Some of the most memorable moments of my career include gazing up at the night sky in Pasadena, Calif., as burnt orange and white confetti drifted to the field at the Rose Bowl, covering it like a blanket of snow. Also standing on the same field after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII, watching as the playing surface became a mix of surprise, joy and chaos. Then there’s the relief and pure elation that filled Globe Life Park on Oct. 22, 2010 – that’s the night the Rangers beat the Yankees to qualify for their first ever World Series.
On each of those nights and so many others, I saw the tears, smelled the sweat and felt the joy of the players who had accomplished so much. On each of those nights and so many others, I paused to appreciate the blessing of a career that allows me to be this close to the action. On each of those nights and so many others, I conducted “walk off” interviews with players and coaches.
Now fast forward to 2020. (If we had audio on this story this is where you would hear a phonograph needle scratching to a halt on a record, or you would hear brakes locking up and screeching to a crash.) Everything is different this year. Including the walk-off interview. When the Rangers beat the Diamondbacks in the finale of their first-ever home stand at Globe Life Field, I did the walk-off interview with Todd Frazier. Actually, I was sitting in the press box as he was walking off the field. Actually, I have never met Todd in person. Actually, he is a great interview and concluded our chat with the phrase that has become a favorite among our broadcast crew, “awright, nice to meet you, let’s go.”
That was almost as weird as the walk-off I did with Joey Gallo when he had a home run and three RBIs in a 9-5 victory in San Francisco. Since they were on the road, the only way to conduct this walk-off was via Zoom. Joey was great, I think I asked the right questions, but it was so strange. Like everything else in 2020, I guess.
You want strange? We announce the Rangers road games from Globe Life Field. We almost feel like Ronald Reagan. Early in his career he was a baseball announcer and called the action from a radio studio after reading the accounts of the game on a news wire service.
Dave Raymond and C.J. Nitkowski have done a great job calling the games as they watch them on TV in the broadcast booth at Globe Life Field.
And if the announcers are in a strange new world, you should see our technical staff. Our directors, producers, videotape operators and camera people have had to re-invent themselves. This pandemic has given us so many new concepts, like shelter in place, contact tracing and social distancing. Here is another one: world feed. On a normal game there are at least two feeds leaving the stadium. One is the “home show;” the other goes to the visiting broadcast and we call it the “vis show.” Sometimes there are national broadcasts, too, and foreign language shows. There can be as many as four or five feeds of the game on any given night. Now there is one! The world feed – we produce it with our announcers. Oakland or Houston or Seattle take the same feed and use their announcers.
So if the Rangers are on the road and you hear us talking at length about Elvis and you wonder why you aren’t seeing Elvis it is because the world feed is focusing on something else. When the team is on the road we do not get to call for our own replays, rather we must talk about the replays the world feed shows.
I have been so proud of the way our crew has adjusted to this drastic change and feel like we have not shortchanged the viewer much at all. Still, I can’t wait until we start traveling with the team again so we can bring you all of the shots and stories that we want to tell. In the meantime, we fight through this year just like everyone else. Because we have no choice we continue to look 2020 in the eye and say, “Awright, nice to meet you, let’s go.”