Last week I said I should start a series about baseball. Baseball and series seem to go together naturally. So why not?
This series will cover things like the rules of baseball over time, my experiences playing baseball, my experiences broadcasting baseball, and my experiencing broadcasting overall.
When I went to UCSB, I took the opportunity to broadcast sports. The origin story will be in some future post, but this one, I’ll limit to to broadcasting baseball.
When I the KCSB-FM Sports Staff, I was very interested in broadcasting baseball. I had played baseball as a child, in high school, Senior Little League, an LA municipal league. I grew up watching the Dodgers and listening to Vin Scully. I was born shortly before the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, and until recently, it was easy to recite how long it had been since the boys in blue had been able to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Unfortunately for me, there was a lot of competition on KCSB Sports staff for baseball games.
Fortunately for the listeners of KCSB, though, there was a lot of competition on KCSB Sports staff for baseball games, and I had no seniority.
I got to cover games for the Gaucho Sports Spot, which was awesome. I sat near the guys who were calling the games for the radio station. Regularly, they were John Greely and Matt Connolly and I think Marco Alfandary. I could be wrong. But I think it was those three.
That’s not to say that these guys were selfish. They weren’t. KCSB Sports was known for being welcoming and inclusive. But with more time comes more experience that makes you better, so priority makes sense–especially for the big games.
They’d have their headphones on and talk about the game. They’d reference other games and statistics and they’d compare what was going on in front of all of us to something that had happened in a prior year.
Now, I knew that to broadcast sports properly, research was extremely important.
You don’t know what you’ll be faced with, so you have to overprepare. And then use a miniscule amount of what you found because it doesn’t enhance a listener’s experience to talk about something unrelated to the game solely because it’s the result of research.
I knew that the written play-by-play of each game is generally easily available on a college team’s website, but who can remember every single play from reading that and put it into context in real time?
After one game, I asked them how they did it.
“Huh? Research those stories? No, we were there. We saw those things happen. Dude how could we have known to look that up?”
Later I got to do the same.