Close

April 13, 2018

A Reflection: My 1st Year With Outta The Park

It’s Thursday and I sit and write this while my daughter watches a movie.

I’m tired…scratch that.  I’m exhausted.  I’m a father, a husband, a teacher, a drummer, a podcast producer, a co-host, and a sports fan.

My children are awake at various points throughout the night and my wife and I soldier on throughout the day as we both work.

I’m angry. More angry than I’ve been in a while.

It has been one of those weeks.  Two steps forward and one step back has been my life over the last year.  

Outta The Park has become one of my focal points and I’m a fraud, but as a result of that fraudulence, my eyes are opened.  I have no radio background and no media background so I find myself continuously in catch up mode.  Its tireless work.  Endless.  And I ADORE it.

My year with OTP has been more of an education than those in broadcasting school would have ever had the benefit of paying for.  I’ve talked with Josh Donaldson, Curtis Joseph, Marco Estrada, Cito Gaston, Doug Gilmour and list goes on…  What student can boast a first year in school with highlights like that? No one can. Barry Davis has provided me with an education.

I learned what an intro and extro is. I’ve learned about drops and hits, tops and tails, environment audio, set-ups, and many other radio techniques.

I’ve battled a stutter and learned to streamline my speech while interviewing some of the athletes that I routinely watch on television.  I’ve suffered through camera anxiety. I have been in awe of my position from moment one and take time, quite often, to soak it all in.

I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded and I’ve learned to multi-task multi-tasking.

I’ve also seen the underbelly of the industry.  

Here’s some things that I’ve had the benefit of learning in over a year being with an independent media company. Many of these revelations will surprise those on the outside.  In fact, many of these revelations still surprise me.

1). There are those in positions of power that could drastically help Outta The Park and they refuse to.  There are roadblocks upon roadblocks that continually arise.  In fact, “the rules” that we have to play within seemingly change on a weekly basis.  Is it personal?  I think so.

“WE ARE NOT MEDIA,” is what we have been told by some.  Podcasting, it seems, is either too new or too frightening to many, and so, we find ourselves in the purgatory between fandom and legit media.  Even Barry, with 25 years on the job, is not considered media by many in high ranking positions.  After breaking sports news stories that have been picked up by ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo, MSN etc, we are still not considered media.

IT. IS. FRUSTRATING. I have thrown things.

2). There are those, in positions of power, that are happy to help. Along the way, I have been touched by the kindness of people, who many a sports fan would know, that have gone out of their way to make things possible for us.  To those people, I am indebted.  Many of the names on the backs of jerseys have been nothing short of wonderful to us over the last year.  Which athletes?  Turn on your TV.  Yeah.  Those ones.

3).  I’VE GROWN TO DETEST TROLLS:  A large percentage of the population are just horrible people. Plain and simple.  There are many that are sociopathic and clearly only in it for their own benefit.  You know who you are.  If you’re asking if you’re a troll, chances are you are. From watching the delight taken at poking fun at any and all initiatives that OTP tries from those sitting on their couches with an 1/8th of the ambition that our small team has, to assuring us that PLAYER X will never join us for a conversation, I have seen enough of what humanity is on social media.  In a lot of ways it makes me loathe our species.  There truly are disgusting people that walk among us and it pisses me off.

I have thrown things.

4). I’VE GROWN TO ADORE HUMANS:  I’ve seen warmth and nurturing of the highest order in my last year on Outta The Park.  Listeners have banded together to help each other through the toughest of patches.  Marriages breaking up, deaths in the family, job loss, and sickness are all traumatic situations I have watched our listeners hold each others’ hands through. It makes me proud.  It makes me keep going.

5). Athletes suffer.  I’ve been privy to conversations with the mics off and heard how many of the players you’re watching are suffering emotionally, away from the field of play.  Its made me look at a tough patch by an athlete in a whole new light.  It makes me hate TROLLS even more.  See point 3.

6).  Opinions are like…well… you know.  This was me, a little over year ago.  Guess what, in a lot of ways our opinion is flawed.  I used to formulate an opinion based on what I was watching or seeing.  Then I began to interact with athletes and realized my thought process was built with faulty wiring.  What we are seeing is a fraction of the whole story.

Case in point:  Yangervis Solarte is the happiest guy in the world.  He is a widower, raising 3 girls after his wife died of cancer.  The Solarte you are seeing on the field is the Solarte he wants you to see.  Is he fighting back tears, laying his youngest down to sleep at night, because she looks like his deceased wife?  Maybe.  Maybe we need to consider that all is not as it seems. Maybe we need to be adults.  Maybe…

Dioner Navarro can’t hit anymore… His wife was in a coma. MAYBE HIS MIND IS ELSEWHERE!

So…

This is me, angry, on Thursday with a pile of laundry beside me.  I have to get lunch for my little lady and then do interview prep for Outta The Park.  

But no matter… My efforts may be in vein. Tonight, someone will say something about me online, based on zero fact, and many will take it as truth.  All this, while I answer a text from a listener that is currently battling anxiety and my heart goes out to them.

So you wanna know what I’ve learned in a year with Outta The Park?

It doesn’t matter, many will make up their own answer.

Leave a Reply