Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Day in the Life Of...

Hello from Anaheim where I'll be calling this weekend's grudge match between the host Angels and the Mariners for 710 ESPN Seattle, the Mariners' Radio Network, and MLB.COM.   Recently I contributed an article for the Mariners' monthly magazine.  It was about "what I learned writing a Broadway musical".  It was rejected.   Then I wrote this.  Maybe they'll use it.  Even if you're not a baseball fan, hopefully you'll still find it worth quickly scrolling.  (Note:  It's been revised to make more sense to blog readers)

Dave Sims, Kevin Cremin, me, Rick Rizzs
As one of the former Mariner announcers helping out this year on 710 ESPN radio I thought I’d share with you what a typical day is like for an M’s play-by-play broadcaster. Or at least for me.

Let’s say it’s a 7:10 game at Safeco Field. Around 3:00 we all arrive – me, Rick Rizzs, TV dudes Dave Sims & Mike Blowers, and our producer-engineer, Kevin Cremin.  Rick and I set up for the day. I spread out a scoresheet, media guides, player profiles for each team, binoculars, pencils, highlighters, stat packets, and an iPad (to see if our radio field reporter, Shannon Drayer has Tweeted about me).

Shannon Drayer
I start jotting down notes on my scoresheet. Ricky already has tons of notes scrawled on his. He probably worked two hours at home on those. At about 3:30 Rick goes down to the clubhouse to interview manager Eric Wedge for the pre-game show. Once out of the booth I copy all of his notes.

Then I trot down to the clubhouse. Here I can engage in meaningful discussions with players as they put on their socks.

When the team heads out onto the field for stretching exercises and batting practice around 4:15 the media meets with the skipper in the dugout. For fifteen minutes we pepper him with questions. Most want to know about injuries, upcoming pitching rotations, strategies, etc. I tend to ask him things like: why were Baroque artists so ornate, florid, and playful?

From there I usually head into the opponents’ clubhouse. Invariably I’ll know a few people on that team – players and coaches I covered at one time. Once we get past their shock that I’m still in the business, we usually have a nice reunion. And I compile more and more little tidbits for the broadcast.

Back out onto the field to just stand around and look important.

When the visiting team takes their batting practice (around 5:15) their manager usually meets with reporters so I stick around for that. You’d be surprised how few American League managers know about the Baroque Period.

A little before 6:00 I sashay up to the press dining room for dinner. Usually I eat with my broadcast crew and we have searing conversations like “which press dining room makes the best soup?” Imagine CHEERS with seven Cliffs.

At 7:00 the broadcast begins and that’s the REAL fun part. I can’t tell you how much I love calling Mariners baseball. Rick and Kevin are such terrific partners, I have the best view in the park, and thanks to Rick’s notes I sound relatively smart. The only thing missing, and it’s a big thing – is Dave Niehaus (who passed away last November). He will forever be THE voice of the Seattle Mariners. I’m just the grateful understudy.

After the game we select our M.V.P.’s for the night. I try to limit my candidates to players who actually got in the game.

And that’s it. I go home and buy things I see on informercials.

Thanks again to the Mariners and you for listening. I’ll be talking to you soon (tonight). I’m already preparing… and by that I mean, Rick is already preparing.

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