In the old days, radio broadcasters didn’t travel to away game and instead re-created a game broadcast in the studio. Tonight is the annual ode to that baseball tradition, as Jesse Goldberg-Strassler presents his game re-creation as part of the Lansing Lugnuts (High-A; Midwest League) broadcast.
Jesse is a huge traditionalist when it comes to baseball and broadcasting. You may know him as the author of The Baseball Thesaurus from August Publications or the host of our various podcasts. One of the more fascinating traditions in baseball broadcasting is the re-created 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.) Game re-creations carried on to the 1950s and 1960s, but by then the majority of radio broadcasts were carried over telephone and satellite lines. And one can argue that calling games remotely from a studio via video feed–as was widespread throughout the industry in 2020-2021 due to COVID–were game re-creations of a sort.
His first re-creation was 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 Jackson Field press box in an area where they can’t see the action on the field (yes, the Lugnuts are at home; game starts at 7:05 p.m. Eastern). 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 be canned crowd noise.
You can find the game broadcast here. Remember: 7 p.m. ET.