Do you know what’s scary? Calling a girl for the first time to ask for a date. Do you know what else is scary? Calling three hours of baseball by yourself.
When our former president Ronald Reagan was a sportscaster in Iowa, he called baseball by himself, and he wasn’t even at the ball park. The news ticker would tell him what each batter did, but it wouldn’t give details of the at-bats. Reagan had to fill in those details using his imagination.
If Ronald Reagan could excel at calling baseball solo, you can too.
Here are some tips for how to do it.
Don’t fear dead air
Baseball is built for dead air. It’s a leisurely sport. Your listeners prefer breaks in the broadcast over hearing one voice go on and on for three and a half hours.
Use a crowd mike
The crowd will be your partner by helping to fill the pauses in your broadcast.
Track the plots and subplots
What’s at stake for either team if they win? What’s the consequence if they lose? Why is this half-inning important for the team at bat or for the pitcher? Why is that runner on first base important?
Track those plots and subplots. Concentrate on the stories of the game.
Baseball is tailor-made for storytellers. Read. Talk to people. Listen to people. Gather baseball stories.
As you encounter ways to use them organically in your broadcast, plug them in.
Use descriptions between plays
Don’t just describe the ball while it’s in play.
What’s the third-base coach doing? What are the pitcher and the batter doing? What are the fans doing? What’s the weather like? What are the winds looking like? The shadows?
Transport your listener to the ballpark by providing these descriptions between plays.
Don’t overuse stats to fill time
Limiting stats is a great rule even if you’re not broadcasting solo. Stats are hard to process, so use them only when they advance the story.