A real team effort

A friend of mine, St. Louis Cardinals TV director Tom Mee, is finishing a book on televised baseball; and after he asked me to write a liner note for his cover, it got me to thinking about our MASN Nationals crew and what great work they do!

The men and women behind the scenes make Nats baseball a pleasure for Rob, Debbi and me to cover, and I want you to knowFirst of all, many of them work the Orioles games when the Nats are out of town, so no crew in the nation does more baseball than ours.

We also have a smaller group that travels with us to every road game, so this core group is all Nationals, all the time. Many game days they are at the stadium before noon for a night game, and they stay long after the last pitch.

It all starts on-site with Chip Winfield, the hardest-working and most knowledgeable baseball producer with whom I’ve ever worked. He produces our format every day, the outline that decides what Nats stories we will cover and which graphics we’ll show on the screen. During the game, he decides on replays and makes sure all of our promotional elements get on the air to help the Nationals promote the team. Chip is very intense when needed and very clever and funny to keep us loose during long games.

Director Doug Yalacki is a veteran of many baseball and hockey seasons, and he has the perfect temperament for calmly making split-second decisions on the fly. He calls every camera shot and tape rolls for replays, and he makes sure our cameras cover every inch of the ballpark when the baseball is flying all over the place.

Mike Dressman coordinates the tape room, where those timely replays and highlight packages come from, injecting exciting video into every game and always making sure you never miss any of those great moments.

Josh Hull works with our graphics operator Lisa Hanson to put together all the facts and numbers you see on the screen. Every day, they load hundreds of graphics into the computer, and when Josh calls out a graphic’s assigned number, Lisa’s magic keyboard work has it on the screen in seconds.

Justin Jarry is a one-man gang on the Pitchtrack, letting you know where close pitches are in relation to the strike zone, so Rob and I can speculate on how a home plate umpire is doing with his balls and strikes.

This traveling party, in conjunction with local crews in every city we visit, bring Nationals baseball to you every night.

At Nationals Park, you never see them, as the MASN trucks are in a tunnel under the batter’s eye in center field, but without them, there’s no telecast.

During the game, Rob and I work the “talkback” button on our audio boxes, so we can talk with the truck off-air and make suggestions, ask for camera shots, and stay in touch with Chip so that we’re all on the same page. As a crew, we communicate a lot during the game; and some nights we have a great time when the Nats are doing well, and other nights we suffer along with the team when it struggles.

It’s a well-orchestrated team effort and I wanted you to know about the team members behind the scenes and the great work they do. At MASN, we’re very proud of the product we put on the air every night, and this group of hard-working, dedicated professionals makes it a pleasure for the announcers and, hopefully, a joy for you at home!

For me personally, it has been a blast working with them these last four years and I hope they know how much I appreciate what they do, how they do it, and the positive vibes they send to the booth every game! what they do every game for six months.