Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Standout

Major League Television baseball crews are very talented. I'm not sure if there are truly any bad TV techs in the world of sports. Almost every TV sports crew member is at least good at what they do. It is the "standouts" that are on every crew that raise the quality of the telecast. The "standouts" make the rest of the crew better. I noticed this and thought of this tonight as I directed the Cardinals/Rockies game/telecast out of Coors Field in Denver. There is a crew member on the visiting TV crew who is unbelievably good - he stood out. This Denver crew is very talented from top to bottom but this certain member is absolutely one of the best in the country. He made everybody better. He was the standout.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Despite The Fact

I love Wrigley Field. I love Chicago. I love the side-by-side television setup at Wrigley. There is nothing better than Cardinals/Cubs games at this wonderful venue. The weather was perfect. The crowd was electric. The local TV crew for our telecast are great TV teammates. Today was a great day all around. Despite the fact that the Cubs beat the Cardinals today 4 - 2 with a 2-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the tenth inning. Off day tomorrow in Denver. Coors Field on Tuesday. Look out!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

First Inning And The Rest

The Cubs beat the Cardinals 3 - 2 with almost nothing worth anything happening after the first inning. The first three batters of the game walked for the Redbirds and they only scored one run. The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the first with a single, a double, and a triple by three of the first four batters. The starting pitchers settled down after the first inning and the rest of the game was almost nondescript. Still, we were at Wrigley Field - the best venue in all of sports and EVERY game/telecast out of Wrigley is great, great fun. Get away day tomorrow as we head for Colorado. We come back to Wrigley in September. I can't wait.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love It

As I wrote in my book "Cutting The Game, Inside Television Baseball From the Director's Chair" the most fun a TV baseball director has during a game/telecast is cutting a homerun. Well, thanks to the Redbirds I was able to enjoy myself in each of the first 5 innings today. That's right, the Cardinals homered in each of the first 5 innings today. This was the first time in their history that they accomplished this feat. I had loads of fun cutting these homeruns and I had great fun watching the Cardinals beat the Cubs. Homeruns against the Cubs, beating the Cubs - Love it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dodgers Series

The Cardinals took 3 of 4 from the Dodgers in the just completed 4-game series at Busch Stadium. These games couldn't have been more similar. Except for a few moments here and there, these games were mirror images of each other. The temperature for the first three games was over 100 derees and today's temp. was in the low 90's. You can only take so many shots of sweating players, umpires and fans. The Dodgers won game 1 despite being outplayed by the Redbirds. The Cardinals were victorious in a non-descript game 2. Game three went 12 innings and was just as draining on the TV crew as the players. There were 26 total hits in today's Cardinals victory with 26 of them being singles. There is not much to write about when not much happens. This Dodgers/Cardinals series was just a bunch of ground hog days.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The Cardinals scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning and cruised to a 7 - 0 victory over the Cubs today at Busch Stadium. After last night's record setting game (7 doubles, 12 runs in the 7th inning), the Cardinals scored these 4 runs with the help of 3 doubles. The Redbirds completed the scoring with back-to-back homeruns in the 7th inning. When a team is performing well there is an excitement that flows through the TV crew. I think the best members of any sports TV crew actually raise their performance level when the team is playing well. Just as there are certain players in professional sports who actually make their teammates better, there are games that actually make the TV crew better. This is certainly evident at the end of a perfect game or a no-hitter. This is also true when a team is on a roll and playing great. The Cardinals are a very good baseball team and are on a bit of a roll. The upcoming stretch of games are going to be a blast to cover.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Making History

Here is what happened in the bottom of the 7th inning tonight in the Cubs/Cardinals game. 12 runs scored tying the Cardinals club record for runs in an inning set on September 16, 1926. 7 doubles in the inning tying the major league record set on August 25, 1936 by the Boston Bees against the Cardinals. The half inning took 50 minutes with 17 batters, 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 doubles, a triple, and a wild pitch. The only ball that was hit hard was the triple. I had a blast cutting this inning. I don't know how many times "Are you kidding me?" was uttered in the TV truck but I think that set a record as well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Wow Bomb

Behind great starting pitching, the Cardinals beat the Cubs 4 - 1 tonight in 2:37. This was a pretty uneventful game/telecast except for the fact of the longest homerun ever hit at the new Busch Stadium. Matt Holliday's 469 foot homerun on a hanging splitter was absolutely crushed. As you 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 for $2.99) cutting the homerun is great fun for a TV baseball director. As the ball hit the bat I took camera 2 (high home) and said "Oh my God" and before I took another camera I uttered "wow". Homeruns are great fun to cut. Homerun bombs are even better.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2 Ten Minute Segments

Today's Cardinals/Brewers game telecast really came down to just 2 ten minute segments. The first segment came in the bottom of the first inning when the Brewers scored all their runs. After a leadoff error, a single, and a hit-by-pitch, the Brewers loaded the bases. Then the ten minute segment began. Here is what happened in the next ten minutes: A 2-run single, a ground out, a line out, and then the Cardinals made 3 errors on one play allowing 2 additional runs to score. That ten minutes was all the Brewers' offense was able to do the rest of the game. The Cardinals ten minute segment began in the top of the ninth inning when they were down 4 - 2. After a double and a walk and with two outs the Brewers walked the bases loaded and then had a meeting on the mound. The meeting must not have been very effective as the pitcher proceeded to walk in a run. With two outs and the bases loaded, a long fly ball to the warning track eneded the game with the Brewers prevailing 4 - 3. The Brewers enjoyed 10 minutes in the first inning and the Cardinals enjoyed 10 minutes in the ninth inning. Sandwiched between these two ten minute segments was a game with little or no drama.

Milwaukee Crew

I enjoy working with the Milwaukee TV crew. They work hard and are very professional. But what I enjoy most about this crew is that they are just fun to be around. Televising on the road can be very difficult. We deal with many different personalities and sometimes someone may be having a bad day. I have never worked with a Milwaukee crew member who was "having a bad day". While we are televising the game, everyone is pleasant and they all do a great job. I truly enjoy working in Milwaukee.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Not Rusty

One week ago today we started our all-star break. We were off from Monday through Thursday. We televised from Cincinnati on Friday and then we had Saturday off (FOX) and Sunday off (ESPN). One telecast in seven days. I was wondering if we would be a little rusty since we are used to doing 19 telecasts every 21 days.
Thankfully the starting pitchers pitched well and we were able to develop a good flow to the show. The Cardinals won the game in exciting fashion 3 - 2 scoring all their runs in the top of the ninth inning.
The Milwaukee crew is fun to work with and we had a nice clean show.
We weren't rusty a bit.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Right And Wrong

I don't believe there is a right way or a wrong way to televise baseball or any sport for that matter. I believe certain people like their coverage a certain way while others like their coverage differently. I like my high home camera to play it loose rather than tight. I like a perspective of the field when the ball is in play. Some director's like their high home camera to "shag" the ball tight or tighter than most. This is fine. I will not disparage this type of high home coverage. I prefer a different high home "look", that is all.
However, I much prefer mistakes to be made by camera operators because they are aggressive. Mistakes made by camera operators who are not aggressive usually look like that particular operator is lazy. Often times this is true, but sometimes a non-aggressive mistake is made because the operator doesn't know the game or the players. What is worse - a lazy operator or one that just doesn't know the sport? That's an easy answer - you can't fix lazy but you can educate an operator on the sport.
In TV sports there is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad.
Ask 100 viewers what they like about TV sports coverage and you'll get 100 different answers.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Walks And Walkoffs

I don't think there is anything worse for a baseball game and telecast than the walk. Walks destroy the pace of the game and the pace of the telecast. I don't think there is anything more fun and exciting for the baseball fan and the baseball TV crew than a walkoff win. The Cardinals beat the Marlins today by the score of 5 - 4 despite the fact that Redbirds hurlers issued 8 walks. This was one of the most entertaining victories ever for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans. The Cardinals scored 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth with the final 2 runs coming on a walkoff single. The game ended with a bang bang play at the plate with the runner correctly ruled safe. We ended the telecast with 6 angles of the final play capping the sequence with a wide angle that captured the jubilation of the Busch Stadium crowd as the winning run scored. The quality of the game suffered with all the free passes given by the pitchers but not many viewers, if any, will remember that aspect of today's game. The quality of the telecast was greatly enhanced because the fans will not remember the walks, they will not forget the walkoff.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Surrender

The Cardinals played the ninth game of their ten game homestand today as they head into the all-star break. Every single game of this homestand was played in 100+ degree temperatures and before today every game but one was over 3 hours long. The game that wasn't 3 hours long went 2:54. This has been one of the most difficult if not the most difficult homestand to televise in my 25 years of Cardinals baseball. Lousy baseball teamed with super uncomfortable hot weather can really wear on a TV crew. The camera operators bear the brunt of the heat as they are outside but the whole crew is affected. The last out in today's game/telecast was was completed in 2:29 which was really a blessing. However, after the first two batters were retired the next two had basehits. So here we were in the TV truck - faced with a possible quick game, with the tying run on second and the lead run on first and a full count on the batter. Our color analyst pointed out that with the runners off with the pitch (because of the 2-out full count) it would be impossible to throw the lead runner out at the plate. Someone stated "They are going to tie this thing up." At that point the attitude in the TV truck was "if they do, they do." Usually the TV crew is eagerly anticipating the final out. Not today....we surrendered. The batter fouled out and the game was over. No cheers from the truck. Just a big sigh of relief.

In The Dugout

When the Cardinals starting pitcher walked during an at-bat, the other starters were having fun at his expense in the dugout. Once again, this was an example of capturing a moment during the game that the fans in the stands don't see. Later on in the game the same pitcher smacked a double and the reaction from his fellow starters in the dugout was, once again, priceless. When a moment during the game warrants a replay and a rollout to commercial you know that it was a special moment. Well both these moments were used as replays and as rollouts. Good stuff from the dugout.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Away From The Play

One of the goals of our telecast is to show the viewers something the fans in the stands don't see. The best time and place for this is between innings in the dugout. However, the most rewarding time for the TV crew is during action on the field. The Cardinals started a player at second base tonight. This player hadn't played that position since he was 13 years old. We iso'd him throughout the game and we captured a great sequence in the first inning when we aired a split screen of this player and the infielder's coach as he was positioning the player. Immediately after every pitch the player looked over at the coach. Capturing moments away from the play can be very rewarding. Last night's game/telecast proved this point.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fans In The Stands

The Cardinals beat the Rockies tonight by the score of 4 - 1. This 2:54 game was played in 103 degrees at the start and 94 degrees at the end. Despite the heat, the 42,338 fans in attendance were really into the game. A loud crowd is very beneficial to the home team and great for a telecast. Just as players feed off the energy of the fans so does the TV production team. A stadium that is rockin and rollin really enhances a telecast. The St. Louis TV baseball production team is quite spoiled. Most home games are sold out or near a sellout and the fans are really into the game of baseball. The viewing experience is also enhanced by the fans in the stands. The fans in the stands are really another production tool for our telecast. Just as important as the camera shots and replays, the crowd is equally important to the quality of the show.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2 Moments

The Rockies beat the Cardinals tonight 3 - 2 in 3:00. There was a 2-run homerun by the Cardinals in the first inning and a 3-run homerun by the Rockies in the third inning. That was it. I checked back into baseball history and discovered that this was the most nondescript 3 - 2 game in MLB history. There were 278 pitches thrown in this game and only 2 mattered. TV crews are always looking for memorable moments in every game realizing that a "moment" can occur with each pitch. I remember 2 pitches from this game. I have no recollection of the other 276 pitches.

A Joke

The Cardinals beat the Rockies tonight by the score of 9 - 3 in 3:12. This game was a perfect example of the difference between good baseball and bad baseball. The Cardinals starting pitcher worked fast and threw strikes. (105 pitches, 70 strikes) The 4 Rockies pitchers threw 103 strikes and 96 balls. Apparently the Colorado Rockies pitchers are under a 75 pitch limit. (What a joke) Because of this strange and ridiculous edict the 4 Rockies pitchers went 3 innings, 2.1, 1.1, and 1.1 innings. When the Cardinals pitcher was throwing the game moved and the fans were entertained. When the Rockies were on the mound the fans in the 100 degree heat were looking for the nearest bridge. Hey Rockies - instead of worrying about pitch counts, teach your pitchers how to pitch. I'm trying to figure out what is the bigger joke - the pitch count or the pitchers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

OK I'll Say It

Baseball is a beautiful game. When the game is well-pitched and well-played this sport can't be matched by any other sport. But, just as baseball can be the most wonderful sport, there can be nothing more brutal than a poorly pitched, poorly paced, poorly played baseball game. I know this because I just witnessed a three game series between the Cardinals and the Pirates that was just excruciating. These three nine inning games went 3:09, 3:04, and 3:13. There was no pace, no drama, no nothing to these games. Ok I'll say it - I'd rather watch soccer.