I PA’d the Kansas/Missouri baseball game last night at Kauffman, and it was awesome. We arrived in time to really take in the stadium and walk around all the nooks and crannies not usually seen by the average fan. I hung [hanged?] out for a while on the field and in the dugout before the game, which was pretty wild. I took a walk around the warning track and took in the whole stadium – I loved how you can feel the spray of the fountains in the outfield on the warning track. The walls are also MUCH higher than at Busch – I got the sense you’d need to have a pretty high vertical (Endy Chavez-ability) to rob a home run at Kauffman. You can also get the sense of why I like Kauffman a lot better in that the seating areas are stacked much closer to the field than at Busch – overall a better experience for the average fan because even in the upper deck it feels you’re right on top of the action (much like the old Yankee Stadium), whereas at Busch it feels you’re a mile away from the field.
Eventually I made my way up to the control room to hang out and get ready to PA the game. I met Mike McCartney, the PA voice of the Royals and voiceover artist who voices most of the Royals radio and TV commercials. I have to say, he’s the man. I talked to him for a good 15-20 minutes about doing the PA at Kauffman, and just the overall experience of working there, and it was really cool. He eventually left and went down to the stands to watch the game with his son as I did the PA for the whole game. Calling the game was tremendous because it seemed the acoustics are much better at Kauffman – or at least I liked the headset microphone because of its fixed distance to pick up my voice. I didn’t have to lean one way or the other to get emphasis on a particular syllable like I usually have to at Taylor Stadium or even at Busch. It felt a lot like doing a high school basketball game in how my voice reverberated and echoed. I particularly liked being able to hear myself in the headset – that really was cool because I could hear how much of a particular word I was actually saying, and if the pitch changes in my voice made much of a difference in how it sounded.
While Mizzou ended up losing 1-0 in a great pitchers’ duel, it was awesome to PA. The people working behind the scenes were way more laid back and cool to work with than the folks at Busch, and they gave me a lot more to read, i.e. the hot dog race, conference standings, and top-25 standings in addition to just lineups and such. Of course it was awesome to meet Mike McCartney too! Pictures below…
I’ve been to St. Louis twice this past week – once to PA announce the Mizzou/Illinois baseball game at Busch Stadium (which I get to below), then today I ran the St. Louis half marathon. The 1/2 mar. went well, I finished in 2:06:40, my slowest of the 3 I’ve run by about 10-15 seconds (off of the Hawaii race last year) but I felt much better during/after this race than I did in Hawaii. I’m guessing when I slowed down and stopped at various water tables – that’s probably what really killed my time. That, and my pace really fell off in the last 3 miles too, and I attribute that to just a general lack of recent long-distance runs, along with the majority of those last 3 miles going at a slight incline. I’m perfectly fine with that time – I ran the whole way, didn’t stop to walk like some people did nearby, and of course being in a big race with a big crowd really made it fun. Again, I had a great time – if I know i’ll be within 500 miles of St. Louis next year, I’d love to run it again. The huge crowd and huge race numbers just really help keep you going. That was a big problem for me in Hawaii last year – yes, it IS Hawaii and it’s beautiful, but there were times in the race where I was the only person on the road. It got very lonely and tough to keep up a good speed. In Hawaii, there was almost no crowd support until the end, so while my time was better by about 10-15 seconds, I’ll take today’s finish and enjoy it a lot more. The goody bag was better (nice t-shirt, good discounts and coupons) and some great post-race entertainment with free beer, food, and good crowd. I didn’t get a chance to see some of my Mizzou classmates running, but I did see Jen Reeves waiting to join the race at the marathon relay entry! I managed to pull over and and say hello while running. At the start, I also saw Max Reiss waving and jumping around trying to get my attention as he cheered on his girlfriend, which was pretty funny. Overall I’m psyched. Only makes me want to do more half marathons again – which, as long as I can get some nice long runs in again, should be very doable.
On a side note, I was mildly amused by how many more people in the crowd and in the race were wearing Illini stuff than Mizzou stuff. I don’t know what to make of it – perhaps people who cheer for Illinois are healthier than Mizzou? – but regardless I kept thinking of this (skip to about 4:10 for what I really mean). Then, when going past Busch Stadium, I put this on repeat on my iPod for kicks & giggles…
Earlier in the week I went to Busch Stadium to do the PA for the Mizzou/Illinois baseball game. Like last year, it was a blast – except I think the game was far better this year than last year. Last year’s blowout 19-6 win over SLU was a joke – boring, sloppy game, poorly pitched, poorly defended by both teams. This year, Mizzou overcame 4 errors to beat the Illini and while the stat sheet shows 4 errors for Missouri and 1 for Illinois, it seemed the Illini shortstop Josh Parr gave Missouri a chance to win by bobbling numerous balls at short and letting Mizzou get several infield singles, which either led to runs or continued Tiger rallies. I was blown away by how good Eric Garcia played at 2b – while he left with 2 errors, he made 2 tremendous stops late in the game on sharp grounders hit up the middle – and quickly stepped up to throw to 1st in time to retire the Illini batter. Overall, the game entertained the fans – several lead changes, a couple of rallies for each team, and the teams using wood bats really made for a fun game. As was the case last year, we did essentially just lineups, batters, pitching/defensive changes, and 7th inning stretch intro. But, the Cardinals people did ask me to do a read for a U.S. Cellular promotion, which was cool. If I can parlay this into another big gig, that’d be awesome (cough cough Mizzou football/basketball) but I’m not getting my hopes up at all – especially with May 20th-July 31st blocked off for living in Palm Springs.
How’s it going, folks? Mizzou baseball has been in full swing, but not having a great season so far with a 15-11 record. The Tigers sit in last place in the Big 12 so far with a 2-4 record in conference. They’ve got a ton of freshmen, so the learning curve appears to be pretty high so far for them, while the bullpen has been very weak outside of closer Jeff Emens. I’ve been really impressed with 2 freshmen so far this year – 2b Eric Garcia, and outfielder Dane Opel. Opel is hitting a sterling .529 in conference, while Garcia made a huge impact in non-conference play – especially against Purdue where he homered twice. Garcia has struggled so far though in Big 12 play, hitting just .077. Hopefully he can keep the 2b job because I think he’s got some tremendous talent, and has shown himself to be a really solid defensive infielder too with just 2 errors in 19 games. Meanwhile, senior 1b Aaron Senne has been fantastic – .426/.464/.577 averages with 8 homers and 31 RBI. The Tigers teem with young talent on the mound too, as very-highly-touted freshman Eric Anderson has a 3.94 ERA with 24 Ks in 32 innings. He seems to have great stuff and just needs experience. The rest of the pitching staff has been average – lefty junior college transfer Jeff Scardino appears to have a solid hold on midweek starts while righty Nick Tepesch has been a bulldog on Saturdays, taking the ball every game and going deep, but he’s given up a lot of hits and homers. He’s got good stuff, and has kept his walks down, but still has a high WHIP – I’m curious to see where his season goes – he pitched 6 innings of shutout ball against North Dakota but has struggled in Big 12 play. I’m not sure this team can make the NCAA tournament this year – I just don’t see it with the inconsistency and inexperience on this team coupled with the always-challenging Big 12 schedule. Certainly I’d love to see it happen, but a .500 finish for this team would be a success in my opinion.
On the PA announcing side, it’s gone pretty well. The athletics department asked me to PA the games at Busch Stadium against Illinois in St. Louis and Kauffman Stadium against Kansas, so I’m pumped for the chance! I PA’d at Busch last year when Missouri played St. Louis University, and it was pretty wild. The sound system was incredibly powerful, which wasn’t too much of a surprise – what did surprise me was how strong the echo was throughout the stadium. It really emphasized to me how enormous a building it is compared to Taylor Stadium. Hopefully, the crowd will be better this year than it was last year, when it only drew about 1,500 people. I’m not sure how well Illinois baseball fans travel, but it’ll be fun regardless – and hopefully a better game than last year’s blowout win over SLU. As for Kauffman, that’s gonna be awesome – especially for an “exhibition” Border War baseball game. I’ll do my best to document it and get as many pictures and videos as possible!
My lowly Mets get started today too against the Florida Marlins – all I can hope for this season is a .500 finish. They’re going to stink this year!
I’ve been fortunate enough to watch enough Big 12 football in my career at Mizzou to hear most of the stadium PA announcers either in person or on TV. Here’s a quick list of how they stack up, in my boredom.
1) Randy Wright, Missouri: Of course he’s a huge homer and I’m totally biased towards him but he does an excellent job both feeding off the crowd and getting people fired up at football or basketball games. He rarely makes mistakes with players’ names/numbers and usually has pretty good phrasing for plays. I’ll give him and the Mizzou marketing people credit for coming up with the “First down, M-I-Z” – you can hear him around :15 in this: 2) Name unknown, Oklahoma State: This guy has an AWESOME voice. He uses a few quirks in his announcing – i.e. instead of the overused, cliche “That’s good for a [insert team name and wait for crowd to yell 1st down]” he says “Oklahoma State 1st down and ten”. He also doesn’t use the opposing team’s name – simply saying, for instance, on defense “3rd down and 3…for the visitor.” Definitely a fan. You can kind of hear him in this 3) Name unknown, Kansas: The state of Kansas is pretty good for PA guys. Like OSU, this guy has an great voice. I haven’t been to a game in Lawrence but having heard him in the background on TV and the radio, he doesn’t get too fired up and lets his inflection carry the enthusiasm, instead of yelling or sounding crazy. It sounds like he avoids cliches and sticks to the basics, and, gets them right. I’m guessing he’s an old-school guy and he does a good job. 4) Name unknown, Kansas State: Also has a great voice, but uses too many cliches/overused phrases to try and fire up the crowd i.e. “That’s another WILDCAT [pause while waiting for crowd to yell "First Down"]” I also noticed several crucial errors in identifying opposing players – for instance, identifying Aldon Smith as someone else, or completely missing Sean Weatherspoon for someone else. Not sure if you can hear him in this, but it’s worth a try.
Schools I have not heard: Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor, Nebraska, Colorado. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume they fill slots 5-11 as I leave the schools below out for a reason. 11) Name unknown, Oklahoma: Not a very good voice, occasionally to the point of irritation for listeners and fans. His voice was monotone and lacking depth. He had decent form and phrasing, but I do recall him saying Chase “Daniels” instead of Daniel, a crucial mistake for any announcer’s credibility. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but he sounded like a less enthusiastic Alex Anthony (New York Mets’ PA announcer) 12) Name unknown, Iowa State: Probably the worst PA guy I’ve heard call a football game at any level. While it could be a symptom of a bad sound system, the guy sounded like he was literally screaming into the microphone. To make matters worse, he used every cliche in the book – from “THAT’S ANOTHER CYCLONNNNNNNNNNNNEEEE FIRST DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!” again, literally SCREAMING into the microphone, while on defensive 3rd downs, shouting “IT’S 3RD DOWN AND ___ MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!!!” Overall, very irritating – and it’s unforgivable to announce like that if you don’t have the voice for it. You can kind of get a sense of this guy from this:
I’m hanging out in a coffee place in South Columbia right now because my internet stopped working at home. The router is on the other side of the duplex, and it’s locked, so I’m SOL for now. I’ve had a fun few days of PA announcing for Mizzou Baseball and various shifts at KOMU. Mizzou Baseball won a big series against Texas A&M over the weekend and had a chance to complete the sweep on Sunday but fell short. They lost last night to Illinois-Chicago (very bad loss) and have a chance to redeem themselves this afternoon against the Flames. Should be very interesting. Meanwhile, I’ve been SLOWLY recovering from a terrible sinus infection – more on that later.
As for my KOMU shifts, I started the week on Monday with a VO Patrol. I had a few story ideas, but upon getting to KOMU I realized they had already been covered. After the story meeting, I found a story about the Missouri River Regional Library receiving a grant to update its website. I arranged an interview with the library’s manager, and it seemed fairly straightforward. After I got off the phone, Randy Reeves came up to me with a press release about a “DECA” conference in Lake Ozark – basically, a big gathering of high school students with an interest in marketing and business. It sounded good to me – I didn’t have anything else to do that day, and I was 100% up for a drive to the Lake. Randy also mentioned that the newscasts would be very light, so the more I can get, the better. I figured it would be an interesting story to at least talk to students and see how they feel about their efforts as the economy sags. I figured it would be a better story than the library grant, so I called the manager back and apologized, saying that something had come up and we had to try for another day. So, I gathered the gear and hit the road. As with most trips to the Lake, it was a nice drive but I was bummed that I lost reception on 1580 (ESPN Radio)! The trip took me down US-54 into the Lake region. I drove across the Bagnell Dam, which I’ve never seen before, so it was pretty cool. The whole drive was pretty spectacular as well with elevation changes, curves, plenty of foliage, etc. I’d never really been into the heart of the Lake’s tourist areas, so this was a good opportunity to check it out. The main drag on Business loop 54 through Lake Ozark reminded me a lot of a combination of the Jersey Shore and Laconia, New Hampshire. Plenty of kitsch and riff-raff but most likely a lot of fun for everyone. I’ll have to get down there this summer to experience it in its full glory. But I digress. I arrived at the Lodge at Four Seasons, and found my way inside. The media contact, Chris Young, was a recent Mizzou grad and he showed me around – overall he was very helpful. Here’s what was going on: students would be given a scenario and X amount of time to come up with a proposal or presentation on what they would do, then present it to various professionals from the business world. Their proposals would be judged, with the best groups or individual presentations earning a trip to the National conference in California. Entering the hotel, I was shocked at how many high schoolers were there. Kids from every corner of the state were dressed up in “professional” attire. Chris Young took me to a room where students would be presenting, so I set up in there and shot some video of different groups presenting their proposals. I thought my video was pretty good – it could have used some extra light, but I really liked my cutaways and sequences. It wasn’t the most visually-appealing story to tell, but I was able to get plenty of people in it – not BOPSA, but close ups and angles that I thought were good for showing the kids’ enthusiasm and efforts.
I interviewed several students from all over the viewing area. I met two young men from Hickman who had some interesting stuff to say – my one problem was that the lighting was not good. Their faces have a bit of shadow on them. I also didn’t frame one of them very well – part of his head got cut off on the aired story. It looked OK in Avid and on the camera, I’ll just have to remember to be more careful next time with the framing bars so that people with non-HD TVs can see it. I interviewed a few other students, and only used one more – a young woman from Tipton High, and she actually had a good bite. Two students from the KC Area had some filler comments, but I figured they wouldn’t be as good since they were not from the viewing area. Altogether I was pleased with this story. Holly Edgell said she liked how I mixed up my shots and sequences. My writing was decent but Kent Collins suggested making my lead more interesting for one version. It was something to the effect of “Your intro line just says ‘conference’ and boring stuff. Make it more interesting.” I definitely agree with him – in retrospect I would have changed that. I also learned that “Lake of the Ozarks” is not a town or city, so my locator at the beginning was wrong for the 5 and 6. Stacey Woelfel and I changed it to “Lake Ozark” instead for the 10. To be fair, the Tiger Chairs did not catch it for the 5 and 6, so I feel like it’s an innocent mistake, but I should have known better. So, I felt good about that shift and hope I can enjoy future shifts as much as I did on Monday. I was basically at KOMU from 7:45am to at least 7:00pm – no problem at all, I enjoyed it. Here’s the link.
Tuesday’s VO patrol was a completely different story.
As I mentioned above, I have been suffering from a TERRIBLE sinus infection that leaves me severely congested, coughing, and in general very tired. I’ve been suffering from it for over two weeks, just trying to soldier through it, and it had improved somewhat, but not nearly to the point where I can be 100% active. I finally got so fed up with it on Tuesday morning that I made a doctor’s appointment for the afternoon, so I didn’t have much time to put in at KOMU like I did on Monday.
So, I went out to shoot some video for the red light camera contract approval in Columbia. What I didn’t know was that those cool little cameras on top of various intersections in Columbia don’t actually record red light runners – they just “monitor” traffic. So, essentially I had barely any good video to use for the VO because most of my video was of traffic cameras in Columbia. I managed to overcome that with some crappy sign shots – Providence, Business Loop 70, Rangeline, etc. and several generic shots of traffic lights. No sources called me back for this story, and in the limited time I had before my doctor’s appointment, I couldn’t wait around for someone to get back to me, so I went without a SOT for the 5, 6, and 10. I also noticed I had several typos in the script – “the average fine is could cost close to one hundred and twenty two dollars.” Obviously, the “is could” is not good. Maybe I’m being hard on myself, but I’m honestly embarrassed by my work on Tuesday. I just hope I can get back in there and do a better job tomorrow when I GA report.