Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Decent Grade

(The view from the home radio booth at Dutchess Stadium, as taken by me)

Well the first thing I'll say is that I wasn't awful for last night's game between the Yankees and Renegades at Dutchess Stadium. I might allow myself a "B" grade.

I arrived at the ballpark around 4:45, and was able to grab a free parking spot with four simple words:

"I'm broadcasting the game."

Hmmm...that was easy (hit the Staples button now). After parking close to the stadium entrance, I went to the lone open gate and said something identical to the young man who smiled and let me in without incident. He wondered if I was there for a birthday party. No, but that would be cool.

So up to the booth I went - no media credential, no real identification, but we were still well over two hours before first pitch.

I found my partner, Sean Ford (a cool article about him is here), and without a word, or even without turning around, he handed me the much-desired credential. Now I was (and am) official.

Oh how things have changed since I last did a Gades game in 2003. You used to have to wait for the lineups to be posted on a wipe off board in the small press box. Now you get a pre-printed scorecard, with the lineups and roster. That being said, even with the smallest handwriting, it's kind of tough to keep score on it. So thanks anyway...

While I had gotten there early, I probably wasn't early enough. Batting practice was already over, so there was no chance to mill around, meet players, and watch Sean do his interview with manager Joe Alvarez. So instead Sean and I talked, watched the crowd gather outside the gate (there's something really cool about being on the inside before anybody else), and did the things that we normally do (hey I can't reveal all of the trade secrets).

I wouldn't be a good dad if I hadn't at least looked in the Renegades' store, but I was unconvinced. I'd like to get a hat for myself, and maybe a T-shirt for The Son. They'll personalize one for you on-site.

So it was back to the booth to watch the crowd. The vantage point is on the upper level, and looks right down on the main gate, where the gang from K-104 (a sister station to the HV Radio Network) were entertaining the throng. Good times for all.

While watching the crowd file in, I saw that they were handing out free caps for the kids. That got me to wondering if I could get one for Sean (Adams, not Ford). So I strolled down to the gate, asked one of the people there what I needed to do, and the simple answer was, "Here you go."

(UPDATE - I later found out that the hat, which had a rival radio station on it, should have had the logo of one of our sister stations. There's more to that controversy, but that's all I'm going to say about it.)

Staples button, again please.

Of course, a broadcaster should never work on an empty stomach. Yet broadcasters are, by and large, cheap and broke. I'm not necessarily cheap. Anyway, free media food is the name of the game (except at Yankee Stadium) but that means you hope the food shows before air time.

Or, as we do at Cardinal Stadium, I take a bite and let my partner (Ricky, Sean, Nick, etc) talk. Then we switch. The food doesn't come up until halftime, so we just improvise.

On this night, the food came along at 6:30...fifteen minutes to air. Chicken fingers, ziti and meatballs, and french fries. Yep, PERFECT for a diet. It was still pretty good.

Onto the game. Sean and I have settled into a format, where I open the broadcast with a pregame comment, then Sean runs his interview. I return with a "Sports Blast" (an update), then Sean and I hopefully have time for the lineups. ball.

The first three innings went by without incident - we were scoreless. The top of the fourth came along, and after four years, it was time to see what I could do. I took over the call, and got along OK. I was at the mic for a great defensive play...

I also got to call the Renegades first runs of the night...

The Renegades would go onto win, 3-1. I'd have to say I felt good overall, and wasn't even as nervous as I thought I might be. I'm going to KeySpan Park in Brooklyn today to join Sean (yes, Ford) for the Gades and Cyclones. Hope you tune in.

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