Friday, June 29, 2007

Calling the other team’s walkoff

Like a lot of things in broadcasting, the excitement level when describing the other teams’ dramatic moments is a fine line. Don’t want to get too excited. Don’t want to show no emotion either.

Last night was my fourth game calling the other team’s "walkoff" victory. Listened back to my call, and actually wished I’d have gotten just a little more excited. Not a lot. Just a little more excited. My biggest regret was taking so long to say the final score.

Thought my setup was pretty good. Bakersfield’s Chris Davis was 4-for-4 with a home run. As the Blaze batted in the eighth, I said Davis would get another shot in the ninth. As the Nuts batted in the ninth, with a one-run lead, I said it would be wise to get more runs because Davis is due up in the ninth. As the bottom of the ninth started, I said the dangerous Davis is due up third.

Sure enough, Davis hit a two-run walkoff home run. Problem was, he hit it so quickly, I didn’t have much time to call it. It was a line drive that barely cleared the 20-foot fence. The crowd, as usual, was pretty weak in Bakersfield -- so there wasn’t a ton of excitement coming from the crowd mic. I should have delayed my call a second or two behind the action, giving it a more dramatic call. But at the same time, it’s the other team.

Earlier this week, I heard the A’s Ken Korach say, “do you believe it?” when Kelly Shoppach hit a three-run, pinch-hit walkoff home run to beat the A’s. That was on my mind, but I could believe this one.

I flat-out expected it, and felt it coming for a couple innings. Ended up saying something like, “can’t say it’s not surprising” based on what he’d done earlier in the game. The biggest thing I wish I’d had done is say that Bakersfield won sooner. It was implied, and I definitely said it, but I should have stated it precisely a little sooner.

With nothing else better to do in Bakersfield, listened back to some of my calls from earlier this year when the home team beat Modesto.

Actually really liked my call – short and precise – when Inland Empire’s Luke May hit a walkoff homer in late April. The stupid train horn interrupts the call at the end.

Probably a little too excited, and tried to say too much in too little amount of time, when Stockton beat Modesto in the 11th inning last month.

The game winner by San Jose a couple weeks ago was a little tricky. It was nearly a spectacular, “catch of the year” play by Modesto left fielder Cole Garner. Couldn’t tell, in fact, if he caught it or not. Even after he dove, I wasn’t sure because nobody chased after the ball to the wall, so I had to wait longer. That ever-so slight delay minimized the so-called “perfect call” from occurring.

The other factor making it a difficult call is that play basically won the first half for San Jose because Stockton was about to lose in Visalia. But it wasn’t official yet. So again, I couldn’t accurately state the San Jose Giants had won the first half just yet. I did quickly say, “it’s pandemonium at San Jose Muni” and did what I think announcers should do – shut up and let the crowd tell the story. The crowd was going nuts, pardon the pun, but the crowd mic didn’t pick up on that as well as I’d hoped.

Oh well. I’m reminded of something my friend Johnny Doskow, the announcer for Triple-A Sacramento, recently told me: “you’re never as good as you think you are; and you’re never as bad as you think you are.”

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