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…
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!