Developing a strong knowledge of the other teams in your league is an essential component of delivering a high-quality broadcast.
One of the easiest and most efficient ways of understanding your league’s dynamics is checking all of the out-of-town box scores at the end of each night.
If you don’t already do this, I know what you might be thinking. You’ve just worked a 16-hour day (welcome to the minor leagues!), already helped pull the tarp twice, still have to write your game story, and are staring down a morning start time for the annual “Kids Day Game.” The last thing you want to do is dive into more baseball.
However true these circumstances might be, I promise you that reading your league’s box scores on a regular basis will have a profound effect on the quality of your broadcasts. You don’t have to study every single box score, but if you start making this a part of your nightly routine, your grasp on what is taking place across the league will drastically improve.
You’ll begin to familiarize yourself with the players on each team, how each manager handles their lineup and bullpen, and identify when something abnormal takes place (no-hitter, four home runs by one player, etc.). This is a major time-saver if you really are in a crunch, and can’t read every team’s post-game press release (note: whenever possible, you should read every press release you receive from other teams in the league).
Immersing yourself in the league’s nightly results leads to a critical mass that will allow you to spot when a team’s star player receives a “DH day” or when a fifth starter is skipped in the rotation. This information is invaluable, especially if you are facing a team for the first time, or if you are simply new to the league as a broadcaster. It can also tell you which players to focus on if you don’t have time to research the entire 25-man roster for an opposing team.
The Pacific Coast and Midwest Leagues are the largest in the affiliated minors, with both checking in at 16 teams. So at most, you’re only talking about seven box scores in addition to your own. Checking the finer points of all seven shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
Prior to the first game of a series, you should also check the box scores of your opponent’s previous series. This will give you an idea of what pitchers might be fresh in the bullpen, or what position players might have a day-to-day injury. Your opponent’s closer may have worked each of the last three nights. Knowing this ahead of time provides relevant context in the event someone else is called on to pitch the ninth inning when your team is trailing by one run.
If you make a habit of talking with the opposing manager before a new series, I wouldn’t blame that manager for being reluctant to explicitly tell you that his closer is “down” for that night’s game. But if you do your homework on what the opposing team did in their previous series, you can logically deduce that the closer’s recent workload is the reason why he’s not warming up for a potential save situation.