Intern in the Booth
Whenever you tune in to a professional sporting event you will likely hear someone broadcasting the game, match, etc. These sports announcers appreciate the art form that is unfolding and are there to help provide an understanding of what is taking place on the field, court, rink or pitch. This is especially true for people listening to the event on the radio as the broadcaster is the only source of information the audience has to rely on. A radio broadcaster needs to be proficient in describing what exactly is taking place as his or her words are the ones that can make the listener feel like they are at the ballpark. Everything from setting the scene to the play-by-play is dependent on the broadcasters ability to paint a picture for those not at the game.
As my summer internship at the Shore Sports Network nears its end I jumped at the opportunity to experience just what takes place during the broadcast of a live baseball game. The Lakewood BlueClaws are the Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies and all 140 games are carried on News Talk Radio WOBM AM 1160/1310 which is part of the Shore Sports Network. I was given the chance to sit in with the voice of the BlueClaws Greg Giombarrese who also serves as the team’s Director of Media Relations.
The broadcasting booth was far from what I imagined as suite would be a better term to describe Giombarrese’s summer home. It is located directly behind home plate on the same level as corporate suites and offers a perfect view of the field. Giombarrese, who is in his 8th season with the team spends time before the game to focus on that night’s broadcast but in his Media Relations position has to juggle that with other responsibilities. It seemed like every few minutes somebody was coming into the broadcast booth with a question not related to his work on the air but he smoothly answered them or directed them to other team personnel.
Once the game started was great at calling the action and was quick to bring up stats and while telling anecdotes about the players on the field. The ability to fill in the time between pitches is vital for a baseball broadcaster because it’s such a long game with plenty of down time that needs to be filled. Having quick tidbits of information to share with the audience gives them perspective about the players and helps provide a better listening experience. Giombarrese made sure to stress this point to me when I asked him about the hardest part of being a baseball broadcaster.
My time in the booth was quite enjoyable even though a foul ball just missed making an unwelcome entrance. As it was a BlueClaws player fouled one straight back which broke the window of the suite next to us. Greg was in shock and had never seen anything like that before during his time with the team either at home (FirstEnergy Park) or on the road. While I was a bit scared he went right back to calling the action and observing him for 9 innings (with a little help from retired Asbury Park Press sportswriter Tony Graham) was something I will long remember. His knowledge of the players and BlueClaws history is second to none and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity.