Two Plus Weeks Away
Hard to believe the ’09 Indians season starts up two weeks from Thursday. I’ll be honest folks, the season is around the corner and I’m not even close to being ready. READY? C’mon McCauley you’re a radio announcer! All you need to do is find the radio booth, sit down, and talk! Well, yeah, but there’s more to it than that. On Thursday I’m going to take a shot at the Indians opening day roster. I’m going to cheat a little and use this article by John Perratto to give me a head start.
Over the next two weeks I’ll be familiarizing myself with our possible roster. It’s not just about media guides and Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook. Although the handbook is a book I’ll use the entire season. Most of the players I will know from last year. Some of the new faces may be old faces from familiar teams. So I’ll contact other radio announcers and get some info such as demeanor (gotta know what kind of guy he is), ability, and history of injuries. From there I’ll put together a note card with their career numbers, single season bests, and single game bests. You’ve better be prepared to talk about anything during a baseball game and maybe there is a story within their career numbers. For example last year infielder Josh Wilson was approaching 1,000 career minor league hits. It’s not exactly something you stop a game for, but it did add some levity to the season. Josh and a few of his teammates put together a countdown on his chase for 1,000. He eventually got it with a base hit in Columbus. I gave him a standing “O” from the radio booth hoping he would tip his cap. Of course he never did because as Josh put it “that’s way too many minor league games.”
Last year Louisville announcer Jim Kelch showed me a three ring binder he uses to keep track of a players day-by-day numbers. He said it is a great way to see how a player does against a particular team or when they last hit a home run. So I decided to give it a try and it was fantastic. Look, deep down I’m a numbers guy who can look at trends both positive and negative for hours. So this book just added to my addiction. I’ll be heading to Kinko’s sometime this week to get my book back together. I still have last year’s pages and will keep them for reference. The final step will be getting my highlighters and mechanical pencils. I’m pretty particular about those items. It dates back to my first year as a broadcaster. I wanted a way to better see my scorebook in the sometimes poorly lit Midwest League press boxes. So I use five different highlighters to mark strikeouts (yellow), walks (pink), hits (blue), stolen bases (orange), and errors (green). This will be the 7th year of this system and I like it. It allows me to quickly see K’s, BB’s, or hits and when the game is over the colors can sometimes tell a story. I have NO idea how other announcers handle their scorebook. The best way is the way you are most comfortable with.
Here is a sample from July 21st vs. Charlotte. It is easy to count up the Indians 11 hits and 8 strikeouts. You see Brian Bixler drew the only walk and Matt Kata reached on an error. Check out the box near the upper right where I write in-game notes. Tribe manager Trent Jewett was ejected in the 5th inning for arguing a check swing. It was probably Steve Pearce who tried to check up.
From there I will test the radio equipment as well as the broadcast lines in the home and visiting radio booths. Then I’ll be ready for the season. This week I’ll get my three ring-binder set up, note cards situated, and buy a season worth of highlighters and mechanical pencils. In my mind I feel rushed, but it’s not that bad when you write it all out. One of my favorite parts of my job is the preparation. You just never know what kind of information you will need during a baseball broadcast. I bet 75% of the info gathered is never used. But you know what, I’ll have it just in case.