Tuesday Night MASN
For those who have never worked in the media, never been a part of the process of covering a live event, a television broadcast may seem simple enough. You point a camera and you shoot. Easy, right? But what about when there are multiple angles – not two or three, more like six or seven? What about coordinating real-time instant replay with the broadcasters so they know what’s coming on the screen next? How about counting every shot down to the second to make sure all of the advertising fits into the commercial breaks? And then, on top of all that, how about doing it all in an unfamiliar venue that wasn’t built for a multi-camera, televised broadcast?
Welcome to Spring Training, and the challenge presented to the folks at MASN here in Viera. If you have the chance to take in one of the games they are televising this spring from the seats here, go ahead and count the cameras. There’s the low-first (at the end of the home dugout), the high-first (at the top of the walkway between sections 214-215), the high-third (ditto for sections 204-205), the high home (just right of center on a balcony along the top level of the ballpark), a pair of center field cameras (just to the left of the 404 mark between the flag poles and the batter’s eye), and a roving camera for scenic shots. Each camera has its own operator, all listening to a director and producer, seated inside the production truck, cleverly hidden from site behind the scoreboard on the backside of the berm in left-center field.
From the ballpark, you rarely notice anything different than a non-televised game. The cameras are largely out of view, save for the two situated on the scissor-lift in center field. But from the truck, the event is quite a production. Multiple voices talk over each other to set up each piece of each shot, from compound instant replays to motion graphics and stats overlays. Towards the end of a game that is dragging past its third hour – which all in the truck seem to agree is unnecessarily long for a Spring Training game – the jokes start to run back and forth over the intercom. And even while team members are laughing or firing back with some wit of their own, they are executing their tasks in unison, a team of 20 or more in total, working to provide a smooth, entertaining broadcast back to our fans in D.C.
The next time you watch a game, look for the shots you would choose and see if the producer follows your same line of thinking. After Ryan Zimmerman doubles to the right-center field gap (which he did again Tuesday night), which replay do you go to first? A real-time shot from center field, to highlight the swing? The high home angle, that shows the ball arc towards the gap as the fielders run after it? What next? The high-third shot as he digs around first base and cruises into second? Quick, make up your mind. If you haven’t yet, then it’s already too late.
The game that MASN broadcast Tuesday night was a 6-3 Nationals loss to the Tigers, but was not without some bright spots for Washington. Did we mention that Zimmerman is on fire right now? He finished 1-for-2 with a double, a sac fly and an RBI, and has posted a video game-like OPS of 1.874 so far this spring. Mark DeRosa drew a pair of walks in three trips to the plate, and now has more walks than hits for the spring (five to four). That is not normally the best thing to hear for a hitter, but when his batting average is .500 and his on-base percentage sits at .692, well, then it’s probably alright.
Also, Bryce Harper is back in the lineup for tonight’s game against Atlanta in Lake Buena Vista after missing a few days with a calf strain. Harper’s last game played was the last time the Nats faced Atlanta, and he is hoping to return to the form he showed the first week of games where he batted .455.
Here are the Nationals results to date:
vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0
@ Houston – L, 3-1
vs. Houston – L, 10-2
@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1
@ Atlanta – W, 5-2
vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3
vs. Houston – W, 8-0
@ Miami – L, 3-0
vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2
@ Detroit – T, 5-5
@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)
vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4
vs. Detroit – L, 6-3
@ Atlanta – Wednesday, 6:05pm
Overall Record: 5-4-2