Friday, July 20, 2007

Breathing more

The biggest theme to the feedback I’ve received this season is to slow down, and let the broadcast “breathe” more. This will always be tough for me because I have a fairly hyper personality. Always room for improvement now in my broadcasts, but listening to my games over the last 3-4 weeks, I realize that I’m wayyyy better than I was in April.

The telling sign for my improvement is how it’s changed my speech patterns in everyday life. I’ve always been a fast talker. An amateur psychologist might conclude it stems from being self conscious, or a lack of confidence, or just being nervous. (Personally, I think I’m just always in a hurry to do everything – talk, type, eat, drive, etc.)

During one of my recent coaching sessions, this point was driven home as we evaluated my interview with Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane.

One of my questions was: “your assistant general manager, David Forst, many consider him the heir apparent in Oakland, or a GM candidate elsewhere. Did he try to talk you out of that seven-year extension?”

My coach thought it was a great question, but he thought the delivery was off. I’ve listened to that question about 20 times now, and it kills me, because it would be soooooooo much better if I relaxed and asked it slower.

Such as, “your assistant general manager is David Forst. (pause) Many consider him the heir apparent in Oakland or a GM candidate elsewhere. (longer pause). I’m curious (quick pause) did he try talking you out of that seven-year extension?”

As any stand-up comic will tell you, it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. I’m learning that … slowly … sometimes, very slowly. I’m learning it’s much easier to do solo, in the booth, than it is doing a live interview with the most famous GM in baseball.

Recently, I was talking ball with my friend Zack Bayrouty, the Stockton Ports announcer, and I asked him if he heard what Bakersfield third baseman Chris Davis did the night before. Z-Bay said no, so I explained how Davis extended his hitting streak by going 4-for-4 … with four runs … and four RBIs.

“Wow,” Z-bay said.

“Annnnnnnd,” I added, pausing a second or two for emphasis, “he had four errors also.”

Two months ago, I’d have said, “hehadfourhitsfourrunsfourRBIsandfourerrors.”

Nowwwww … I draw out the words a little longer … pause for dramatic affect … let the words from the first part of the sentence sink in … and then finish my sentence. Granted, easier said to do that talking to Z-Bay, than a live interview with Billy Beane, but a lesson to be learned and practiced more.

Knowing my friends, they will probably find this really annoying … and tell me to stop talking like I’m on the air and just talk like the old Josh.

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