Six hours before any given Florence Freedom game, the press box is relatively calm, with only the occasional sound of bat on ball breaking the silence. The voice of the Freedom, John Leahy, will be diligently studying up for the nights game, and fellow intern Jesse and myself will be going about our intern duties (preparing the media stat packs for the nights game, sending out e-mails to season ticket holders, making out lineup cards, etc....). But in a few hours time, it will become the bustling nerve center for everything you see and hear at Champion Window Field.
The video above shows the general setup of the press box during games. It has two tiers: John and the visiting team broadcaster sit in the front row closest to the field along with any other media members that may be in attendance. In the back row we have Emily "aka Stat Girl" who is in charge of all the music and sound effects that are played throughout the game. Next to her is public address announcer Kevin Schwab "aka Schwaby". To his right, is Nate "aka the big grimbo " who is in charge of inputting the balls, strikes, outs, score, batter number, etc...into the scoreboard. Next to him is Mike who is the official scorer. And on the far right is the seat where I reside. During games I am in charge of updating the scoreboard marque with batter stats, what they did in recent at bats, miscellaneous info, and in game updates.
During games, all of us have separate jobs to do, but we are also codependent on each other and communication is key.
"Everybody is extremely focused," says John Leahy. "We all like to do a good job but we like to have fun at the same time. We're loose, we're comfortable, but we have a commitment to doing things right. But if you can't have fun in baseball, you can't have fun anywhere."
And we do have some fun. Whether it's throwing promotional foam eyeballs into the crowd, creating humorous inning sponsors (anything from Stadium Steve to uncle Jessie from Full House), or playing obnoxious walk up music for apposing batters (Oakland County's Zachary Pace was the unfortunate victim of the oompa loompa song from Willy Wonka due to his short stature), we think it's important to entertain the fans and to a large extent ourselves as well.
But rest assured, many hours are spent behind the scenes in order to make sure everything runs smoothly during the game. A lot of the things fans take for granted are being attended to by a handful of extremely dedicated men and women, to make sure that fans get the best experience when they come to Champion Window Field.