Spilling The Beans On The Air

As sports fans, we often think we know what players are thinking.  On the field we assume they must be anticipating the next play or contemplating strategy.  Off the field, we assume they don't have a worry in the world.  Well, we know what happens when we assume....we are often very wrong!  It turns out that quite regularly the players are are focused on the broadcasters!

Broadcasters get a candid, eye-opening look into the real thoughts going through players' heads during a game.  While broadcasting for a professional baseball team in the mid 1990's I had a second baseman say he was always looking up at us in the broadcast booth, wondering what we were talking about.  He yearned to switch spots.  ( I would have obliged) Another time, the third base coach turned toward my broadcast perch above the third base dugout and actually answered a question I had posed to listener on the air. 

Perhaps one of the strangest encounters I had was when a pitcher called me aside one day before the game.  There was something on his mind.....something that seemed to be causing him some real distress.  We had become quite friendly, and he had recently introduced me to his wife.

"Do me a favor, " he said. "Please don't mention on the air anything about my wife."

It turns out that the two had married hurriedly without the knowledge of either family.  His concern was that I would spill the beans on the air, where his parents and family would hear back home via the streaming internet broadcast.  I would blow the whole thing!

Never in a million years did I think this star player would be worried about something I - the lovable broadcaster - would say on the air.

I never once mentioned his secret - until now.  But I certainly thought about it often, each time I saw him on television playing in a big league uniform.

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