BY CONNOR ONION | Ball State Sports Link | Quad Cities River Bandits
Leaving Muncie early was not easy.
From live productions, to feature stories, to road trips to cover Ball State Sports, the combination of first-hand experience and the opportunity to learn and work with my best friends in Ball State Sports Link is something I will cherish forever.
On March 1, 2017, I began my professional career in sports media in Davenport, Iowa as a broadcaster with the Quad Cities River Bandits, Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.
The following is an account of a typical day in the minor leagues.
Quad Cities River Bandits Game Day:
8:00 a.m.: The River Bandits front office arrives at the ballpark an hour earlier than usual due to rain threatening the area.
8:15: Led by Head Groundskeeper Andrew Marking, Bandits employees drag tarp to protect the infield from impending showers. The crew consists of one groundskeeper, two broadcasters, four sales representatives, two promotions directors, two box office directors, the Assistant General Manager and the General Manager.
9:00: Work begins on game notes to be distributed to local media and the opposing broadcasters for tonight’s game.
11:00: Game notes are completed to include stats, trends and personal information on tonight’s starting pitcher and each position player for the River Bandits. The notes also include notes on other Houston Astros affiliates.
11:15: Stock the press box soda machine.
11:30: Create a 40-page statistics packet to be distributed to each of the River Bandits coaches. The packet offers information on league-wide trends, who’s hot and who’s not.
12:30 p.m: Statistics packets are dropped off in each of the coaches’ offices in exchange for the night’s lineup.
12:45: A phone call is placed to tonight’s umpires to figure out who will be behind home plate and who will be on the bases.
1:00: A lineup card is generated manually and distributed to the home and visiting clubhouse.
1:15: No more rain. The tarp comes off.
1:30: Work in Photoshop begins to design a lineup graphic for the day’s starters.
1:45: More rain. Tarp goes back on.
2:15: The lineup graphic is completed.
2:30: Break for lunch.
3:00: Use Photoshop to create media passes for tonight’s guests in the press box.
3:15: Scratch that, the laminator is jammed. No credentials tonight.
3:30: Put those work clothes back on. Time to take the tarp off.
3:50: Observe River Bandits batting practice.
4:30: Record a five-minute pre-game interview with last night’s player of the game.
4:45: Grab those work clothes again. The rain is back. The tarp is on.
5:00: Deliver the local Quad Cities Times newspaper and rosters to each of the 20 ballpark suites.
5:15: The rain is gone. Pull the tarp one more time.
5:30: Turn in an online assignment due for classes at Ball State.
6:00: Head up to the press box to hand out drink vouchers to local media.
6:10: Write out lineups in my scorebook.
6:15: Cut-up player interview for the pre-game show.
6:20: Produce the pre-game show.
6:35: The game vs. Kane County begins. I provide color commentary for the first three innings before taking over as play-by-play for innings four through six.
9:25: The score is tied 1-1 and heads to extra innings.
9:59: River Bandits third baseman Randy Cesar delivers a walk-off single (video link below).
10:15: Begin writing the postgame recap on the Bandits win.
10:35: Post the story to the website.
10:45: Clean up the trash in the press box and toss it out in the dumpster in the concourse.
11:30: Begin game notes for tomorrow’s 1:15 game.
1:30 a.m: Finish game notes and cut sound of tonight’s (last night’s) walk-off hit.
2:00 a.m.: Arrive home from the ballpark and set the alarm for 7:00 a.m.