Never felt in sync tonight. It was a weird night. It was a night of being able to hear too much, and not being able to hear enough.
The way the press box is situated at John Thurman Field, the visiting and radio booths are right next to each other. The walls aren't thick, so depending on how loud each announcer is, and how loud the crowd is, you can usually hear each other a little. It usually only occurs when I stop talking and the crowd is quiet. Usually. Over the weekend, I never heard the Inland Empire once. Maybe he's just quiet or the crowd was so loud.
But tonight, it seemed like I heard Joe Ritzo, the San Jose Giants radio announcer, the entire night. Especially in the first couple innings. Not only did I hear him, but it was crazy how often we were saying, or about to say, the exact same things. I think Joe's a helluva announcer and wish I sounded as silky smooth as he does, so I figured it must not be a bad thing. Still, it felt like I was copying off the kid next to me in class.
I'd be ready to say something and hear him say it, so then I wouldn't say it. Or I would go out of my way to say something totally different than what he might say. For instance, whenever I heard him giving the stats of a certain hitter, I'd talk about the shadows on the field and what impact they are having. If he discussed the standings, I'd describe the pitcher's mannerisms on the mound. As a result, I never felt comfortable with what I was saying because -- being the contrarian that I am -- I found myself saying something different just to be different.
So I could hear Joe. And he could hear me.
But few people could hear me on the internet. The reason is our website was down. Not sure for how long or when it came back. Normally, by first pitch, we have 15-25 people listening. (The Live365 service we use tells us exactly how many are online and the peak of people listening, but it doesn't say the number of unique listeners.) Tonight, we had two people at first pitch. Must admit, it rattled me a little. Even though it shouldn't have rattled me at all. We usually average 25-35 a night, and we've hit as high as the 50s -- which I'm told is really good for a minor league broadcast. Our peak tonight was 12. I'm sure people gave up on us when the website was down.
Then we were supposed to join in progress with AM 970 ESPN Radio, after the A's game ended. The way this works is I get a phone call to my cell. When I feel it vibrate, I know we're 5-6 minutes away from joining with the radio audience. Then with about 15 seconds left, I get the radio station pumped into my headphones. That's my cue and I know when to start talking once the jingle is over. I hear all the commercials and know when to start talking again.
But tonight, I couldn't hear the engineer back in the studio, and I couldn't hear the commercials.
Don't know when we joined in progress or what was the first thing I said. It wasn't the opening I prefer. We used a cell phone and a timer to make sure we were clean coming in and out of breaks. That was fine. But it was all just weird.
The good news is Greg Young, my broadcast partner, did two great interviews live on the field after the game. As the Nuts walked off the field, he asked closer Andrew Johnston to wait a few minutes, which he did, then Greg grabbed catcher Neil Wilson. So back-to-back interviews, which I thought made our postgame show kick butt.
So to recap: I heard Joe. Joe heard me. The internet audience didn't hear me. And I didn't hear the radio station.