Charmed, I’m sure

Keith Mills and me doing the first MISL Game of the Week broadcast on Fox Soccer in 2007.

So, the first MISL Game of the Week broadcast was….interesting, to say the least.

My partner, longtime Baltimore TV and radio guy Keith Mills, was a joy to work with. We got along well and clicked pretty quickly as a team. That’s not all that common in this business. I hope Keith gets to do the other games scheduled for Baltimore this season (I’m not scheduled to be on either of them).

Everybody on the crew, from Executive Producer Mike Saint Amand down to the intern who thought she’d be helping out with stats and ended up doing so much more, put in herculean effort to try to put on a good show. We learned a lot.

It’s just the nature of the beast that television isn’t that hard to do, but it’s pretty challenging to do well. With the equipment and budgetary constraints facing any niche sport, we’re forced to make do and that sometimes results in the challenges we had Friday night.

We couldn’t hear the producer, and he couldn’t hear us. Often times, we had trouble hearing each other. When it got loud in the building (artificially loud – note to the Blast: just because the volume goes to eleven doesn’t mean you have to crank it all the way up), we couldn’t even hear ourselves. When the many people it takes to pull off a television broadcast can’t communicate with each other (especially if you’ve never worked together before and haven’t established procedures or routines), it’s really, really hard.

I’ll give you an example: let’s say I dropped you on the southeast side of a fairly good-sized American city with which you weren’t that familiar, and I told you that you could pick up your paycheck at a building on the northwest side of town, about 25 miles away.

Now, suppose I didn’t tell you the name of the building, just kind of described it in general terms. And let’s say I didn’t give you a map, you didn’t have a GPS in your car, you had no radio and no cell phone, and you weren’t allowed to stop and ask directions.

Now, imagine that none of the streets were labelled. No street signs.

Finally, one person’s going to work the accelerator in the car and the other’s going to steer. Oh, and thousands of people are going to be watching you try to find your way to this place to pick up your paycheck and grading your performance.

Sound like fun? You might get there, eventually. You might, at times, look like you know what you’re doing. But unless you’ve been in a situation like this where you’re basically flying blind and largely deaf, it’s going to be a challenge.

Kudos to everyone who got us to that vaguely described building at the end of the street with no name. For those of you who watched, be assured that, going forward, the trip’s going to look and sound a whole lot easier. I have no doubt about that.

As for the game, it was a good one. The Baltimore Blast fell behind Monterrey La Raza 5-0, went up 12-5, then withstood a fourth-quarter rally and watched as Monterrey nearly tied it with seconds to go. They’re 5-0 and looking like the team that has won three MISL titles in four years. As for La Raza, when they get it figured out (they have 12 first-year indoor players on their roster), they’re going to be a handful for teams to deal with.

The game broadcast is here:

Thanks to Baltimore’s Amy Keller, the best PR person in the league. She and her staff were great. I got to see some of the city, including Babe Ruth’s birthplace and the Legends of Sports museum (both terrific).

The next MISL game I’m scheduled for is on December 22 in Chicago (it’ll air on December 29). See you then.

Kenn Tomasch

Kenn Tomasch