It helps to have a compelling game, but you can't depend on a good game for a good broadcast. Last night wasn't even a great game, but I thought we had a great broadcast. Part of that is luck, and part of that is preparation.
1. When Daniel Carte came to the plate in the second inning, I started off by describing how he normally hits fourth or fifth in the order, but he's been slumping lately. That's why he's hitting eighth, but he's dangerous in that spot of the lineup. Carte hit a grand slam a pitch or two later, the biggest hit of the game, so I looked like a genius. That was premeditated luck.
2. When Nick Haley came to bat in the fifth inning, I said that he was, "an admitted steroid user." Brian VanderBeek of the Modesto Bee was in the booth with me. Beek laughed. Haley grounded out on the next pitch, and then I said, "Brian will tell you why he's an admitted steroid user." Beek described the disease that Haley had, how much weight he lost, and had steroids were prescribed to him as part of the cure. I'd consciously held back in describing this disease earlier in the game because Beek told me about it, and the journalist in me didn't want to scoop Beek on his own information. Then we had some back-and-forth interchange about steroids and testing. I explained what a "whizzinator" is, and we had some laughs. I humbly thought it was a compelling slice of the broadcast, and a great way of "setting up" my broadcast partner.
3. In the eighth inning, I noticed that Max Scherzer was throwing a perfect game for the Visalia Oaks. Because I'm scraping for extra dollars, I write a weekly Cal League notebook for http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/, which forces me to keep track of the other nine teams in the league. Scherzer is a first-round pick of Arizona in 2006, just signed before the one-year deadline for $4 million and some change, and made his pro debut the previous week. I knew all this because the notebook forces me to learn this stuff. Also know this because a high school buddy of mine tipped me off him about, since they both attended the University of Missouri. Otherwise, I'd be oblivious to the guy. As a result, I had all this information in my brain about Scherzer that I was able to say on the air. Didn't have to look it up. Hopefully, this background info meant more to people listening, rather than just hearing about a perfect game. That was preparation-based (and desperate for money-based) luck.
4. We had some fun too. Our good friend Zack Bayrouty, the Stockton Ports announcer, had a constant stream of attractive females saying hello to him in his booth (which is right next to our booth). So I mentioned this on the air, and complained how Greg and I have no female admirers, and how Z-Bay is putting us to shame in our own ballpark. It was a five-run game at the time, so we weren't neglecting critical moments. That wasn't lucky or preparation. That was just envy.