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You Have To Plan For A Successful Pregame Show

“Plan B’s are sometimes needed. If the subject of Plan A isn’t available, you can’t cancel your pregame show because the first option was a dead end.”

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It was the TV show “The A-Team” that probably put it best when Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith said often, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Another famous quote says “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” No truer words can be uttered when it comes to your broadcast as well.

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Always have an idea of what you are going to do when you get to the ballpark. This goes for broadcasters, pregame hosts and reporters alike.  

Generally when I’m hosting the pregame show, I already have a pretty good idea of what the storylines are going to be when I arrive. Of course there are the days when that plan can change drastically, which I’ll get into in a bit. I know who is pitching the night before the current game, so I can do my research before getting to work. That information may provide a good story I’ve dug up that I can use in pregame or when I’m doing play-by-play. I’m aware of any connections between players and the opponent, or players and the stadium they’ll be playing in and if someone was hurt the night before. 

For example, while doing play-by-play for the White Sox/Cubs series at Wrigley Field I remembered that when I was with Yonder Alonso in San Diego, he told me the story of his first major league home run. It came at, well you guessed it Wrigley Field against the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano when Alonso was a young player with the Reds. My White Sox audience would probably find that story interesting, since Zambrano was a not exactly a name held in high regard with Sox fans. So I approached Alonso and had him tell the story again and it played well with the broadcast.

Now again, I had the benefit of knowing the story before, but I didn’t the first time I met Yonder. I just assumed that since he was with the Reds, he’d played a few games on the North Side and just innocently asked him if he had any stories about the Ivy Covered ballpark. Sure enough he shared the information.  Common sense led me to the info, but research into the players past set the wheels in motion and gave me a story I’m now sharing with a second audience. 

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It is so important for you to get to know the players and coaches on your team, because with that knowledge comes power, the power to capitalize and create a nugget or chunk of info that will not only fill your show, but be interesting to your audience. Use the fact that you know your first baseman is from Pittsburgh and your team is playing the Pirates. Was he a fan growing up? Memories about trips to the ballpark with family? Favorite players growing up? All excellent ways to get to know the player and provide great stories for your listeners. 

If you know that Player A looked a bit gimpy the night before, that’s an obvious follow up. You find out that he’s not in the lineup after seeing it on Twitter either before you got to the park or when you arrived. Well, get on that!

You have to be paying attention. You must try to notice the little things that most won’t think to look at. Again this goes back to knowing your team. Player A didn’t hustle to first like he normally does, so that’s an immediate red flag to me, at least to keep in my back pocket for the following day when more info is usually available about him. 

Now there are going to be times you will need to be flexible. Sometimes the best laid plans need to be put aside because news breaks. Don’t let it freak you out, although it may the first time you go through this. I can recall a day last year at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was a day or two after a Michael Kopech start. One that was marred by a rain delay and his velocity didn’t look all that great. Nobody thought much of it since he’s a young pitcher and maybe he was pitching into his velo that game. We were told that the GM would be meeting with the media in the dugout. Was it a trade? Did a player get released? Nope. He informed us that Kopech was going to undergo Tommy John surgery and would be lost for the rest of the season.

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Every other story was deemed backseat material when news like this breaks. Kopech was a face of the rebuild and a fan favorite and the information needed to be presented. I immediately texted the radio station to inform them of the situation and tweeted while I listened into the details. My pregame show and broadcast basically wrote themselves that day, but again, flexibility plays a key role in being able to pull this off under a deadline. 

Now again, when I say have a plan, you should likely have more than just that one. Plan B’s are sometimes needed. If the subject of Plan A isn’t available, you can’t cancel your pregame show because the first option was a dead end. This is where you have to dig deep and be able to carry on with a back up plan. It’s rare that a game that gets played nearly everyday will only net you one storyline worth following. 

Listen, read, pay attention and be aware of what is going on around you at all times. Trust me, the stories are there, you just have to find them. Sometimes they are in the most obvious places, but without that pre-show prep, you may just walk past and miss a great opportunity to tell tale. Be more like Colonel Smith of the “A-Team”, make sure that plan comes together. 

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BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

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Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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