

A Long Night Shortened

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.
This was a long night shortened because of Mitch.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lose, Tie, Lose

After 12 pitches, 6 balls and 6 strikes, the Reds led the Cardinals 5 - 0 in the first inning.
This game is over - Cardinals lose.
Later in the game Reds lead 8 - 0,
The game is over - Cards lose.
Bottom of the ninth inning, John Jay homers and the Cardinals tie the game 8 - 8.
Extra innings.
Reds score in the top of the 13th inning to take the lead 9 - 8.
This time Cards really lose.
Down....way down...up....up....up....way up....down....stay down.
How is that for a summary of tonight's game/telecast?
12:30 AM
Going to bed

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I had a nice conversation with my good friend, Roy, who is the Cincinnati Reds TV director.
I have known Roy for over 25 years and have a great respect for him and his talent.
The theme of our conversation was patience.
Roy stated, and I agreed with him, that many of the younger TV baseball directors today are not patient enough when cutting the game. Because of their lack of patience they let the speed of the game control the speed of the telecast.
They don't want to miss anything so they overcut.
Tonight's game telecast featured back to back homeruns in the first inning by the Cardinals. This game also featured a two homerun game by Matt Holliday of the Cardinals. The Redbirds also scored 3 runs in the 5th and the 6th innings.
All of these instances brought me back to our conversation.
I found myself wanting to be aggressive during these moments of the game and thus overcutting. Our conversation relaxed me and I found myself being patient as I cut the game.
I did not let the speed of the game dictate the speed of the telecast.
As Sister Ruth Ella, my 5th grade teacher at St. Pioux X catholic grade school used to say "Patience makes prudence".

Monday, July 4, 2011

Great Fun

The Cardinals beat the Reds at Busch Stadium today by the score of 1 - 0.
This 2:25 game was a classic pitchers duel which featured great defense from both clubs.
Both right fielders made sensational plays in back to back half-innings. In the bottom of the third inning, the Red's Jay Bruce threw out a Cardinals baserunner at the plate to keep the shutout intact. Not to outdone, Cardinals rightfielder John Jay robbed the aforementioned Jay Bruce of a homerun with a sensational catch over the fence.
Both starting pitchers threw 8 innings and both allowed 6 hits.
The Cardinals scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the 8th inning. A leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt with two strikes, a fly ball to centerfield moved the runner to third base, and then the strangest play of the game.
With the runner at third base, the Cardinals batter literally squibbed a ball off the end of the bat. The ball, with a super amount of english on it, spun around the third base bag into foul territory. The Reds third baseman made an unbelievable play fielding the ball. From his knees he spun and fired it to first base. The Cardinals batter barely beat the throw with a head-first slide and the run scored.
Busch Stadium exploded and the fans went crazy all through the one-two-three top of the ninth inning.
Well pitched, well played, and well paced games with exciting finishes are the cream of the crop for any TV baseball director.
Great Fun!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Good Day

My day started at 8:30 AM eastern time in St. Petersburg Florida.
I had slept well and was looking forward to today's final interleague telecast between the Cardinals and the Rays. I am not a fan of interleague play and I was elated that this would be the final game/telecast of this sort this season.
I was drinking coffee and perusing my Facebook page when I discovered that one of my best friends from high school was asking me to "Friend" him on my page.
What a great surprise!
I hadn't heard from Gordon in over 30 years and I can hardly wait to chat with him.
This day was starting out great!
The Cardinals lost and this was about the only thing that went wrong today. We had a clean telecast and our interleague schedule for 2011 was over.
Our charter flight went smoothly and I was in my door at 9:00 PM central time.
I cannot describe how wonderful it is to see my wife, Jane, after a week on the road.
Our dog, Kirby, met me in the driveway as I got out of the car and went nuts.
The three of us went on a nice long walk and now it is 10:00 and I feel great.
I hope this was not too boring for everyone but I decided to write about this great day instead of another blog about an interleague telecast.
Interleague play - now that is boring.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Comfort Levels

There is always a different feeling between home and road telecasts.
Obviously, there is a certain comfort level when televising at home.
But, as I discovered tonight, there are three different comfort levels where road telecasts are concerned.
The highest comfort level for road telecasts occurs with games between teams in our division - the NL Central. We televise more games at these venues than other National League cities so, naturally, we know the crew members and recognize their abilities better than the TV crews from other National League cities.
The comfort level in other National League cities when we are televising is fairly high as well because even though we are only televising in those towns once a season, we go there every year and are somewhat familiar with the crew.
Certainly, there are crew changes occasionally in every city, but the comfort level when televising is just a little less than our telecasts with our divisional rivals.
The lowest comfort level for visiting TV baseball crews occurs when we televise from an unfamiliar American League city during Interleague play.
This is not because these crews are not talented because they are. Some of the crews in these towns are very talented.
Take Baltimore for instance.
But, I believe, a huge factor in developing a comfort level with visiting TV crews is personality.
Some crews, while respecting the abilities of visiting TV baseball production teams, have a difficult time understanding the personalities of each individual involved in the production.
We have some very unique personalities on our St. Louis Cardinals TV baseball travelling production team.
Sometimes our personalities affect the comfort level with the TV baseball production team in the city we are televising from.
I know this is the case here in Tampa/St. Petersburg.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Never Seen Before - Heard It Before

The top of the eighth inning in tonight's Cardinals/Rays game was a strange inning indeed.
The Rays manager and three players were ejected in the inning. Two of the players were ejected by the home plate umpire and two players were ejected by the second base umpire.
We have all seen ejections before. Some ejections are even predictable. But one of the ejections occurred in a manner that I had never seen before.
A relief pitcher, who was already upset by some non-strike calls from the homeplate umpire, was ejected after giving up a three-run homerun.
And he was ejected before the homerun hitter had reached third base!
It is true that some of the calls could have gone either way. These calls were not blatant misses by any means by the homeplate umpire.
After the ball sailed out of the park, the pitcher violently tossed his glove to the ground. And when the umpire, who didn't see the glove tossing, threw a new ball to the pitcher, he violently threw the ball to the ground as well thus causing his ejection.
All this going on as the homerun hitter was circling the bases!
Great TV!
Something I had never seen before.
There were, however, some things on our telecast that I had heard before.
There is no room for excuses on a live television sporting event.
This is a difficult business and mistakes will be made.
Own up to your mistake.
Don't compound the situation by making an excuse.
I have heard it too many times before.


The time is 3:14 AM and I have arrived at my room in St Petersburg after our three game series in Baltimore.
I can't tell you what a pleasure it was for everyone on the Cardinals TV crew to work in Camden Yards with the great Baltimore crew.
The Orioles TV director was so very accommodating. Before each game of the series he made sure that we were comfortable and we were in a side by side situation and not a dual feed!
All three telecasts were smooth and had great flows to them.
The crew worked hard and were a pleasure to work with.
A great aspect of our business is that we learn something each and every telecast.
I learned that I can be more accommodating to the visiting feeds that come into Busch Stadium.
I really appreciate all that the Baltimore TV crew taught me the past three days.
Thank you!