Broadcasting baseball at Ceasar Uyesaka Stadium at UCSB in the late-’00s to early-’10s wasn’t the easiest or most convenient thing to do.
I’m not sure how the stadium is now because I haven’t been to it in almost a decade, but at the time, the bathrooms were limited to a porta potty within the gates. Sometimes there was a trailer with fancier bathrooms in the parking lot off the left side of the field.
Rather than a real press box or designated, permanent broadcast area, there was a folding table set up over some benches at the top of the grandstand right in front of the booth that that holds the controls for the scoreboard as well as seats for the media coordinator/official scorer and the microphones for the PA system.
As for the controls for the stadium’s lighting system? Those were nonexistent.
There were no night games because there were no lights.
Games normally were on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. While many schools hold those games when students can attend and root for their team, UCSB was restricted to games that started at noon or 1pm or 2pm.
Who’s going to show up for a game on a Tuesday at 1pm? Who’s awake as early as 1pm on a Tuesday?
Even Wrigley Field in Chicago got stadium lights in August 1988. From what I heard about a decade ago, it would cost about $50,000 to have a good enough lighting system. I don’t know if it’s happened since, but Caesar Uyesaka Stadium was without any such feature during my time there.
The only way to get to the top of the grandstand where we set up the broadcast table was to walk from the entry to the stadium at the bottom of the grandstand up a level and then up the face of the grandstand beyond the blue chairs to the regular bleachers. There’s no shortcut. No direct access to the top with a side staircase.
Rather than solely making for a miserable existence, the lack of features allowed for unusual experiences.
One of the key points to broadcasting is staying hydrated. If you don’t stay hydrated but have to talk for three hours, you’re going to lose your voice.
But we all know what staying hydrated leads to.
Once when I was calling a baseball game with a new member of KCSB Sports staff, I had to talk more, which meant I had to drink more. And we all know what that leads to.
So at the seventh inning stretch, I ran down the grandstand to get to the sole porta potty. I saw there was a line. Yay.
As time grew closer to me having to go back on the air and not leave the new guy unsupported, I found myself one back from the door. I asked the guy in front of me if I could cut him.
At this kind of request, people can be accommodating. Or annoyed. Or incredulous. Or inquisitive. There are a lot of reasons to say no.
This guy was not eager to comply. His response: “Uh, I’m the left fielder.” As though I didn’t know that. For hours.
I wasn’t ready to give up. “Yeah. But I’m the broadcaster.”
“Oh! Yeah, dude. Go for it!”
The game wouldn’t wait for me to get back, but it sure would wait for him. I’m grateful that he allowed me to return to my job in time and, I guess, talk about him to the world.