Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting over yourself

Minor league ballparks, especially press boxes, are not built for people who are self conscious. Learned this quickly. First stop of the year was Bakersfield, where the others in the box can hear every word you say. Second stop was San Jose, where the scoreboard operators sits right next to you in a very tiny box.

In Rancho Cucamonga, the most gorgeous ballpark in the league, you're still in a wide open with the writer(s), other announcer, and scoreboard operators. Some call your corner -- it's not a booth -- a penalty box from hockey. In Visalia, you're completely outside ... rain or shine.

The point is, others in the press box can hear every word you say. In most ballparks -- the people in the last rows before the press box -- can hear every word. In Visalia, we had a game with so few attending, the starting pitchers who were charting pitches later told me they heard every word -- and they were a good 20-30 feet away.

In Bakersfield, where we are tonight for thank goodness the final time this year, our bus driver and his son, all the pitchers, and all the fans (well, both of 'em) underneath my booth can hear every word as well.

No doubt, I was very self conscious when the season began. To this day, I'm still a little self conscious. Perhaps I'm just more aware, especially if I screw up something. But when we were in Rancho Cucamonga last weekend, I didn't feel the same anxiety that I felt when the season began.

Told myself the followings things:

1. The people who are hearing me are used to hearing the visiting announcer every game.
2. I can't do anything about it.
3. I owe it to the audience to not worry about it.
4. I can't possibly be the worst announcer they've ever heard.

And most recently:

5. Here's a chance to show off ... and maybe get some feedback.

It's still not easy. I know it's hard to imagine this, because hundreds are listening on the internet and on the radio, but it's really weird to know that a few people right next to you are listening.

Slowly but surely, I'm continuing to get over myself and just do the job.

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