With baseball season finally upon us, here are some not-so-common suggestions to help you hit a home run with your play-by-play.
1. Develop a time and score habit
You already know you need to give the inning and score at least every 90 seconds. A good habit to help you towards that goal is to give the inning and score with each new batter. You can also write TIME AND SCORE in big red letters atop your scorecard so you see it throughout the game.
2. Pinpoint the ball
It isn’t enough to say the ball is hit to the left fielder. Add that the left fielder makes the catch three steps in front of the warning track, or sprinting into the left-centerfield alley.
3. Don’t scream
Emphasize the drama of that RBI double and other big plays by increasing your enthusiasm but not your volume. Keep your VU meter out of the red.
4. Be quiet
You don’t have to be talking every moment of your three hour broadcast. Baseball’s leisurely pace is perfect for occasional five, six or seven second pauses where you simply let the ambient sound carry the broadcast. Let the game breathe.
Also don’t be afraid to layoff at dramatic moments. The crowd cheering wildly after a three-run homer sometimes paints a more vivid mental image than words could ever portray.
5. Be a storyteller
Buy the book, Baseball Legends and Lore by David Cataneo. It is jammed full of great, short, true baseball stories that you can pepper throughout your season. Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Takes a Swing at Baseball is another good one.
6. Hang around the batting cage
You’ll get a cornucopia of info for your broadcasts by talking with players and coaches around the batting cage. Even if you can’t share it all on the air, it will lend valuable background and perspective.
7. Stop saying “swung on”
You don’t always have to reference the actual bat-on-ball. A lot of young broadcasters say “swung on” between “here’s the pitch” and the ball being put into play. For example, “Here’s the one-two pitch….swung on and belted to right field!” Instead, you can simply say, “Here’s the one-two pitch….belted to right field!”
8. Build rapport with your analyst
A great way to build chemistry on-air is to spend time together off-air. Go to dinner together.
9. Record it yourself
Record your games on-site, straight from the back of your mixer. You’ll have pristine audio quality to use on your demo.