West Coast road trips are always interesting to work…and when I say “interesting”, I’m just being nice. I don’t mind ’em as much as most folks, I guess, because I’m kind of a night owl. But I must say that the prospect of a rain-delayed 6-hour game doesn’t exactly appeal to me!
For those of you who have ever spent an extended amount of time out West, you know that the world of sports appears vastly different out there…what I mean by that is that we are used to 7:00pm games when the Yankees are home. But when you live out West, that’s 4:00pm! The Yankees’ game is in the books, on average, by 7:00 or 7:30 every night…you can watch the game early then go out…dinner, cocktails, whatever.
My first TV job out of college was in Eureka, CA, and doing the sports at around 6:20pm every night, I’d always show Yankees hilights in progress. Then, on the 11:00pm news, I’d show the Giants and A’s hilights.
But the best part of the night was our post-11pm show routine. Our studio featured a small set built into what was essentially a large steel shed building…(funny side note: during heavy rains in our area of coastal Northern California, you could actually hear the rain hitting the roof of our building ON THE AIR! The sound was picked up through our microphones.)
Anyway, post-show, our director, technical director and one of our cameramen, and me, would stick around…move the cameras to their furthest point away from the set…and break out the wiffleball equipment! The beauty of our set was that, on the left side (left field) was a weather board made of plexiglass, on which (prehistoric) our weather person actually wrote the temperatures of different cities in black eraseable pen! Centerfield was the center of the set, behind where the news anchor sat…and rightfield was behind the right side of the desk, where I sat to do the sports.
We teamed up…2 on 2…and played some of the craziest games of Wiffleball ever…rocketing, and I mean absolutely ROCKETING, line drives off that plexiglass wall in left! Sometimes, we’d just keep playing and playing, look up at the clock and it was, like, 5:00am! Amazingly, we never broke anything, nor did we leave dents in any of the walls (that would have looked nice on-air!)…the bosses never knew about our WiffleMarathons.
You know how people say that, upon reflection, some of the best times you’ll ever have are times when you’re at a small place, just starting out, making horrible money? Well, it’s true. And I hope that, whoever reads this, no matter what you do, you make the most out of all your experiences and enjoy the heck out of them! I sure did!