Transcript: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Media Conference Call


Transcript: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Media Conference Call

The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball team, featuring analyst and World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez and play-by-play commentator Matt Vasgersian, along with Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president of production and remote events, answered questions Thursday ahead of the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

Rodriguez, Vasgersian and ESPN Senior MLB Insider Buster Olney will provide commentary for three national MLB games in four days to start the season:

  • MLB Opening Night presented by John Deere: New York Yankees at defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals on Thursday, July 23, at 7 p.m. ET;
  • MLB Opening Day presented by John Deere: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs on Friday, July 24, at 7 p.m. ET;
  • Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, July 26, at 10 p.m. ET.

For the full ESPN season-opening and Sunday Night Baseball schedules, visit ESPN Press Room.

An audio replay of the call is available here.

MARK GROSS: Thanks everybody for calling in, and I think off the top, we’re excited. We’re excited to get the season started.

We’ve had Major League Baseball on ESPN, as you heard Ben say, for a long time and we are just excited to get going and we feel really good about kind of the system we have in place, the plan we have in place, and also feel great about the schedule coming out of the gate with seven games over the course of next Thursday through next Sunday.

The basics of how this is going to work for Sunday night is Matt and Alex will both call the games from our studio in Bristol, so you will see them on camera periodically like you would see them periodically on camera from a booth. For Sunday Night Baseball, we will be taking multiple camera feeds from the stadium.

So, for Thursday night’s case, from Washington, and then from Los Angeles, we will bring all of those cameras into a control room in Bristol on campus, and we will produce and direct the game, Jeff Dufine will produce and Jeff Evers will direct the game utilizing those cameras coming into the control room in Bristol. All of the graphics will come from Bristol. K-Zone will come from Bristol. Replays will come from Bristol, and obviously like I said, Matt and Alex will be in Bristol.

At this point, it looks like Buster will be at the game in Washington. He will drive to the game, and we are still kind of sorting out what that means and kind of what that looks like.

Since these are national names on July 23, Dodgers/Giants follows Yankees/Nationals, we will repeat that with Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and I believe Tim Kurkjian will do that same thing for the Dodgers/Giants game.

The next day, July 24, we have three non-exclusive games, so they co-exist in the local markets, and the way they work, on weeknights and those games, those three games on July 24, the home team RSN will essentially produce a clean feed. We will augment it with a couple cameras, K-Zone, etc., and the bells and whistles, and we will call those games from Bristol. So, Karl will be in Bristol or Jon Sciambi would be in Bristol and the analysts would be at home.

So, it’s a little bit of a variation on how we do KBO, the Korean baseball games, where everybody is home. The play-by-play people this season in Bristol; analysts during the week at home; and on Sundays, Matt in Bristol, Alex in Bristol, Buster either at the game, Bristol, home — still working through what that’s going to look like. But those are the basics.

The other area that I’ll touch on and then I’ll get out of the way, audio, which is seemingly a popular topic. Right now, it looks like all of the stadiums will have crowd noise, will have their organists, potentially their PA announcer, etc.

So, we welcome that honestly, and what we’ve learned in KBO is a little bit of crowd noise certainly goes a long way when it comes to Major League Baseball, or when it comes to KBO, and I think when it comes to Major League Baseball games.

So, we are not looking to fool anybody. We realize there’s no fans there, but by having a little crowd nat sound below the announcers just seems to make it work and doesn’t sound quite so hollow when we are doing the games.

So, we look forward to it. We think it’s the right call for Major League Baseball and the teams, and we certainly will take part in it when you hear what is taking place at the stadium just like you normally would if there were fans there.

That’s what I have, and I’ll get out of the way and take questions if there are any.

Q: How strange will this be broadcasting games from Bristol rather than being — talking to managers and players before the games at the cage and missing that interaction?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think there will be some cons and some good pros from a preparation point of view being in Bristol, being in the same building with Jeff, kind of having home-field advantage — I never thought I would call Bristol home-field advantage, but here we go, 2020.

As far as the thing I’m going to miss the most is just kind of chitchatting with the players. Having kind of have some of the off-the-record conversations about what’s going on with their health, what’s going on with — in their lives, and all that have is kind of a kinetic issue to perform and what’s going on. Some things, 90 percent of that stuff you don’t use on the air, but it kind of gives you color and it helps you round out the telecast as you are well informed.

MATT VASGERSIAN: I agree with everything Alex said. I would also add this — I’m not sure if on this day, what would be weirder: Calling a game from the studio or calling a game from a completely empty ballpark. Because I know a lot of regional guys who have been calling the intrasquad scrimmages for their rights-holders and each of them has said the same thing; that it’s just so strange to call a game with nobody there, and I think the impulse, you’d have to fight that impulse that it doesn’t matter as much if you were at the ballpark.

We are in a studio. We are removed from the strangeness of the atmosphere. We have our own strangeness to deal with being in a completely different location. But for any of us who have worked off of a world feed before, you just have to adapt and to echo what Mark said earlier, I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes. I can’t wait to get going next week.

Q: What intrigues you about trying to purchase the Mets, and would it be viable without a share of SNY and is there any worry that club revenues are going to be unreasonably depressed because of the pandemic for the next few years?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Thanks for the question. I have limitations on what I can talk about the Mets. I could answer the last part of your question, which I think the challenges in baseball I think will be universal, right, not only with baseball, with all of sport and a lot of businesses being disrupted all over the place.

But I do think that with a crisis comes an opportunity, and I think the opportunity for us and the game of baseball is to lean into the forward-thinking that other leagues have adapted quicker than us. I think this gives us an opportunity in 60 games with a sprint, not a marathon, that everything counts, I guess around 2.5.

And with that, full access to more clubhouses, making sure that everyone is healthy, batting cages, full access to batting practice and in games, if someone, we were watching MLB Network, we were watching Matty yesterday with Harold and Ripken, that’s where my life has gone to now, I watch Major League Baseball nine hours a day, and you had Christian Yelich on, and had a few strikeouts or whatever, but my daughters were sitting kind of watching and said, oh, my God, that guy is really cool, and now they both follow him on social media.

Again, I heard Ripken say, “Well, he struck out; he won’t do it again.” I think we’re missing the point. Entertainment, there’s the business of entertainment, it’s not just baseball or sports, and I think the more we broaden our breadth, the more we are going to take this game in revenues from ten to 15 to 20 billion and we are going to do it by collaborating and by everybody being on the same page and thinking big picture.

Q: Are you worried about the prospect of a lockout and a lengthy work stoppage in 2022, that if you get involved in the management side? There is a lot of downside risk.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Downside protection is always the most important part of investing in anything.

What I will tell you is that I was there for 1994 when we walked away, I believe it was August 12, we were in Oakland. I was a young lad, 18 years old or so, Griffey I think hit his 40th home run that day. But understanding that the leverage of the players in 1994 was totally different than today.

Today — then, we had a strangle hold on professional sports, baseball was one. Today, the NBA has become an international conglomerate. NFL is a juggernaut. Back then there was no Netflix. There was no SnapChat. There was though Disney+, ESPN+ and everything in between to attract your attention.

So today, we have to really work collaborative with the players and the owners to say, how do we compete together to become No. 1? The only way it going to happen is they get to the table and say the number one goal is let’s get from 10 to 15 billion dollars and maybe we split the economics evenly.

So that’s the type of the conversation, instead of fighting and fighting against each other because there’s too much competition out there right now.

Q: Mark, I wanted to know if you had conversations with Alex or other ESPN executives about Alex calling Mets games, and was there any discussion to not assign Alex any Mets games, given that he is at the moment interested in being part of the ownership of that team.

MARK GROSS: Yes, we have talked about it, and right now we are getting out of the gate — July 26, the first Sunday Night game we have Braves/Mets. Chipper Jones will do the Braves/Mets game and Alex and Matt will do the Dodgers/Giants game.

Q: As a quick follow, would it be your plan or intention to not have Alex joining that game this season?

MARK GROSS: Yeah, I think we’ll do it case-by-case. The way we are getting out of the gate, right now, honestly that’s the only Mets game on the Sunday Night schedule as it stands now unless something were to change.

Right now, I think we would certainly shy away from having Alex do a Mets game just so we don’t put him in a bad position, put the Mets in a bad position. Certainly, don’t want to put Alex or Matt in a difficult position given what’s going on.

Q: Can you elaborate on the crowd noise and what’s appropriate — what you think fans do want and to what level — what are boundaries of what you should and shouldn’t put on during this kind of situation?

MARK GROSS: I think it has to do with the level of the audio. So, it won’t be overpowering in the stadiums with the natural crowd noise but I think it will be just enough — you know, when they are clicking around to different games or different shows on TV, it doesn’t sound like a hollow, big 40,000, 50,000 seat baseball stadium. It just rounds out the coverage and is part of the overall mix between the announcers; if the stadium has the organist, the stadium has PA announcer, they have some of the different audio chimes, charge and whatever else it might have. I think it just rounds it out instead of it being hollow, and that’s what we’ve learned with KBO. When we haven’t had feed issues or crowd audio, it sounds hollow. You sneak in just enough crowd audio for the baseball games, it’s much less hollow. It’s more authentic than I thought it would be, and I think the initial fear is it would not be authentic. But it’s worked out well and I think again, it makes for a better viewing experience.

MATT VASGERSIAN: I’ve expressed this on a number of different platforms. What my fear was is that whatever crowd noise was going to be supplied either by the broadcast or by the host facility was going to obscure the opportunity we have to get some really transparent authentic sound off the field, the likes of which we have never before gotten because it’s going to be crystal clear.

We’re going to be able to hear middle infielders talking to each other and we’re going to be able to hear guys on the bench as that extra coach, if you will, when a guy about to break on a stolen base attempt.

In my conversations with Mark and with Phil Orlins, our coordinating producer and with Jeff Dufine, our producer, the audio sweet spot that they found in their KBO experiments sounds like it’s the perfect balance to still allow us to capture some of that and still make the viewing experience feel right at home.

The audio part of this and Mark touched on it earlier is getting a lot of conversation, and that’s one of the things that I just absolutely can’t wait for. I can’t wait to hear what we hear. Nobody involved in broadcasting baseball wants for compromised strategy.

We are not looking to pry into the playbook so to speak, but we do want to hear things that maybe we wouldn’t have heard ordinarily, and I’m looking for the positives in this weird year of ours and that for me is one of them.

Q: What has Major League Baseball told you about specifically what kinds of sounds they are supplying? Are there going to be individual and chants for each team and stadium? What’s your understanding there?

MARK GROSS: The understanding now is that the individual stadiums would have at least, call it the crowd noise. Beyond that, I don’t know specifics, but I know one team that I’ve spoken to, they are going to have the organist, they are going to have PA announcer, so on and so forth, but I don’t know about if that’s every team. I think it’s going to be a good audio experience from everything we are being told.

MATT VASGERSIAN: I was just going to add, it’s my understanding, as well, that clubs do have a bit of license on this, and I know that the Brewers a couple nights ago in their experimentation, and they were running a full pallet of audio effects over their scoreboard system during one of intrasquad scrimmages, they were treating players to boo sounds, as well. They were experimenting with — it’s not just going to be win-one-for-the-gipper type stuff. They are experimenting with a lot of different things.

Q: Will the Tomahawk Chop chant be heard on these broadcasts?

MATT VASGERSIAN: I don’t know. I don’t have a sense for that. I know the last thing the Braves said was that they are kind of reviewing that part of their fan experience. So, I’m not sure if that means it’s going to appear or not.

Q: It sounds like it’s up to individual clubs; is that correct?

MATT VASGERSIAN: That’s my understanding, yeah.

Q: As far as the crowd noise and everything that the teams are using, if you were a player, would you welcome that for a little bit of buzz noise in the background instead of it being completely quiet so — I mean, I know Joe Maddon said that his fear was they hear from the dugout the announcers calling the games or strategy and stuff being picked up by mics during games.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I’ll have conflicting answers here because as a player I would want some type of sound, just kind of the white noise that as a player, playing for almost 25 years, just get used to.

As a fan, I’m going to echo what Matt said. I think the sounds of the game of baseball are so unique, are so cool, have never really been heard. I’ve always thought that, you know, Major League Baseball Hard Knocks would be so enticing because they are so reflective of what happens in our everyday life. It’s not just once a week. It’s seven days a week.

From a fan perspective, I would love to hear the great sounds of — remember Nolan Ryan — Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, the popping of the mitt. We are going to have an opening day with both guys going to be rushing it up there about 100 miles an hour, and you only hear that sound in Arizona or in Florida in February, March, in the early morning on the backfield. You know, the crack of the wood. There’s so much trash-talking that goes in those dugouts. If you actually lower the volume and hear the players, I mean, there could be fights every day, but we can’t fight because of social distancing.

All of it in between, even coaches telling you, get off, get off, or play-by-plays, I think this could be a really big opportunity to hear the players. Again, the more we can reveal of the players and what kind of people they are and you hear the voice, you may get intrigued to learn more about them.

Q: For a 60-game season, do you treat it like it is August 1 in a pennant race and every game means something?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I think you treat it as a regular season, 60 games left and you’re tied for first place and you’re ready to go and every game is important.

If you think about it, if you’re off to a 6-10 start in a long season, it may not mean anything, but in a short season, you’ve got to be careful not to, you know, dig too much of a hole.

Q: This is a time of increased tension between ownership and the Players Union after what we’ve been through with negotiations in the last couple months. Do you feel like you can comment genuinely on that dynamic as you are trying to join one of those groups as an owner?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I think I can because my goal as a fan first is to grow the game and make it more popular. One thing that people forget is we have 13 million young kids and girls play baseball and softball just four years ago, today that’s up to 16 million and that’s better than football and basketball. It’s still America’s sport. We just have to be able to capture teenagers and keep them captive.

My goal is the same as Mark or Ben or Matt or Buster. We want to grow the game and be spokesmen for the game of baseball and again the conversation should be more about growing the pie, not which percentage of a smaller pie am I going to take; I think is the wrong fight and we’ll put our energy in the wrong places.

Q: Most analysts project the Rockies will finish in the bottom half of their division but in a 60-game season, do you see Colorado as one of the teams now with a better opportunity for a surprise run at the playoffs and what must happen for the Rockies to do it?

MATT VASGERSIAN: I am about as big a Buddy Black fan as there is among anybody on the planet, and I have the utmost faith in his kind of style and leadership.

I also think, the crux of your question, yes. The Rockies are a live dog, as they would say on a poker table, and, in fact, every team that maybe found themselves in the gray entering spring training part one, and I put the Rockies in that category, they are not a complete rebuild the way say the Marlins or the Tigers would be classified. But they were not viewed as a slam dunk for post-season, either. Certainly not contending with the seven-time champs, the Dodgers.

So, teams like Colorado, San Diego, Cincinnati, the Indians in the American League, we could probably identify a good handful of them with the Rockies at the top of the list. With a 60-game schedule as Alex said perfectly a moment ago, you are tied for first place on August 1 with 60 to go.

What needs to happen there, I think it’s pretty clear for a lot of people that watch a lot of baseball; that the pitching component is what’s failed the Rockies the past couple years, which a lot of people thought that they had taken a step forward in that department, and then there were some rather mysterious regressions on the roster.

I think if they pitch; getting in and out of Denver, the climate adjustment, the altitude adjustment, their biggest challenge always. If they can pitch and they can catch fire, maybe the way they did the end of 2007 season, I don’t know if they will win 20 out of 22 again, but yeah, why not? The Rockies are a live dog for me.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I agree with everything Matt said. The other part is that the Rockies went 31-29 the first 60 games last year. They still have Arenado, Blackmon and Trevor Story, and the thing to think about as a player, I always found it incredibly challenging, especially in the middle of the hot summer, to go there as a visitor.

So, starting the time we are starting now, I think they have the unique opportunity to even improve on their record from last year. So, they could be very dangerous.

Q: I’m not sure if this is a stadium-by-stadium call or if this is ESPN’s call, but I was curious if you’ll go forward with the idea of putting virtual advertising in some of the empty seats in the outfield?

MARK GROSS: As we sit here today, there is plans to have some virtual advertising, not necessarily in the seats, but I would say at this point, it’s comparable to what we’ve done regularly on a Sunday Night game.

Q: Can you give a little more guidance about that? That’s a little vague.

MARK GROSS: Still working through the mechanics of how it would work.

Q: Let me throw in a bonus one then. Are you going to expand satellite delays just in case Alex was saying, you might get some trash talk, etc., etc., is there going to be more of a delay with the feed to make sure the audio is clean?

MARK GROSS: The honest answer is, don’t know yet. Again on that one, still working through it. Again, a lot of these things are all new and fluid, so what we decide one day seemingly changes the next.

So, I’m not trying to avoid the answer, but it’s a good question, which we just don’t have a firm answer yet. So, I don’t want to tell you something and then something else happens on Thursday.

Q: Are you saying whatever crowd noise is in the broadcast will be generated by the home ballpark and their sound system, not manufactures by Bristol or ESPN or your crew?

MARK GROSS: Exactly. So, the audio you’ll hear on your game, if we’re doing a Nationals/Yankees game, the audio you’ll hear as far as the crowd noise you will hear out in the stadium, and thus you would hear that at home just like you normally would.

We, ESPN, are not padding or sweetening anything from Bristol. We are just taking everything in from the stadium.

Q: You mentioned the KBO broadcast and learning to adjust for the crowd noise and stuff, but I was curious, what else have you learned from hearing those remote broadcasts and are there any logistic things you took away from that that you are maybe anticipating could be a potential challenge in pulling off these remote broadcasts?

MARK GROSS: What we have learned is technology is your best friend. If somebody had said we with were going to have a play-by-play announcer in Connecticut; an analyst in Florida, and a guest from another country and a game coming from Korea, I would be — I had no idea what this is going to look or sound like. But it worked out really well.

So, we have never done games from people’s homes until a few months ago. So, I would say we’ve learned the technology is out there and we have learned that things are changing, and will continue to change as far as when it comes to TV production. I think everybody is realizing that just because you did it one way for X number of years, doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way.

And for us, the goal is always to make sure there’s no negative impact on the product for people watching at home. People, I don’t think viewers at home, they are not interested in what’s taking place behind the scenes. They are interested in who is winning the game, why are they winning the game, what game is coming up next, etc.

Technology has been our best friend, and keeping an open mind to everything across the board has also been our best friend. If somebody told me that Matt and Alex would come see me every Sunday night for Sunday Night Baseball, and I wouldn’t have to go see them, I would sign up for that. That’s what’s going on.

Q: Is there anything that you’ve learned as you’ve prepped from talking to people who have been on those broadcasts regularly in terms of do’s and don’t’s or helpful tips or anything you’re preparing for?

MATT VASGERSIAN: Yeah, I’ve spoken with Boog Sciambi about it and he has said — try to rally for the biggest possible monitors they will give you; that’s a work-in-progress. I’m looking for jumbo screens, and always be ready for last-minute changes because when you’re not there, physically at the ballpark, the chain of command is completely different, and if there’s a lineup substitution, you don’t have the usual resources that you would ordinarily have at your disposal to sniff that out. We won’t be able to run next door to the home radio booth to ask a guy who was much more familiar with each roster than we would be as national presenters, what that lineup change is; or to run to the official scorer or to send somebody downstairs to the clubhouse. We don’t have that.

We are subject to whatever sound and images are being shown to us in the studio. So, to stay kind of — stay glib, I guess. Stay agile, would be the suggestion that I have.

Q: Just overall, sport is often used as sort of a distraction from people’s lives, which is kind of — how do you view that this year, especially in broadcast, it’s going to be weird. People are going to see a lot of empty seats and cardboard cut-outs of fans and a lot of people wearing face masks?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: To answer your question, the abnormal has become the normal. I think in many ways, bringing baseball and being kind of the first sport to move is an incredible advantage. I think the 23rd presents an incredible job opportunity to reintroduce the game of baseball, and it will be a period of adjustment. I said to a few of my friends that they should make up an award for the trainers, doctors and medical staff, the MVPs, because whoever keeps the players healthiest can win the championship.

But it’s a year of adjustments, and I think baseball becomes the comfort food that Americans and people in this country want right now, and I think will provide good entertainment and bring great value to people through the sport of baseball.

MATT VASGERSIAN: I would also add that baseball viewership as escapism isn’t such that we are going to try to take fans into Never Never Land and make believe that none of this existed. The pictures people see of empty ballparks and people wearing masks beg for explanation. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to transform them into their happy place of viewership and make them forget about what’s happening in the world.

I plan on embracing it, because my optimism borders on considering me a Pollyanna because I don’t think we are going to have to deal with this in multiple seasons. At least I hope not.

So, let’s embrace the uniqueness of it and give an accurate presentation of the experience for the players and with the hopes that it never has to go this way again.

Q: Curious if you can expand about ESPN’s role in determining, fine-tuning implementing the fan noise, and during the game will you have communication with those teams’ stadium operators about how it’s coming out?

MARK GROSS: Again, work-in-progress and I think everybody realizes that. So, we have a great relationship obviously with Major League Baseball and the teams, so we will be in contact with the teams. Easy enough for us to do that from Bristol.

And you know, how is it sounding? I think we’ll know pretty quick after a couple innings how this is all working. If it’s not working or if it’s too hot, then obviously we can be communicating that to the stadium.

But I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I think — I think it’s going to sound like a baseball game, and I think when you’re clicking around, watching a game, it’s going to sound like a game, but enhanced — in some cases like Matt said earlier, by some of the things taking place that you may hear that you don’t normally hear.

Again, going in with the positive, optimistic route that this will be really good and we will learn from this as we go through it.

Q: Some of the players have opted out of the season, big names, Buster Posey specifically. What were some of your thoughts when you heard some players making this decision?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I 100 percent support them. I do as a fan of baseball and a broadcaster of ESPN, also, and if they were my teammates; I think health and family is most important here and I think we should all be supportive to those kinds of decisions.

Q: Curious what the experience was calling games remotely, and for Mark, did you make these guys practice for it?

MATT VASGERSIAN: Yes, I’ve had some experience calling games remotely when I was working in San Diego as a Padres play-by-play guy for their TV package, they did an exhibition series in Beijing, China and they didn’t send the broadcasters. We called that off too from the studio. I’ve been a part of a number of Olympics years with NBC Sports and did a lot of that work off-tube remotely, as well.

As I said earlier, you have to embrace it. You have to understand that you don’t have the usual channels that you’re used to for getting your information. You are kind of on the monitor. And when sports TV is working at a high level, there’s this kind of triangle of creative thought that’s all working in simpatico, producer, director, booth; meaning, play-by-play and analysts.

And when somebody goes someplace, the other part of the triangle supports it. The other part of the triangle might lead the other two corners into a direction, but everybody is kind of going in the same way.

You don’t necessarily have that when you’re working off-tube. We are fortunate with Sunday Night Baseball that we will have our own group working together. We are not limited from a pure world-feed standpoint. From that end, it should be easy for us, and my experiences have been positive in the past working this way.

Even though Alex and I haven’t rehearsed this way, he’s comfortable enough in the studio to where I think we can hit the ground running on Thursday night.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: For me, having Buster on location, the possibility of having him there, we’ll have some type of connection to the building, the weather, how people are feeling, kind of the temperature in the building. That’s one thing.

I think one of the things you’re always cognizant of, people always say, don’t forget how hard the game is once you get to the booth. I think that becomes even more of a challenge for Matt and I the further we remove ourselves from this great game, the easier it looks — because the talent is so supreme on the field, it’s important for us to remember how difficult the game is, and that’s an important thing.

MARK GROSS: We will not be — there are no scheduled rehearsals like Matt had said. Matt and Alex being in the studio, sitting next to each other, we’ve got some big monitors for Matt, hundred-inch monitors — just kidding — they will be fine.

In some cases, again, going the optimistic route, there’s going to be less distractions. You’re in a studio with four walls, comfortable chairs, perfectly air-conditioned. We don’t anticipate any problems with these guys calling a game from Bristol, Connecticut.

Q: This is a work-in-progress, but has there been any discussions about fan integration whether virtual or via video conferencing? And because it’s such a unique time, do you have some leeway in asking the RSNs and networks for camera shots or do you just have to deal with what you’re given?

MARK GROSS: To answer your second question, we are simply utilizing the crew’s camera people, and the cases you’re talking about, we are utilizing the camera folks who work for the home team RSN. I don’t know specifically who they are. I am going to assume they are local hires, but it is not our standard Sunday Night crew on the road. Like Matt just alluded to – Jeff Dufine is Bristol-based and he’s the Sunday Night Baseball producer, he will be producing Sunday Night Baseball just from Bristol.

Q: Any discussion about integrating fans with Zoom or video conferencing?

MARK GROSS: The only conversations we’ve had is watching what the teams do right now as far as the cardboard cutouts with the fans; right now, we don’t have plans today, anything can change, to have multiple fans from one team the watching the game with us.

But again, anything can change, and anything can change, certainly, between now and next Thursday, and anything can change week-to-week.


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