On Tuesday, myself and various Oriole bloggers partook in a night on baseball, as well “MASN’s Orioles Blogger Night” at Camden Yards. Well, over the years, I’ve been extremely curious to know what really goes on ‘behind the scenes’; therefore, we got an crash course that evening. Needless to say, it’s a lot of work, and there are far more people involved in the production of a telecast than I even envisioned.
MASN Spokesperson Todd Webster, and Kristen Hudak served as our hosts and spear-headed the event.
As we all met at the home plate entrance of Schaffer Plaza, we all met up and chatted about our blogs, the sport, MASN, and whatever came to our minds. We were quickly ushered up the press area, and while we didn’t get to see the press box, we spent a few minutes with MASN broadcasters Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez, who were pretty candid.
Amber Theoharis — MASN’s Oriole broadcast sideline reporter — stopped by to say hello to all us in the booth. To be honest, I heard Amber’s voice, but didn’t even see her at all.
I’ll say that both Thorne and Martinez were more than willing to answer our questions, and they spent a few minutes about how they prepare for a broadcast, as well as interviewing players, personnel and doing a lot of reading — however, they don’t read blogs (save for the New York Times, and the bigger newspapers), much less the fan ones at all. After our chat with Thorne and Martinez ended, we saw the outdoor production of O’s Extra with Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey, and the bloggers, including myself, asked questions about the network to Mr. Webster.
Thereafter, we were whisked up to the MASN Suite — very nice, swanky digs — where we had a buffet full of food (seafood, crab cakes, wings, salad, burgers, along with drinks) and chatted amongst ourselves, Orioles staff (Greg Bader, Monica Pence, Bill Stetka) as well as guests in the suite, which including Al Bumbry.
In the early part of the evening, Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey came up to the suite to perhaps take a break and get food; however, they also took a moment to chat with us. In light of Hunter and Dempsey visiting us, I also noticed they were working and keeping tabs of what was going on in the game. I especially took note of Jim Hunter, so James Baker from Oriole Magic and I got into a conversaton about his scorecard — which was done in several different colors and looked fairly simple, but there was a method to his madness.
Hunter’s explanation of his scorecard was so intricate and so in tune with the work he does that I was left with a far different impression of him when I started the night (not that it was ever negative). Well, I knew he had to do prep work for games, but I never knew how involved it was or how technical it is — therefore, I now know why Hunter is a professional who has been doing this since I was born and explains things the way he does on broadcasts, and why we’re fans.
There’s so much that goes into preparation work that I’m amazed — these men and women work long days, but it is all even that more impressive how everyone is able to convey information to us in the public and make it easy enough to understand.
As well, MASN’s Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski dropped by and also chatted with a group of us. Also, Greg Bader and Monica Pence spoke with the bloggers and made us feel more than welcome.
That night, the big news was that there was going to be “an announcement” — therefore, most of us just started talking about potential moves, mainly on the pitching front, but none of us (not even the media) expected Wieters to be called up. It was kind of like our “Suzyn Waldman” moment, and pretty much everyone in the room was suprised, but also genuinely elated. Once the announcement came, all the media flew out of the suite — for good reason.
It’s funny, we look those on the media as experts, reporters, our primary sources, and ‘big names’, but they treated us with the utmost respect. Considering how they reacted once the Wieters announcement was made, we owe them nothing but our full respect for getting the news out so quickly and efficiently. They are our primary sources, and most bloggers could not get content without them; therefore, let’s hope the state of the media in the new economy along with advent of technology and 24-hour cable news doesn’t get any worse.
After we all ate and got a few drinks into our system, Mr. Webster took us down to the production truck — which literally was a super long trailer in the bowels of Camden Yards — but was one of the more sophiscated setups I have ever seen. Being a dork and in information technology, I was amazed at how everything was seamless organized and setup, and as well I kept my eye on all the toys and software they use.
All in all, there were more than twenty people in the room who had a job in putting together a broadcast, and I walked away with a new-found knowledge as to how much really goes into what is seen on TV.
In the end, we ended up going back to the suite and talking some more; furthermore, the night ended on an amazing high as the Orioles won the game, and new friends were made.
However, what made the night so poignant was that the team and MASN and the Orioles reached out to the bloggers. I do know there are a few organzations — the A’s, Mets, Nationals, Royals, Dodgers — who have made overtures to blogs by letting them cover team events up to giving them press box access; therefore, those entities acknowledging the fans who work so hard on their individual blogs/sites.
For that, the Baltimore Orioles and MASN could not be thanked enough.
Here are some more scenes from Tuesday, including our walk underneath the stadium, game action, and into the Warehouse: