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Baseball / Softball Spotting Boards

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:24 pm
by Buffalo Dave
Baseball / Softball Broadcasters: Do you build spotting boards? With so many games, and so many on back-to-back nights over the long haul, and with so many statistics and story lines changing on a daily basis is it worth the effort to see the reward of their use in a broadcast?

What's the alternative to spotting boards for these sports?

With Major League and D1 Game Notes being so thorough, does it work re-filling a spotting board everyday, or do you highlight notes and then reference them during the broadcast when needed?

Our current station does NCAA softball doubleheaders on Saturdays and I've found a spotting board to be helpful for basics, stats, notes, trends, and other information but it got me wondering how the everyday guys go about it. I have several days prior to the broadcast to prepare my boards but recently had back-to-back doubleheaders and it was an eye opener as to how quick the turnaround truly is with so much information.

Thanks for the insights & cheers to your broadcast seasons underway or soon beginning on the dirt diamonds!

Re: Baseball / Softball Spotting Boards

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:10 pm
by Jon Chelesnik
Good question, Dave.

I never did baseball boards. Instead, I had a small white dry erase board upon which I wrote each team's defense. I propped it up between me and the field. When a ball was hit, if necessary, I could quickly glance at the board for the defender's name while keeping my peripheral vision on the field.

I'm eager to read the suggestions of other folks.

Re: Baseball / Softball Spotting Boards

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:21 pm
by ssteve
I do the exact same Jon for defensive alignment. Then, for player notes, I make little paragraphs of notes for each player and usually go in numberical order by jersey number for locating their info. So if #2 is batting, I know his notes are near the top of my list, but If it’s #45, his notes I jotted down will be toward the bottom.
Batting average, home runs, and rbi of each batter goes right underneath their name in the scorebook.

Re: Baseball / Softball Spotting Boards

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:16 am
by RadioPat1982
This is a real good question. I think for most of us, our scorebook probably serves as what would be considered a spotting board in other sports. You can only fit so much in your book though. I use the Bob Carpenter book and love it (link above lol)!

I think baseball and softball more than any other sport is about stats and also has the most down time to fill. Imagine how many things that could be said over the span of a 10 pitch at bat.

I think the level that you are calling the game probably determines how to go about you boards and books. Not too much info out there for typical high school broadcast or maybe JUCO or D-III. Those levels you probably wont have several pages of game notes and things to manage. MiLB, D-I and D-II you typically have a very fair amount of games notes to pull from. Then it becomes a real question of how to best manage all that data..........

I typically try to make small notations in my book if there is a certain item I want to bring up that I need to look in my notes for. This is more common for the road team since you likely know much more about the home team.

I also do things I picked up along the way like using a lot of highlighters to mark things. For example, I pull the 10 game sheets for MilB and college games and highlight blue for players who have struggled and orange for players who have been hitting well. Then reference back to the sheet by saying " XXXXXX has 15 hits over his last 10 games, batting .450 over that span". I think every broadcaster uses some type of tricks of the trade to manage data.

Re: Baseball / Softball Spotting Boards

Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:28 pm
by Buffalo Dave
These are great answers, thank you all!

I also have a defensive diamond chart that acts like a little flip-card for quick reference, plus the conference standings and weekend scoreboard for live tracking other action.

By spotting chart I also could have called it a "mini media-guide"or "personal game-day notes" too. I have a roster sheet in numerical order with the names, numbers, hometowns, ect. ect. and season details, player trends, notes that are on an 8x14 legal sheet for each team. As the season goes along memory and moments are useful that aren't found on the charts.

I think the biggest difficulty for me is that softball is a sport we are not calling every single game for, it's only two per weekend, and we don't travel so there are 2-3 weeks at a time I don't see a game. Box scores and game recaps help keep pace when there is no PxP but at times I feel a step behind in my knowledge depth of the team even after talking with coaches.

I'm probably trying to be too perfect, but I guess we work with what we have and in whatever situation at that given time.