If you’re not doing so already, make sure to record all of your broadcasts.
Recording each game offers a wide variety of benefits that will aid in your development.
While the following list is hardly all-inclusive, our four reasons why you should preserve your broadcasts are self-evaluation, accountability, demo-creation, and nostalgia/humility.
Feedback, both internal and external, is an excellent starting point for identifying the strengths you should accentuate (listeners enjoy your pace) and the weaknesses you need to address (listeners think you speak too quickly).
However, in order to fully-leverage feedback into actionable change, you need to be able to go back and hear yourself in real time. Analyzing your best calls is a great way to reinforce what you are doing well, but it is just as important (if not more) to re-listen to your mistakes.
It is only human nature to avoid reliving something that you did wrong. The mere thought of listening back to a botched home run call or the misidentification of the opposing shortstop will inevitably cause you to ask yourself, ‘how many other people heard me screw up too?’
This entry covers the more basic—but fundamentally important—subject of pitch description.
Pitch description itself is self-explanatory. Assuming the ball is not put in play by the batter, the listener needs to know what type of pitch was thrown, the location, the velocity, and the outcome (ball/strike/foul).
Pitch “description” can also be referred to as pitch “calling.” However, the latter implies that simply identifying the type of pitch is sufficient, whereas incorporating the breadth of details mentioned above paints a much clearer picture for the listener.
An average baseball game might involve close to 300 pitches thrown between the two teams, the large majority of which are never put in play. The batter/pitcher matchup is baseball’s most basic form, and the way each subsequent pitch changes the odds of an at bat’s eventual outcome is one of the game’s greatest intricacies.
Providing as much detail as possible on every pitch can help the listener visualize the drama of the batter/pitcher battle as it unfolds in real time.
The “six-four-three” double play (recorded as “6-4-3” in a scorebook) is one of baseball’s most recognizable events. The shortstop fields a groundball who flips it to the second baseman, forcing out the runner on first. The second baseman then throws to the first baseman, retiring the batter and completing the double play.
Whether it helps a pitcher escape a late-inning jam, the second baseman valiantly heaves the ball to first despite being taken out by the runner, or the first baseman saves the entire sequence with a nifty scoop, a well-executed double play can deliver some of the best drama and excitement baseball has to offer.
The “6-4-3” might be the most common version of a double play, but there are quite a few variations of the “twin killing.” Among them are the 4-6-3, 3-6-3, 3-6-1, home-to-first, and even line drives or flyballs that result in double plays. And of course, there are double plays such as this.
Due to the wide range of double play combinations, it’s very common for baseball broadcasters to verbally incorporate the defensive numerals into their calls (either in the “live” portion of calling the play, or as a means of informing the listener of the official scoring after the play is over).
Because this mechanism is frequently used by broadcasters, I want to bring up a specific type of double play that is often erroneously cited on the air.