In the old days, radio broadcasters didn’t travel to away game and instead recreated a game broadcast in the studio. Tonight Jesse Goldberg-Strassler revives the tradition.
Goldberg-Strassler is the voice of the Lansing Lugnuts (Low Class A; Midwest League) and a great traditionalist when it comes to baseball and broadcasting. (Full disclosure: he’s the author of The Baseball Thesaurus, which we published late last year, and he writes for this site in the offseason.) One of the more fascinating traditions in baseball broadcasting is the recreated game, where a broadcaster in the studio would use information from a telegraph feed to describe the game action as if he was at the game. (If you saw Bull Durham, you saw an example of it.) In fact, the very first baseball broadcast — Harold Arlin’s KDKA experiment, involving a jerry-rigged mike and a front-row seat at Forbes Field — was a game recreation. Game recreations carried on to the 1950s and 1960s, but by then the majority of radio broadcasts were carried over telephone and satellite lines.
This will be Goldberg-Strassler’s seventh game re-creation, first performed on assignment in 2005 in Brockton, MA, as an intern; performed via necessity in 2008 in Crestwood in the midst of a no-hitter, and performed as an annual tribute to the original baseball broadcasters ever since he first arrived in Lansing in 2009.
The practice is pretty simple: Goldberg-Strassler and his broadcast assistant will be broadcasting from the Cooley Law School Stadium press box in an area where they can’t see the action on the field (yes, the Lugnuts are at home), with Goldberg-Strassler calling the beginning and end of the game. The pair will send one another messages via computer or, if that doesn’t work, passing slips of paper, relaying the play-by-play in the game in its simplest form (“ball” or “single”), with the broadcaster creating everything from scratch. There will be mini-bats used to create the *crack* of the bat and a baseball slapped into a glove to simulate a swing and a miss. And, of course, there will canned crowd noise.
Treat yourself to a listen: it will be live tonight on TuneIn Radio, with gametime set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Photo by Wendy Smith.
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