My baseball call was featured on a Fox Sports segment this week. Thanks to Kristen Balboni for the nice segment.
I get a lot of questions about how to prep for a basketball game at Georgia Tech. I tell those who inquire, I prepare for Georgia Tech the same way I would if it were Kennesaw State, West Georgia, or some high school game. Preparing for the game has got to be a large part of your dedication as a broadcaster. I believe you will find your own niche when preparing for a broadcast, and I have adjusted my prep over the years. Generally, it has become more time consuming, not less. I want to know as much as I can about the teams/players/ coaches for both teams. Even though it is likely I will not use a lot of the information I gather in preparing, it allows me to develop a better understanding of the teams. At the NCAA D-1 level, there are a ton of resources including the game notes provided by the universities. Also Blue-Ribbon Yearbook, NCAA.com, KENPOM.com, WARRENNOLAN.com, and a hundred others. I use these resources and others to generate a “hot sheet” to have in front of me for the game. Attached is my latest version for Duquesne vs Georgia Tech on Tuesday 12/29 at McCamish Pavilion.
My adventure in broadcasting continues to expand as I have added Georgia Tech men’s basketball to my resume. What a thrilling opportunity to sit court side for Yellow Jacket squad that plays in the prestigious ACC. I jumped at the opportunity to work the non-conference games on ESPN3 from Hank McCamish Pavilion. The first game was versus ETSU and it was a great battle. Georgia Tech never could get separation and then this happened…
It was a great game to break into the season with Georgia Tech. Working with the crew at GT is such an amazing experience. I feel quite blessed!
I consider myself extremely blessed to be around great people who love sports and are so dedicated to broadcasting. This weekend I returned to Georgia Tech for ACC Volleyball on ESPN3. Video Director Andy Blanton and his staff at Georgia Tech do a tremendous job in every aspect of the broadcast. I also had a new partner-in-crime this week as former GT standout Kele Eveland provided color commentary and I was blown away by her insight. She brought energy, passion, and in-depth analysis of every play on the court. It also helped that the match was a dramatic come back by GT to win after being down 2 sets and facing match point vs Boston College. The intro was pre-recorded, but we were standing directly in front of the GT band, who were extremely loud. The O’Keefe Gym is a classic arena, so everything echoes. With no IFB, both Kele and I were screaming at each other as we introduced the match. Once the match started it was really smooth sailing. I even got to do a post-game interview with GT Head Coach Michelle Collier for BuzzVision. It was a fantastic opportunity and experience. I will be doing eight other volleyball broadcasts at Georgia Tech this season as their ACC schedule continues. Next broadcast is vs Louisville at GT on October 9th at 7pm on ESPN3.
Spring is finally here and that means baseball & Softball season. It is particularly an exciting time as I have been asked by Georgia Tech to be a fill in broadcaster for their ESPN3 games. I had the great opportunity to sit next to “The Voice of the Yellow Jackets” Brandon Gaudin for our first broadcast on March 6 for Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. It was a fantastic experience and the Director, Andy Blanton, does an exceptional job. I will also be broadcasting baseball for Kennesaw State on their internet broadcasts at ksuowls.com. I decided to publish some tools that I use as a broadcaster to prepare for the game and that I use during the game.
First, preparation for baseball is no different from any other sport, except the amount of players on the team is significantly more than basketball and volleyball. Therefore, check out the team’s stats and pick five players from the field that are leading the team in key categories, such as: Batting Average, Home Runs, RBI, Extra Base Hits, Walks, and yes even Strikeouts. It comes in handy when a player is leading the team in HR, but he strikes out a lot. It gives you, the broadcaster, the chance to set up the dramatic story of the pitcher vs hitter.
Then look at the scheduled starting pitchers. College baseball teams generally have a set rotation that includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starters. Friday night starters generally being the best thrower on the team. Then the weekday starters may rotate between several pitchers as well. Find out all you can about the starting pitcher through the SID or speaking to the coaching staff. Perfect Game is also a huge resource I use. Input a pitchers name and you will see his playing career from the time he was in high school. http://www.perfectgame.com
Finally, don’t be scared to ask to speak to the head coaches. Any face-to-face time with a college head coach is time to learn about the team, the players, and even the coach himself. Why is the coach limping when he walked out to the mound? Because, he recently had knee surgery and you found that out by speaking with him. It just gives you an edge. If you are doing a neutral broadcast, like an ESPN production, make sure you attempt to speak with both coaches. It is plain ole professional courtesy.
Another resource I use is NCAA.com for national polls and ranking. When you go to NCAA.com and select a sport, click the Statistics link at the top of the banner. It will take you to national stats rankings and will generally show the top 10 in key categories. But that isn’t useful unless you are broadcasting for two teams in the top ten of every category, so scroll to the bottom of the page. There you will find a “Custom Reporting” section that allows you to research a specific team. Once you select a team it will give you a summary of the team and individuals and how they are ranked in their conference and nationally. It is a huge resource in show prep. You can view a complete game summary and print it as a PDF. I have attached an example below.
Now that you have competed all of your show prep, it is time for the broadcast. I have developed my own routine pre-game and I use a custom score card to help me know who is in the field and batting. Make sure you arrive early enough to get organized and have time to prepare your score sheet. You will get lost and fast if you can’t score the game as it moves along. Granted, there are online live stats at most college baseball events now, but the moment you rely on them the system will go down and you’ll be sweating.
Once the game is underway it is smooth sailing. Remember to stay organized throughout the broadcast. Do this by bringing what you need for an organized broadcast. Here is a list of items I bring to every broadcast. I consider it my “Go Kit.”
Power Strip (You always need more outlets)
Laptop or Tablet (Using a cell phone is tedious and too small)
Cloth (To wipe down my screen or the media table)
Menthol Throat Drops (Not to use during the broadcast, but pre-game if necessary)
Pad of paper (taking notes throughout the broadcast helps you stay organized and recall key points in the game)
The last thing I would have is the first thing you need for any sport. The rule book! If you don’t know the rules you will not be an effective broadcaster. Put your nose in these materials and familiarize yourself with the rule book.