Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Quick-Witted Lefty (Who Couldn't Hit)

Hall of Fame Yankee Lefty Gomez won 20 games four times.  Yet, he often dismissed his abilities as a hitter.

"I was so bad that I never even broke a bat until last year," he said. "Then I was backing out of the garage."

Gomez hit just .147 for his career.

One overcast afternoon, while stepping into the box against a young Bob Feller, Gomez pulled out a lighter and lit it up.  He said he just wanted to make sure the young fireballer could see him ok from 60 feet away.

Lefty Gomez is what baseball is all about.
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Don't Throw Out The Floppy Disk Yet!

Sportscasters, writers and media professionals compile an awful lot of stuff.  From rosters, team info, job search materials, education manuals, books, photos, etc. etc. etc.  I find most of this old material is rendered useless over time, however on occasion we need to get at it.  Sometimes years later.

Last year, as I worked on a project related to my first book, A Renegade Championship Summer, I needed to access some materials I had put together a decade ago.  I stared helplessly at the floppy disk, frustrated that it would not fit into my computer's CD drive.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't jam that small, hard disk into the thin slot.  (Only exaggerating slightly)  I needed the files but couldn't get to them.

After a brief search, I found Muller Media Conversions.  Within a week, they had retrieved my sports files and emailed them to me in a familiar, savable format.  I could continue with my baseball project and save the file for further use.  Tragedy had been averted.

Sports journalists need old files from time to time, and luckily I was able to get to mine eventually with Muller Media's help.  They were very professional and helpful.  Perhaps this tip can help you too.  Good luck!
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Friday, March 8, 2013

The 2nd Key To Successful Sportscasting.....

The other thing that I think is extremely important is something that was passed down from Red Barber to Vin Scully. I find it to be the best advice when it comes to broadcasting. This piece of advice couldn’t be simpler: Be yourself. You’re probably thinking, what the heck is this guy talking about? Red Barber told Vin a long time ago that only you can bring something into the broadcast booth that no one else can and that’s yourself. We were all created to be unique in our own way. We aren’t robots. Bring that personality of yours into the broadcast booth. You were hired for a reason because you stood out in a certain way that may have been more favorable compared to others. Be who you are and be proud of it. By being you, does that mean we are perfect? No way, no how! We can improve each and every day. Like I told you in the beginning of this post, I’m a young guy in this business. I know I have a lot to improve upon. With that being said, I was hired for a reason and I make sure I bring that to the ballpark each and every day. Make sure you do that as well.


Preparation and be yourself. That is my advice to all of you. Its advice I hope to take with me as far as I can climb in this business. Remember, this business is truly a journey. You will see a whole lot of different things each and every day. Remember to have fun and enjoy it.

Thank you for reading and I hope to write to you all again someday!

Mike Ventola

Director or Radio Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Southern Illinois Miners

Follow Mike on Twitter! @VentingDaily
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Guest Post: Mike Ventola's 2 Keys For Sportscasting Success! Part 1

Good morning, afternoon and evening! My name is Michael Ventola, a minor league radio broadcaster and media relations director for the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. I would like to thank Rick for allowing me to write to all of his readers in hoping I can share some knowledge to those trying to break into the business and/or trying to learn something new !

Allow me to give you a brief background of myself just so you have an idea where I’m coming from. I’m a New Jersey born, Pennsylvania raised guy living in Easton, Pennsylvania for sixth months of the year (when I’m not in Southern Illinois working for the Miners), where I graduated high school. I graduated from Immaculata University, which is located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a degree in Communications in 2010. I’m entering my fifth season in minor league baseball, second as a lead broadcaster. I spent prior years working for the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League, the Reading Phillies of the Eastern League and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League.

If there is anything I learned in my short years as a broadcaster are two things that every broadcaster needs to be successful. Now, I have not reached the level of success that I’m looking for but I can’t push away the accomplishments I have made. I’ve been a part of some exciting seasons the past few years that I will most certainly take to the grave with me.

Now, the first thing that is key to doing your job correctly is preparation. One thing I have learned from my mentors who broadcast on the Double-A and Triple-A level, is that it doesn’t matter how great of a voice of you have because if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you won’t sound good either way. In minor league baseball, a lot of broadcasters are media relations directors and have other tasks as well. A lot of broadcasters make sales calls and help out in other departments. How do they find time to prepare? Well believe it or not, they have to make time. Whether that’s earlier in the day or even during lunch, as broadcasters we have to find time to prepare to make sure we deliver a good broadcast each night. That’s making sure you find time to talk with coaches and players, attend batting practice as much as you can. Make sure you pop in the clubhouse to see how the players are doing from time to time. When you’re on the road, it’s the perfect time to talk with guys because it’s who you will be with for that three to six day stretch. The more knowledge you gain, the better off you’ll be.

Once you bring in all that information, then you have to decipher what will be used and what won’t be used. That was one of my biggest hurdles in the beginning. The more you’re on air and the more you continue to call games, it’s then you will be able to adjust accordingly. Its one thing to read stats and throw out numbers, but it’s another thing to share a few stories about the players and coaches. Fans do want to hear the numbers, but don’t be afraid to share a story from time to time. Remember, you are the liaison between the team and the fans. Give them something so they’ll be coming back each night.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Mike's Keys For Sportscasting Success!
Follow Mike on Twitter! @VentingDaily
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Monday, March 4, 2013

Horrendous NBA Broadcasting

Want to see an NBA broadcaster get fooled?  I mean, really fooled. 
This was from the Piston's 96-95 win over the Wizards last week. Comcast SportsNet's Steve Buckhantz was fooled so badly, it's funny.....



I'll give Buckhantz a little credit, though.  He eventually showed a sense of humor.

“The dagger has been retracted,” Buckhantz said with a laugh.

George Blaha and Greg Kelser of Fox Sports Detroit were only slightly better.
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Let's give credit to Kelser for quickly realizing what happened, and for making the point without completely embarrassing Blaha.
TV broadcasters have to keep an eye on the monitor, BUT they must not be so focused on the screen that they cannot see what is transpiring right in front of them!

Getting fooled for a split second makes you human. Being thrown off for almost a minute is almost inexcusable for a TV broadcaster.  And if it really was because they are perched "up in the rafters", get the broadcasters a better seat!
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