Monday, July 9, 2007

Only in the Cal League

Well, maybe you can get away with some of this stuff in Double-A or Triple-A. But tonight was an example of something you can do broadcasting a baseball game in the California League that you can't do in the big leagues.

The Nuts won easily tonight, 15-2. It was 8-0 after two innings. Total blowout.

Greg Young and I had been thinking about a night when we'd ask the team's biggest character, shortstop Chris Nelson, to interview one of his teammates live on the radio. Just to mix things up. Received clearance from the program director to go for it. Not every time. But just for something new.

We figured with a game like this, everybody on Modesto's side would be in a good mood and it was the perfect night. It took some prodding from batting coach Dave Hajek, but Nelson agreed to interview teammate Cole Garner. It was hilarious. Nelly was cutting off answers, making sure that nicknames were explained, and handled himself like a pro.

Afterward, the fellas in the sound room turned on Chris Nelson's entrance music again, which is "Heart of a Champion" by, fittingly Nelly.

The part they use starts with "Nel-ly, Nel-ly" as he comes to the plate and includes the line, "ain't no way they can stop me now." Anytime Chris gets a hit, they play the "ain't no way they can stop be now" line again, and you can see Chris fired up on the bases. So when they played it again after the interview, Chris puts his hands above his head, and took a victory lap around the bases.

Described it all on the radio, as I tried to keep from laughing. It was a beautiful moment and showed the comraderie you get in the minors between the players, broadcasters and videoboard operators.

Can't imagine A's shortstop Bobby Crosby interviewing teammate Shannon Stewart live on the field on A's radio broadcast, then taking a victory lap as they played his song. But in the minors, it worked.

My days of staying in a king bed in four-star hotels, flying to the best cities in the country, and expensing everything are over.

A night like tonight, however, was priceless.

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