This was easily one of the most exhilarating broadcasts I’ve had in my early play-by-play career. The fact that we got this opportunity to cover a major league game, even if it was just a practice, is so invaluable to what Sarah and I want to do, and the experience we got from that lone broadcast is a lifelong memory.
Research is key for every broadcast, and the biggest struggle for me was providing the same amount of research for each player, no matter if they’re the star player or a guy who most likely won’t be on the roster come the end of the month. Since there are so many players who will get an opportunity in Spring Training, it’s important to have a broad basis for research on both sides. At some points, due to some computer complications and slow internet, it was a bit tough to keep up with the players batting and their latest statistics, but writing everything down is an effective (but slow) way to prevent this issue from happening.
Apart from the broadcast, the feedback and connections Sarah and I made while we were preparing for the broadcast was also something truly special. We spoke with the Spring Training broadcaster for the Rays, as well as the broadcaster for the advanced single-A affiliate of the Rays in the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs. Both of those guys gave us great advice on getting into the industry, how well we were doing with our work so far, and how to make a broadcast more interactive for the listener. One thing that the Rays’ radio broadcaster Neil Solondz that really stuck out to me was calling the game for a blind person. He said he actually had a listener who was blind, and he could always go back to that thought of calling the game for them and realizing that you have to paint the entire picture.
Overall, calling a Spring Training MLB game was special. Covering the teams were an amazing experience that I know I’ll never forget, but being in the broadcast booth with Sarah and working on our craft just makes me want to do this for a living even more!
Having the opportunity to call a professional baseball game alongside Skyler Lebron at the Tampa Bay Rays’ Port Charlotte Sports Park, where the Rays played the Baltimore Orioles, was definitely a surreal experience. I never thought I would be calling an MLB game on site so early in my career. It surely will always be a day I’ll never forget and use as a reference for how to better prepare for future broadcasts. I’ve never been on site to call a baseball game and the fact that we were able to be in the press box really made a huge difference. It helped with being immersed in the ball game.
I don’t have many baseball games under my belt, so it helped to get to call with Skyler who is easy to work with and more experienced. He is also great at filling space with pertinent information, which wasn’t easy because of the delays we experienced with the internet on our computers. The game was our first baseball broadcast this year, so naturally, it started a little slow for us but got better as it went along. Personally, I’ve always preferred calling play-by-play commentary over calling color for baseball. Especially this time, because I’m not very familiar with the Rays and Orioles teams. One of the things I took away from this game is how to game prep more efficiently and what kind of facts to use when doing color commentary.
The Tampa Bay Rays staff were so courteous to both Skyler and me. We got the opportunity to speak with the Spring Training Broadcasters for the Rays, Neil Solondz and Doug Waechter, as well as, the Broadcaster for the Rays Single-A team, John Vittas. Everyone gave us great advice on broadcasting including how they prepare for games with large notes cards and organize research material in the press box. They also shared how they’ve gotten to where they are in their careers. Calling an MLB Spring Training game was a valuable learning experience and a glimpse into the future.