Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Andersen: Broadcasting Baseball Isn't Easy.

PHILLIES BROADCASTER AND former professional baseball player Larry Andersen says that when he's calling games, he tries to find that balance between being honest and keeping his employers (the team) happy. It isn't always easy. After all, he began his on-air career with the team in 1998, a pretty dark era in Phillies history.

Anyway, here are a few other things that stood out for me from his visit today:

- He arrives at the ballpark at least three hours before game time so he can study the media notes and talk to players.
- Everything he says on air will be scrutinized by the players, fans, management and whomever, so he needs to make sure he has his facts straight.
- He is a fan but he tries to not get too excited on air. He says that he mutes his microphone sometimes so he can jump around and scream without being distracting to the audience.
- When he began as a broadcaster, he tried to act like a broadcaster. He was stiff, like a deer in the headlights. Now he tries to relax and be himself.

- Because he works for the team, he can't divulge all the crazy stuff he knows about the players. Especially not on air.
- Larry says that having training as a journalist is important for folks interested in doing play-by-play work. As a color analyst, however, his strength is his experience as a player.

- He says that there is a general lack of trust of the media from the players.
- He believes that journalists are more critical of players whom they don't like personally. "If somebody is an ass," Larry asks, "aren't you going to be more harsh when he messes up?"
- He advises young players to cooperate with the media, or else the media will be even more critical.
- When he is critical of the team or the stadium during broadcasts, he can wind up in trouble with the club's administration.
- "From what I remember, it was a blast," he says of the 1993 National League championship season. "This is how you're supposed to play. We were always talking about baseball. We didn't have a ton of talent but we played the right way."
- When Harry Kalas passed out in the broadcast booth in Washington last year, Larry gave HK CPR until the paramedics arrived.
- He says that he knows he's doing his job right when fans tell him that listening to him on air is like sitting on the back porch, drinking a few beers, conversing about baseball with a friend.

What stood out for you?

35 comments:

Tim Keller said...

LA is the most down to earth guy. I grew up listening to him call the games with HK. Awesome guy, Awesome broadcaster. Gave us some great information that I think will really help.

Luci Volpe said...

LA was great today. He had some great information, and it was nice to hear form someone who had been on both sides of the game.

Annmarie Dinan said...

LA was a really entertaining and informative teacher. It seems to me that he is good at what he does, because, first and foremost, his passion is baseball, and this allows him to really care about what he reports about, which makes him entertaining.

Kaitlin Ziminski said...

LA did a wonderful job today speaking in class. He kept the discussion interesting and told some great stories.

joe boland said...

I thought that he was very interesting and easy to listen to. The stories about past and present phillies were awesome. Im glad that I got to see him.

Connor Showalter said...

Having LA in class today was a great opportunity to understand the way he sees the game as an analyst and former player. I liked the clubhouse stories he told as well!

Megan McGrath said...

Having LA in class today was a great opportunity to see sports journalism from both sides. He had excellent first hand experience and information to share with the class. The stories he told about the past and present Phils were great. Glad I was able to hear him speak.

Kevin Harkins said...

I've never had a better time in a single class period in my life, and on top of that it was informative. It's interesting to look at the differences between color guys and play-by-play people. I loved the Phils stories from an inside perspective... you wouldn't happen to know Jaworski, would you?

Michael Stoltzfus said...

LA was really interesting to listen to in class today. I think it's incredibly cool that he has been able to experience media from both sides. I was really impressed how he jumped into broadcasting with little to no experience fearlessly and learned his way. Good for him!

Anonymous said...

LA was good, but I love the Yankees too much.

Daron Stivender said...

LA was funny. He is himself and doesn't try to be something he's not!

Jessie Fox said...

I enjoyed listening to LA a lot today. He was very comfortable with himself that showed in the way he talked about his job and his separate love of the sport. I thought it was interesting to get his perspective on what its like to balance his professional career with his home life. Its sometimes hard for people to make that transition and that stuck out the most when he told the story of one of his teammates. He explained that he had one mess up and after the game while everyone else was celebrating, he stood at his locker and didn't move for an hour an a half. Some people take things too hard and that can cause negativity for the whole team. There really is no "I" in team and LA emphasized that a lot, not just in baseball, but in life as a whole.

Peter Dalmasy said...

Nice guy, I really enjoyed having someone in the sports media industry come talk to us about his experiences.

I think, in a similar vein, Professor you should try to get Stephen A. Smith to come talk. I think that would be awesome.

Chris Tieuli said...

I respect the fact that Larry is not necessarily a "Phillies apologist" when the team is playing poorly or does something disagreeable. He calls the game the way it is, and he isn't afraid to use his baseball knowledge. Being a die hard red sox fan, I feel this is lacking in the red sox broadcasts, and while lesser baseball fans may think it is more entertaining, I think it makes for a weaker baseball broadcast. Although Larry may be "forced" to sensor his comments, based on what he says I think he calls a good game. He was also involved in one of the worst trades in major league baseball history

Berryman, A said...

LA was a nice guy, he did a really good job providing us students with information on sports media and he answered every question he was asked to the best of his knowledge. He also seemed to be a down to earth guy and really cool, I enjoyed having the opportunity to listen to him speak.

Tim Deaner said...

LA was an interesting guest. It's funny how you see the team in the media and then hear about them from him in a different aspect. Overall, I think he gave good information and was a great speaker.

Casey Carden said...

Not being the biggest baseball fan, I didn't know much about Larry Anderson coming into class. However, he's extremely interesting and funny. I thought it spoke a lot of his character when he talked about knowing the real reason Victorino got benched, but also making the conscious choice to omit that from his broadcast. Even though it would have been juicy material, he had the integrity and conviction to know what not to discuss on air. Great lecture!

Matt said...

Larry was very down to earth, you would never guess he is a former MLB player, or that he works with some of the top athletes/names in the league.
I really like when he described how he makes it through his professional career without allowing things such as big wins (or losses) to interfere with his personal life.
He said "never let your highs be too high, and never let your lows get too low."
I think that's a great way to have a healthy, balanced life.

Nicole M Recek said...

Larry showed us that there is a time to have your opinion and there's a time to be professional. I think him being a baseball player before being a broadcaster helped her understand what people really want to here from all angles.

Jess Lopez said...

I am a big Phillies fan and was thrilled to have LA in class. It surprised me just how personable he was with the class and I admired how dedicated he is to telling it how it is. He was a great speaker and his enthusiasm for the game was completely evident.

Nichole Fray said...

LA gave great insight on reporting in the sports field. He gave some great pointers on how important it is to be careful with what you report, by making sure you know your facts correctly and know their context. This is important because you would never want to embarrass or discredit yourself as a legit journalist or reporter.

Katherine Carpenter said...

LA's story to broadcasting fame was not inspiring to me. He showed how his connections and networking got him the job he has today. But not all of us have played, or will play for a major league team. Getting this job is not as easy as he made it seem. I do not think he is a realistic person to model ourselves after.

LuQman Harper said...

I am not much of a baseball fan, but I am very interested in sports media. Listening to LA talk about his career experiences really did open my eyes about the potential of fun you can have in a career that you have a passion for. I found his presentation to be very insightful.

Brian Okum said...

It seems like former players are an important asset to sports broadcasters, and Larry Andersen appears to be a valuable one who has found a his niche in a post-professional baseball career.

Lauren Davish said...

LA has a great personality. He was so down-to-earth and honest about what he does. I thought he was a great representative of a Philly sports team.

Rachel Stumpo said...

He was nervous at first which is understandable since our group is pretty big, but after awhile he became more relaxed and comfortable with us. It was like he was meeting each one of individually,and as usual when you are first meeting someone, there is tension until you get better acquainted. The fact that he was like this made everything he say more sincere and interesting.

Nice guy, great talk.

Sarah Sibel said...

I thought that he was very engaging and very impressive. I have not met many celebrities that I have been very impressed by, but I must say that he was a very mellow and laid back kind of guy and he truly represents what I have known my entire life to be of the Phillies organization as a whole. I look forward to every spring when my true self can come out again, and his discussion yesterday was just a reminder as to how much I truly miss baseball right now and how much I am not liking this snow storms. It was an honor meeting him.

Alana Turchi said...

I think that what stood out for me the most was when he was saying how lost he was when he first started, the whole "deer in headlights" thing. Because he didn't have a broadcasting background he was awkward the first few years, but then he found himself. Learning to be himself and doing his job as himself is amazing. He isn't trying to be some pro broadcaster. He just wants people to exprence the game like he does, which would be an awesome experience since he knows what it's like to be on the field playing pro basecall. That genuine interest and knowledge of what is going on is something they can't teach you in school and it's what makes Larry Anderson great at his job.

Ed Robinson said...

It was great to hear him speak. Because he was with the team for so long he knows the angles he should use to present information on the team. He is fortunate to be able to report for a team even without any formal journalistic training.

Megan Schmidt said...

LA was a great speaker! I felt like he was talking directly to me instead of to our whole class. He is a great representative of Philadelphia sports, I felt like I got an inside look at the Phillies and now I can't wait till Spring time.

Chris Tieuli said...

In response to some of the comments that were made about obtaining Larry's job: Larry is a color commentator, meaning he adds insight and expertise to what he sees on the field, and he adds to what the broadcaster says. He does not give play-by-play, his partner does that. The strong majority of people with his job are ex baseball players, coaches, and people with baseball backgrounds. A journalism degree would make you a good broadcaster, but if you do not know anything about baseball then you wouldn't be able to be a color commentator like Larry (you can't be an baseball analyst if you can't analyze baseball.) This is most likely stating the obvious but I feel this was lost on some people

Erica Hochman said...

LA confirmed my belief that people will respond positively when an individual is honest and personable. He explained how he possesses these two qualities in this broadcasting and how those listening relate to him in this way. I found it interesting how he might glorify an opposing player instead of calling attention to the errors of other players. I thought this was a great tip for aspiring journalists to which we can apply this 'spin' in other situations. I feel that people see LA as a person who gives great input about baseball, rather than merely a broadcaster, which I believe is a status for which we should be striving.

Anonymous said...

Brittni M Baldrich

Andersen gave great information during class. I enjoyed the fact he gave us the ups and downs of the journalism business. He stayed completely true to himself and his character. He gave us alot of knowledge through his stories. I am grateful for being able to sit in and listen to his experiences. I learned alot from him.

alessandralaura said...

It was easy to recognize Andersen's genuine love for the game and how that drives him to be a better broadcaster. It is good to see because I think it inspires kids who really love something and want to be professionally involved in it to keep working to do what it takes to be involved in what they love.

Sam Kelly said...

"Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open."
-Elmer G. Letterman