Hot Streak: The MLB On FOX Crew Keeps It Cool for a Big Broadcast in The Bronx

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It felt more like mid-July than Memorial Day weekend at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., when the Yankees hosted the Los Angeles Angels on an unusually hot and humid Saturday night.

The atmosphere in the young but venerable ball park made it feel much bigger than a late-May regular-season game. With Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez in pinstripes, and Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons and Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani in the Halos’ lineup, there was a sizable selection of probable AL All-Stars in the dugouts. Maybe it’s a preview of a game we’ll see again in October.

FOX’s lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck is no stranger to big games. He has called Super Bowls and World Series, and his on-air presence lends gravitas to any event. Buck met us on the field during batting practice before he started his pregame cram session. “It’s usually like a scramble between when I get here and when I get my little scorebook ready and everything all laid out in front of me,” Buck says. “But then, just the same as football, you do all this work, you do all the reading and all that stuff, and then the game starts, and you barely look at any of it.”

Fortunately, Yankee Stadium can do much of the talking. “You go to a stadium like this, and the stadium, the crowd noise, just kind of carries the action,” Buck says. “You’re doing TV, so you can kind of highlight it, and not really have to do, as far as me, play-by-play. I just try to pick my spots and not overtalk.”

The nerve center of FOX’s broadcast was in a truck parked outside the stadium’s right-field walls. Inside the darkened and very well air-conditioned trailer, production staff sat in front of dozens of flat-panel screens previewing video and graphics packages created for the broadcast. Game camera and microphone feeds were monitored here, and the crew had an intricate but orderly process to determine what goes on air and when. It was an impressive symphony, and this wasn’t even the whole orchestra. “For the World Series or All-Star Game, all the equipment is doubled or tripled,” says FOX Sports’ Wayne Fidelman. “That’s when heads are ready to explode.”

FOX’s production will be in full force as the MLB All-Star Game takes place at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., July 17. It’s the first All-Star Game held in Nationals Park, and the first held in D.C. since the Washington Senators hosted the game in 1969.

2018 MLB All-Star Break

Home Run Derby, July 16, ESPN, 8pm ET
89th MLB All-Star Game, July 17, FOX, 8pm ET

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About Ryan Berenz 1965 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.