Fox Sports Midwest asked me to be a part of the Cardinals pregame show when they visited Dodger Stadium last week… the following is an account of that day:
I get down on the field and meet the Cards TV fellas. Go down the right field line to film a short segment for the website and get interrupted by Manny Ramirez whistling and yelling across the field to me. He calls out for me to do “Ethier” and then Furcal yells for me to come to left field. I finishing the segment while trying to make sense of a world where I’m holding up a finger to tell Manny Ramirez to wait for me to finish something. Huh?
Sean, my buddy, who is the cameraman today, and I head over to left field and greet/shake hands with Manny, Furcal and some other Dodgers. Casey Blake, Juan Pierre, Manny, Furcal, etc lob out names. At one point I explain that Russell Martin is one of the few players that adjusts his crotch while in the box and that most leave the box to do it. I reference Teixeira who leaves the box to adjust himself, and Doug Meinkeivich questions what he’s actually adjusting, oh boy. I get big laughs for the Juan Pierre strutting slidestep towards the box and Casey Blake’s facial expression.
I go back over to Cards side to film the pregame show with Brendan Ryan and myself. We have a good time because he’s a cool dude. Then we finish and several pitchers ask for me to entertain them. Ryan Franklin tells me he saw Letterman and the biggest laugh comes during the Ryan Ludwick imitation. Mind you, I’ve never been asked to do a Ryan Ludwick imitation, therefore, I have never attempted a Ryan Ludwick imitation. In fact, 10 times over the next 15 minutes, I get a Ludwick request, from Adam Wainwright, to Matt Holiday, Rick Ankiel, Julio Lugo, Mark DeRosa…everyone. The best request for Ludwick coming from….Ludwick. He takes the bat from me and does an imitation of himself. All on tape courtesy of my buddy Sean who is a die-hard Cards fan. So much so, he goes off script and asks Ludwick if he can take a picture with him. I’m thinking (Agghhh Sean?! What are you doing? I’m trying to be professional. Yikes- cameraman taking photos? Crap, how bout ask LaRussa for his scorecard or Pujols’ cell phone number? Great Sean.) Oh well. Caleb, Jason, Scott & Steve are busy/working tonight., so Sean will do. More to come on this…
Have a good conversation with Colby Rasmus. I congratulate him for getting up to the big club. The Cards all laughed at my imitation of Rasmus hitting the walk-off HR from earlier in the week. The most organic connection I get is from Adam Wainwright. He asks me if I do pitchers. I tell him only when pitchers throw the 0-2 most filthy curve ever, then I react pumping my arms like Wainwright did as a rookie ending the 2006 NLCS. He immediately smiles and sticks out his clinched fist for a pound/knuckbump.
During BP I have a 15 minute conversation with Cards coach and Royals legend Hal McRae. He starts with, “You don’t know who I am.” To which I respond with, “With the Royals, by 1985 you were so hunched over I know you wore the number 11.” He lights up and starts lobbing out names of old Royals. We talk about the state of the Royals, how he lived in the playoffs throughout his career, first with the 1970 Reds then with the Royals. He spoke off the cuff about the early Rays draftpicks like Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young. It was incredible. I can’t believe I’m able to talk with these pillars of baseball. God bless every 26 year old All-Star but many times it’s the 63 year old 1st base coach that I can’t believe I’m meeting.
I’m meeting an entire team of All-Stars today and yet at one point I find myself eyeing a Cards asst coach and saying, “Wow, there’s Mike Aldrete.” There are Aldretes that don’t remember the playing career of Mike Aldrete, but if I owned a baseball card of a player or saw him make a divingcatch on This Week in Baseball as a kid- WOW, then it’s a big deal to see them.
At the end of Cards BP, I am having a conversation with an LATimes/SportsIlli video web content guy when Adam Wainwright taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey nice to meet you.” The next night he’ll pitch a no-hitter into the 6th inning. We then get escorted into the pressbox where I learn fairly quickly, from the iconic organ lady, Nancy B Hefley, that you are not allowed to clap in the pressbox. Oops.
The day is a success, we come home exhausted. I drop the camera and tape off at Caleb’s house who will then watch the segments and download the footage as he has every single other video we’ve shot.
The next day Caleb’s house is broken into a robbed. All the videocameras, computers, ipods, even chargers. And yes, our videocamera and tape too….. Therefore, I arrive home and download my lone picture from the still camera….here it is, the only image still in our possession, from the day……….Sean and Ryan Ludwick.