May 2007

Frame It Up

Well, we’re six weeks into the season and the "building" process continues for me in the booth.  I’d say that I’m in the framing portion of construction.  I wanted to come in and get a solid foundation first.  Get to know the crew (the people I work with) and the Crew (the Brewers).  With each game, I get more and more comfortable. 

I realize it might seem like it’s just Bill and me and all of the pretty pictures but in reality, there are ton of people behind the scenes who bring you Brewers TV.  Producer John Walsh and director Mitch Riggin are the leaders in the truck.  Both are super-talented and our crew at Miller Park is outstanding.  I have a soft spot for camera operators since I started in this business toting an Ikegami 79 on my shoulder.  Our "eyes" behind the lenses are superb.  As you watch, be mindful of the skill and effort it takes to capture and deliver the most important images and sounds of the ever-evolving story on the field.  When you see the fire in Prince Fielder’s eyes, there is an operator behind that lens understanding that reaction is part of the story.  When you hear a ball "thud" off the outfield wall, think about the individual who planted the microphone there.  The sights and sounds of Brewers baseball all come together in the truck and with split second decisions, delivered to your television.  Our crew deserves big props.

Already, I feel very comfortable working at Miller Park.  The more I settle in to a routine, the more I trust my instincts and I hope it’s starting to show up on the air.  I’d say one of the biggest challenges for me right now is judging fly balls in big league parks.  Working in the minors, if the wind blew in, the wind blew in!  There are no upper decks to deal with.  Up here, the wind blowing in from left, might mean it whips around the upper deck and jet streams out to right.  Swirling winds and ballpark nuances are tricky.  I’m an expert in understanding flight patterns of fly balls in the Texas League…but that does me no good in the National League!   I’m learning on the fly.

For example, at Miller Park, the elements change depending on whether the panels are open or closed, whether the roof is open or closed…or any combination of the two.  Road games take a little extra effort, too.  Every park we go to is a first for me.  Sightlines change, the booth setup is different and ballpark nuances take some getting used to.  I try to watch fly balls during batting practice but until I get some more games under my belt around the league, there’s going to be an adjustment period. 

Otherwise, all is well and I really appreciate all of the kind words.  This is the greatest job in the world.  The New Brew Crew has been an absolute joy to cover.  A winning teams raises everyones spirits.  The execution has been most impressive.  I’ve called over a thousand ballgames in the minor leagues but I have never seen the game of baseball being played so well.

Hope you’re enjoying it too.  Have a great week.


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Guest Blogger: Bill Engvall

Way to go Brew Crew!!! Stay hot!

Wanted to tell a story that happened at a ballgame the other night.  I took my family to an Angels game.  We were playing the Seattle Mariners.  Normally we have a good group that sits around us in our seats.  When I say good group, I mean people that are baseball savvy.  You know, the kind of people who understand the way the game is supposed to be played.  Well, apparently someone in our group gave his tickets to a mo-ron. 

Now, by mo-ron I mean a guy that brings his kids to the game to teach them the way NOT to behave at a baseball game.  This guy is screaming and yelling and telling the umpire which pitches were balls and strikes.  Just for reference we sit in the second level, which are great seats for someone who wants to get a 
full perspective on the game but not close enough to have any idea about whether a 95 mph fast ball cut the corner or not.  I always figured the man standing right behind home plate has the best vantage point on a call like that.  Anyway. this yahoooo is swilling beer and booing everything. Everyone around this guy is getting irritated and the ushers aren’t doing anything.  But lets face it, the ushers are a lot like the UN…they are there but they really can’t do anything.  Well, if you have ever wondered if there are baseball gods, worry no more. 

About the sixth inning this guy is in full swing when a left handed batter for the Mariners comes up.  Now where we sit, we get two kinds of foul balls.  Those lazy pop fly fouls and then the ball that comes at you on a rope.  Ervin Santana delivers the pitch…the batter swings and ropes a foul ball right into our section…the drunk stands up to try and catch it.  With no glove he puts his hands up and as if all the gods in baseball were working on this, the ball comes directly to him, hits his hands, goes through is grip and drills him in the chest.  Normally, in our group there would be concern over the health of someone having to go through this.  The entire section cheered as he was knocked back into his seat and a kid right behind him caught the deflection. 

I think it is truly American to take your kids to the ballgame.  In fact, it should be a law!  However, when you take your kids remember they mimic what they learn.  Needless to say, the rest of game was enjoyable as we watched this "fan" rub his chest for the next 3 innings. 

Well, peace my friends and remember…someone is always watching you.

Bill Engvall

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