Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thank You

Thank you to all who read this blog.
I appreciate your comments and enjoy writing about our St. Louis Cardinals telecasts.
Have a great off-season!


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!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Lucky Can I Be?

The Cardinals defeated the Astros tonight by the score of 13 - 6 continuing their incredible race to the playoffs.
After 161 games into the 2011 MLB season, the Cardinals are tied with the Atlanta Braves for the wild-card lead in the National League with a record of 89 - 72,
Imagine that.....every single game of the 2011 season for the St. Louis Cardinals has been meaningful.
The 2011 season for the St. Louis Cardinals TV production team is an example of the type of season that EVERY TV production teams hopes for when every season begins.
Every game is meaningful.
A meaningful game in the final game of a 162-game season is unheard of.
This rarely, if ever, happens.
This has happened this season for the St. Louis Cardinals TV team.
How lucky can I be?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meaningful Games

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.
Another meaningful game!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Final Out

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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Don't Believe What I Just Saw

All I can say is wow!
Are you kidding me? also comes to mind.
Although using the famous Jack Buck line sums up today's Cubs/Cardinals game/telecast perfectly, "I don't believe what I just saw!!"
The Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the ninth trailing 1 - 0 in an absolutely must win game.
After the first batter flew out, the next batter singled.
A pinch runner stole second and went to third base on a throwing error by the catcher.
One out, tying run on third base and the Busch Stadium crowd is going bonkers!
The second out occurred when the next batter struck out deflating the crowd somewhat.
The next two batters walked and the bases were loaded.
The crowd is going crazy.
The next batter was at the plate and the count was full at 3-2.
Our TV crew was pumped! The cameras were capturing fantastic shots.
The game was electric and our telecast was on fire!
The Cubs walked in the tying run!
2 pitches later the Cardinals won the game on a wild pitch!
I don't remember enjoying a game winning cut of the action on the field more than I enjoyed cutting the game ending today.
As much as yesterday's game/telecast was a bunch of nothing, this game/telecast was my most enjoyable of the 2011 season.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Two Hours And Fifty One Minutes Of Nothing

The Cubs beat the Cardinals tonight at Busch Stadium by the score of 5 - 1.
The game took 2:51 to play and believe me this was 2:51 of absolute nothingness. (Is that a word?)
Even the suicide squeeze by the Cardinals in the bottom of the second inning was bland.
The eighth inning 3-run game winning homerun by the Cubs - nothing.
There are moments in all game/telecasts that could be considered memorable - tonight nothing.
Our usual Producer was off doing college football and tonight's Producer did a great job.
Too bad the game offered nothing for the Producer to build upon.
The most compelling moments of this telecast were the highlights from another game.
The contest involving the team the Cardinals are chasing in the NL wildcard race - the Atlanta Braves.
The Cardinals are now 3 games out with 5 to play.
Let's hope the remaining games offer something.
Tonight's game certainly didn't.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Definition Of A Bad Day

Today was definitely a bad day.
The start of our game/telecast was delayed 2:19 by rain.
In another must win game, the Cardinals gave up 6 runs in the top of the ninth to the lowly Mets and lost the game 8 - 6.
Twelve pitchers were used in a contest that took 3 hours and 24 minutes.
After the game, I went to a visitation service for the wife of our technical director (TD) who passed away Tuesday afternoon.
Truly a bad day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Expectation And Anticipation

Tonight's victory over the Mets coupled with the Braves loss to the Marlins, puts the St. Louis Cardinals 1 1/2 games out of the wild-card race with 7 games to play.
In reality, the playoffs are now for the Redbirds.
Every game is a must win situation.
My God, this is this fun for the TV crew!
The energy in Busch Stadium is electric and this certainly adds to the enjoyment of televising Cardinals baseball.
But, I believe, the most important factor contributing to the quality of our telecasts is the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals TV crew expects the team to win.
This expectation hones the anticipation of the crew to a super sharp level.
Expectation = heightened anticipation = crisper shots = quality sports coverage.
Tonight's 7th inning was a perfect example of this formula.
The Cardinals scored three runs after the first two batters were out to start the inning.
The three runs were scored on a 3-run homerun by David Freese.
We were ready in the truck - we knew.
The camera operators were ready - they knew.
Audio, video, and the tape room were ready - they knew.
We expected the homerun, we anticipated the homerun, and we delivered a quality television product to our viewers.
Certainly the most exciting moment of the 2011 season for the St. Louis Cardinals fans.
We nailed it in the TV truck!

Monday and Tuesday

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.
Just great!
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!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Total Team Effort

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.
A total team effort.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just What Was To Be Expected

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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nice Getaway Game

The Cardinals beat the Pirates 3 - 2 in a well played 2:36.
This type of game is the sort that every TV baseball production team loves especially on a getaway day.
Well pitched, well played, and well paced.
As I have blogged before, this type of game allows the telecast to get into a nice rhythm - a good flow to the show.
Everything seems to work. The camera shots are fluid and the replays are nice and tight. There really is no "wasted" moments during the telecast.
Speaking of moments, this game/telecast provided a couple that were both priceless and memorable.
There was the shot of the toddler holding a baseball and falling asleep.
There was the super slo-mo shot of the dejected Pirates fan swatting himself in the head.
This was a nice, clean telecast.
But the best thing about this type of game is the fact that it is 6:00 PM and I am in my hotel room in Philadelphia getting ready to go out for dinner.
A nice getaway game indeed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rare Moments

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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Edge Of My Seat

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!

Football Overlap

The Cardinals beat the Braves 6 - 3 in 2:22 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Our telecast, while sprinkled with a 9/11 theme, was nice and clean.
This show included one of our best X-MO replays of the season when two Braves players attempted to field a groundball and almost collided.
This time of year is probably the most difficult time to provide a nice clean show for the viewers because of the inconsistency of the crew especially on the weekends.
There is college football and the NFL and, therefore, many of our regular crew members are displaced.
I mentioned the X-MO replay because the operator was not our usual X-MO operator. (Nice job Mike!)
We are in Pittsburgh for three games and head to Philadelphia for a four game series starting Friday.
The weekend in Philadelphia could be interesting.
Hopefully our show will be nice and clean like today's telecast.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Glamour

The Cardinals beat the Braves 4 - 3 in a great game that included a great telecast!
But, I am going to change the main intention of this blog to become personal.
I love what I do for a living.
I get to "watch" Major League baseball for a living - the greatest game on earth.
I travel with the team on charters and stay in the best hotels.
Life is good.
I arrived home tonight at 9:42 PM which is fantastic. (I love 6:15 starts)
Being home this early allows me to spend some great time with my angel of a wife - Jane.
However, my car is sitting in the driveway with the break lights on.
My neighbor, Tony, came over to help and we couldn't figure out why the break lights are on when the car is completely shut off.
AAA said they can't help unless the car doesn't start.
Well, the car battery will be dead in the morning and after our 1:15 game I am leaving with the team for an 8-game roadtrip to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
I called our bug operator, Mark, to pick me up in the morning for a ride to Busch stadium.
He may be a little late because of a previous commitment so I may arrive at Busch Stadium later than I would have hoped.
Ah the glamour.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lows And Highs

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".
Great show!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Sales Interruption

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.
Sometimes sales interrupts the game/telecast.
It did tonight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shot Of The Night

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.
Thanks to the shot of the night.

Monday, September 5, 2011


The Cardinals season is slowly coming to an end.
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.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Game Times

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.
A 3- 2 game in 3:26 shouldn't happen.

Friday, September 2, 2011


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).
I will never forget this telecast.
I fought with my emotions but they won.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


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.