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Diary of a commentator

Discussion in 'Our Errors are Mistakes: The Media Forum' started by ConigliarosPotential, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This is the thing: basically, my goal is to get as high up the commentary ladder as I can, but really there are many different paths I might take to get there. If I were a one-sport guy, it'd be pretty easy to chart my path, both in terms of jobs to pursue and sporting knowledge to acquire. But I'm more of a 10-sport guy, which can be rather dizzying at times. I'd love to do more basketball, and I'd very happily commentate on just basketball for a living if that meant getting back to the States and working an NBA or major NCAA job...but to be good at basketball means watching lots of basketball and reading about basketball and listening to basketball podcasts. Which is also fine, but at the moment I'm trying to squeeze in as much Australian Open tennis as I can and will soon start listening to tennis podcasts again ahead of my Indian Wells gig in March, and I've got final-round LPGA and European PGA Tour highlights on my DVR waiting to be watched as I envisage potential golf work down the line, and of course I'm keeping up with the NFL playoffs and my podcasts thereof, and there's hockey prep to be done, and I'm not watching enough soccer, and, and...whew. Where am I, again? And in trying to be a jack-and-master-of-all-trades, inevitably someone is going to see my resume and decide he wants a one-sport specialist or doesn't believe that I'm as good as I think I am (or can be) across all disciplines.

    Anyway, yes, the FIBA gig is potentially a fantastic opportunity - if I'm offered it. But every fantastic opportunity comes with its own opportunity cost. So nothing is straightforward.
     
  2. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    nm
     
    #702 ConigliarosPotential, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  3. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    The Champions Hockey League Final is next Tuesday, at 7 p.m. CET (1 p.m. Eastern), and I've been busy preparing for it this week. The production team emailed me the other day to ask me to pick out a couple of players we should interview in the build-up to the game, as world-feed content for any host broadcaster that wants to take it, and also give a bunch of facts about the players in question as background. Slightly strange...I provided the information and then offered to conduct the interview myself, as I've never done that sort of thing before and would have enjoyed the challenge, but apparently someone from the host broadcaster in Sweden is already lined up for that. I was also asked to give my five top players for each team so their jerseys can be filmed hanging up in the locker rooms before the game, again as pregame content for other broadcasters to use.

    I subscribe to the CHL's YouTube feed, and it's been fun getting alerts for several videos this week that feature my commentary. For example:



    I was curious to hear the commentary on the winning goal in the 2015 Final, as that's the only Final I didn't call myself (I think my young colleague Francis did it out of our Vienna studio, rather than from the venue itself)...but that's the only goal in the video that doesn't have any commentary. Which perhaps tells its own story?

    One thing I've done this week that I've never done before is visit EliteProspects.com and look up the all-time scoring records for the CHL, rather than just looking at stats from this season. And my main takeaway from that exercise is that Frolunda Gothenburg's Ryan Lasch - a 5-foot-7 winger from Lake Forest, California - is the CHL's Wayne Gretzky. I mean, I more or less knew that already, but it's pretty amazing: Joel Lundqvist, Lasch's Frolunda teammate and the brother of the NY Rangers goalie Henrik, is second in career CHL points with 41; Lasch has 68. This year Lasch has 21 points in 12 games, six points clear of the field. Three of the top nine points tallies in a CHL season are Lasch's - including last year, when Frolunda lost in the Round of 16 and he played only seven games (but still posted a cool 4-11-15 line). How he didn't make Tony Granato's Olympic team last year, I'm really not quite sure...anyway, I spoke to Lasch ahead of the 2016 Final in Finland, and I hope to chat with him on either side of the morning skate on Monday.

    Speaking of Frolunda - which ought to have an umlaut over the "o", but I'm so tired of fixing that in my notes at every stage - I've realized that whereas in the past they've always been "Frolunda Gothenburg" to me, this year they are now being rather more formally called the "Frolunda Indians", with that nickname having been informal in the past. I haven't called a Frolunda game this season, amazingly, so I need to check on that...and then decide whether I want to reference the "Indians" at all, which I've never done in the past in large part on account of the club logo, pictured below. What do you think: racist, completely unproblematic, or somewhere in between?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    It snowed heavily in Gothenburg all day today, including as my airplane came into land - more than an hour later than scheduled. Should be interesting getting around town tomorrow - not least because I couldn't find my snow boots in my attic when looking for them this morning! At least I shouldn't have too far to walk, for the most part.

    (Really wish I didn't stay up watching the Super Bowl until 3 a.m. last night...at least I could get back into bed for a while after my kids left for school this morning.)
     
  5. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I went to the morning skate for both Red Bull Munich (in the main, 12,044-seat Scandinavium arena) and Frolunda Gothenburg (in the zero-seat practice rink next door) and interviewed both coaches as well as a star player from each team. Danny aus den Birken, Germany's Olympic hero last year - goalie of the tournament in PyeongChang - was much in demand; below is a picture I took of him being interviewed by Swedish television, just before I talked to him myself. I'm getting to the point where I'm just as happy commentating on a game off of a TV monitor than being at the arena in person, but it's so much better being in the arena myself on game day, being able to talk with coaches and players and media reps for both teams and really getting a feel for the event.

    I met with my production colleagues this morning to go through today's schedule, and in fact I now need to be back at the rink in just under half an hour for a "dress rehearsal" - in which I won't have much to do, but still, we had a few production hitches two years ago in Gothenburg (the biggest of which was that I couldn't hear the interview audio during the post-game celebrations and didn't know if it was an issue with the mics or an issue on my end), so it'll be good to be on top of that. I might just stay at the arena until game time, looking over names and numbers and facts and figures...we'll see.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Not a classic final: Frolunda scored power play goals on their first three 5-on-4 chances to lead 3-0 after two periods, and that was pretty much that. Ryan Lasch, the "Wayne Gretzky of the CHL" as I called him (he was really embarrassed when I called him that to his face earlier today, but he does have 69 CHL points now in his career, 26 more than anyone else), scored the second of those goals and continued to make me wonder why he wasn't picked for Team USA at the Olympics last year. Red Bull Munich did pull a goal back in the third period when, with 9 minutes left, they pulled their goalie to go 6-on-4 and promptly scored their first PPG of the game on what I think was their seventh chance, but that was that, and it finished 3-1.

    The most interesting part of the production involved setting up my broadcast position. I was basically in the last row of seats, in front of the press box, and with a small, angled surface in front of me on which my sound box, monitor and laptop had to sit. I had three seats to myself, but I had no leg room to speak of, and getting in and out of my position was basically impossible once press row filled up. I pretty much knew my place in the pecking order: Swedish and German TV and radio took all the good spots in the actual press box above me, and they had plenty of space, but whenever someone in the media to my left had to exit press row, they had to somehow get around me, which was not easy with all of the stuff I had around me. At the end of the second period, someone had to pass me just before I was to go back on air; and at the end of the game, during the trophy presentation I knew I was basically keeping four or five people from leaving the arena while I was talking (and eventually stood up and leaned forward to let them out even before I finished talking). Going to the bathroom was out of the question; I went once about 15 minutes before the start of pregame, and I managed to survive until the end of the game without too much bother.

    Anyway, the monitor I was assigned - unlike all of the other monitors I could see on press row - was upright and on a stand, in such a way that I basically had to crouch and lean to my left to get any good view of it at all. (It was also fastened in place with some straps so as to not topple over on the angle of the desk!) That wasn't really acceptable, particularly given that all of the other monitors for the journalists around me laid pretty flat but with a nice angle for easy viewing. I called down to the truck and asked if someone could send an engineer up to me, which duly happened; I helped the engineer remove the stand of my monitor so it could also lie flat, but we couldn't safely strap it in place lying on its side (or reorientate its picture so I could use it upside-down with the stand in, which would have been safe), and in trying to MacGyver a solution together we managed to bend and break the HDMI cable sticking in its back. So eventually the engineer went away and commandeered a different monitor which still wasn't perfect - still quite a steep and upright angle - but just about did the job for me and could be safely strapped in place (and no longer needed an HDMI cable). That pretty much worked fine, although it wasn't optimal...and it really does go to show how commentary conditions in an arena can often be less than perfect.

    As for my own commentary, the arena was really rocking and loud - it was a complete sellout (12,044 fans), and at times I could barely hear myself think. But overall I think I did well; my only real mistake was thinking that a penalty with six-and-a-half minutes left in the third period had been called against Frolunda when it had been called against Munich, and going into the equivalent of an ad break having set the scene that Munich could maybe pull another goal back and make it a great finish, when in fact the reverse was true and I couldn't clear up my mistake for at least a minute. Otherwise, I think my goal calls were all pretty good if not super-memorable; I was incredibly well prepared (and in fact had way, way more material than I could possibly use); and despite the cramped quarters I managed to keep my wits throughout. As always, I look forward to hearing the playback in due course...

    ...and so now, I'm basically unemployed for the next month, or quite possibly the next six months not counting the tennis broadcasts I have lined up. Which is sad for me, but hopefully I can pull a few irons out of the fire - I have a few ideas, but let's see where they lead me. (I might be going a bit dark in this thread for a while, though...we'll see.)
     
  7. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    As a postscript to the CHL Final, I've now listened to the entire broadcast and cut some highlights reels which I'll post below. I'm embarrassed to have overused the phrase "tickled the twine" after several goal calls here - which is the sort of thing that can happen in the heat of the moment - but apart from that I really like how my voice sounds in the live and loud arena. Even my introductory voiceover has an added edge to it, I think, not just the goal and save calls (although my call of Johan Gustafsson's save at around the 6:30 mark of the video, at the end of Munich's 5-on-3 power play chance, is a personal favorite). So yeah, it was a successful trip.

     
  8. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Actually, here's just my call of that Gustafsson save I mentioned above (and the 5-on-3 sequence leading up to it), clipped separately:

     
  9. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    No angst about the appropriateness of the team moniker for the Frolunda Indians, huh?

    That team logo is barely a half-step above Chief Wahoo.
     
  10. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Angst from me (see post #703); no angst from anyone else here, it seemed. I called them the "Indians" two or three times on Tuesday, but I tried to stay away from that topic; if this were a game in North America, I would have felt more sure of my footing in terms of commenting on the logo, but for a European/worldwide audience, I played it safe and silent.
     
  11. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Well, I was officially offered the FIBA World Cup basketball gig...and I've now turned it down. This is mainly because the fee I was offered was less than three-fourths of what I'm in line to earn calling the first two weeks of the Champions Hockey League, which clashes almost perfectly with the World Cup. (And the first NFL Sunday of the season also would have clashed with the World Cup.) When I've got as little commentary work on the cards this year as I currently do, I can't turn down that much money - and as such I much as I'd have loved going to China for the first time, I'm also fairly sure I would have been assigned to the least exciting venue with the least exciting teams. I also decided that working the World Cup wasn't likely to guarantee me more basketball work going forward...and even if it did, most of that work would be low-paying work down in London.

    I think I need to face up to the fact that I can't do everything. I think I have the skills and enough knowledge to be a great basketball commentator, but sometimes I have to understand it's OK for me not to try to keep all of my options open all of the time.
     
  12. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Did you try to haggle them on the fees, was it presented as a take-it-or-leave-it, or is that sort of thing just not done in the business?
     
  13. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I wouldn't say it's "not done in the business", but this was the sort of job for which commentating is mostly commoditized - when there are other guys willing and (more or less) able to do the job for the fee that is offered, you don't have a lot of leverage. I responded in the first instance by pointing out that I'd love to do the job but had other potential work that would pay rather more, hoping that might entice a higher offer or a willingness to be flexible...but nope, that clearly wasn't going to happen.
     
  14. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    A few quick odds and ends:

    --Agent Tim emailed me and another one of his commentators today to ask if I could go to London on Sunday to call a pair of FIBA World Cup qualifying games. The other guy got in first and said he was available, which was totally fine by me as I didn't fancy a mad 36 hours of prep followed by the longest day trip in the history of day trips...but I do think the games in question would have been Finland vs. Russia (winner goes to the finals, loser is done) and France vs. Czech Republic, and having called FIN-CZE last year I probably wouldn't have needed to do as much prep work as I'd thought. Oh well...

    --I went into my 11-year-old son's school yesterday for a "World of Work" presentation on what it was like to be a sports commentator. I spoke in front of around 100 kids, and I got a lot of engagement from both students and teachers - I'd set up a bespoke webpage for the day, featuring my main multi-sport demo reel and also used the recent CHL Final as a case study. (If you want to see all the notes I prepared for that game in image form, they're all there in a manner which is easy to digest.) In the Q&A session at the end, one of the kids asked me what my most embarrassing moment was as a commentator, and I discussed my Asian Games baseball call of the Taiwanese third-base coach getting hit in the nuts by a grounder...which of course everyone wanted to see, so right at the end of the session I Googled my baseball demo reel on YouTube (which prompted several kids to exclaim, "You're on YouTube???", which was hilarious) and found the clip pretty quickly, which was much appreciated.

    --I called a few US-based commentary agents this past week, trying to pitch myself as being worthy of representation. It's been harder than I'd expected to even get agents to look at my stuff, let alone actually represent me, but I have found one NYC-based firm willing to receive my CV and demo reels (i.e., link to my website), which I'm told are now circulating round the company with a view to deciding whether I'm good enough to take on. This really is the next big leap I need to move forward, so my fingers and toes are all crossed...and if it's not to be with this firm, hopefully another will step up to the plate for me, and I won't have to face *too* much more rejection.

    --I started listening to my first tennis podcast of the year today. (ATP 1000 Indian Wells coming up in two weeks!)
     
  15. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm back to work on Friday, with the first of three days of tennis commentary on the ATP 1000 tournament at Indian Wells (from my studio in Wimbledon, London). I had a flurry of excitement this morning when a desperate-sounding Agent Tim rang me to say that one of his commentators for tomorrow had let him down, and apart from one other guy who hadn't returned his text, I was the only other person who could even possibly take his place...so could I perhaps go down tomorrow and do four days of commentary instead of three? I contacted my wife, who said that would be OK; emailed Tim back to say that I could help out; contacted my Airbnb host to ask for an extension on my forthcoming accommodation; and started booking my train ticket for tomorrow. At this point, Tim called me back to say that before he'd read my email, the other guy phoned back to say he could do the gig after all. If I'd called him, I'd probably be setting off tomorrow; instead, I'm not going down until Friday as originally planned. Which is probably for the best, but all of that activity worked better than a cup of coffee to wake me up and start my day!

    Tennis is a tough gig to prepare for. Apart from some basic overview information about the tournament and making sure I know what has been happening in general on the tour (I listen to a few tennis podcasts to stay on course in this regard), there's not much I can do until each day's Order of Play is ready; only then will I know which specific players and matches I'm covering. So I probably won't know my matches on Friday until I wake up on Friday morning, and I'll need to do most of my preparation on the train on the way down or in the hour or two directly before the match begins. This doesn't really suit my style - I want to get everything done in advance so I'm more relaxed on the day itself - but it is what it is. And everything is slightly complicated this weekend by a request I've had to do some work for my communications consultancy business which has to be done over the weekend; I'll need to squeeze that between my prep work and my commmentary work, which isn't ideal but should be doable.

    Anyway, I'll be calling every men's singles match on Stadium 3 over the weekend (Friday-Saturday-Sunday), with my commentary featuring on TennisTV.com, just in case any of you want to follow along.
     
  16. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Well, after a late swap of courts this morning - I was going to be on Stadium 4, but the senior commentator asked if it'd be OK if we switched, so I'm now on Stadium 3 - I have my first set of match assignments for Indian Wells, and I get to start by calling Novak Djokovic...in doubles. I decided to take a much later shift tonight than I might have had, which I may well regret in due course, but two of my three matches today are in doubles, and they should be shorter anyway (no-ad scoring, match tiebreak instead of a third set if tied at one set all), so hopefully I'll be done by 3 a.m. Anyway, my first match is third on court after two WTA singles matches (maybe around 4 p.m. ET?), and my lineup is:

    Jeremy Chardy / Milos Raonic vs. Novak Djokovic / Fabio Fognini
    Tatsuma Ito vs. Jared Donaldson
    Steve Johnson / Dominic Thiem vs. Taylor Fritz / Nick Kyrgios

    Lots of stuff to talk about here - there's always plenty to say about Kyrgios, especially after his recent win Acapulco, and lots of other top singles players to talk about. Ito vs. Donaldson, on the other hand...not sure what I'll talk about for that singles match!
     
    #716 ConigliarosPotential, Mar 8, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  17. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Genealogy of their family trees, maybe.

    I've heard plenty of end-of-the-night, non-premium-match tennis commentary and it basically sounds like the two regular patrons left at a quiet bar as they're about to close at 2am. Lots of rambling, words are coming out but nobody's got the heart for it anymore, they just can't (or won't) go home yet. The bar for you to clear is shockingly low (as you're likely well aware).
     
  18. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I know that, but my standards are much, much higher than that - even for a match like Ito vs. Donaldson. I know what good tennis commentary sounds like - or I think I know, anyway - and I want to sound like a good tennis commentator, not someone looking to keep gettin' dem checks.
     
  19. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    All three of my matches finished in straight sets last night - Donaldson rallying from 5-3 down in the second to win it 7-5 over Ito (who, given that this match was taking place in southern California, of course allowed me to reference Lance Ito, and thence the Falcons' Ito Smith) to save that match from going the distance - which meant I was able to escape the studio just after 3:30 a.m. What a long day's journey into night that was. I did enjoy getting to call some doubles matches, and most of the doubles guys were smiling a lot; Djokovic "taught" Fognini how to do his four-way salute to the fans after they won together, and Kyrgios seemed to be having a lot of fun with Fritz (they won as well) right up to the point where the British chair umpire failed to allow Krygios to request a Hawkeye review late in the second set on the grounds that he'd waited too long, even though it didn't seem to be too long to me, and Kyrgios suddenly turned into BAD KYRGIOS for about two minutes even though he and Fritz were a set and 4-0 up. Re: Kyrgios, I found and used a good nugget from this Jon Wertheim mailbag that I found to be very interesting:
    (EDIT: the point I made from this was that you would think this glimpse into Kyrgios' psyche would indicate that he might really enjoy doubles tennis. But he's not really taken that to heart - his career doubles record is 34-36 after last night - so who knows.)

    Anyway, I'm back on Stadium 3 again tonight for a trio of singles matches:

    Sam Querrey vs. Milos Raonic (13th seed)
    Martin Klizan vs. Alexander Zverev (3rd seed)
    Yoshihito Nishioka vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (21st seed)

    Some pretty fair players in there, although I could do without the tongue-twisting Nishioka vs. Bautista Agut matchup coming so late in the order of play...
     
    #719 ConigliarosPotential, Mar 9, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  20. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I need to keep this update quick, because between the time change in the USA (which won't happen here in the UK for another three weeks), my later night last night and an earlier start tonight, I don't have all that much time to prepare for my next set of matches despite just having gotten out of bed. Last night, both of the WTA matches on Stadium 3 went the distance, so it looked as though it could have been a very long night. But Raonic-Querrey finished in two (surprisingly long) sets, then I caught a huge break when Klizan retired hurt against Zverev after falling behind 6-3, 2-0 (it's amazing how open other commentators and producers are about feeling lucky when a player retires injured - I'm just following their lead!). And then I received possibly an even break when Nishioka rallied from 5-3 down to win the second set 7-5 against Bautista Agut, having taken the first set in a tiebreak; he saved a set point in the process, and probably saved me a good 40 minutes of sleep. As it was, my first-ever tennis upset finished at 4:22 a.m., and I'm going to be very glad when I'm back in Scotland.

    I had the chance to chat with Ravi, our other commentator last night, at some length between my first and second matches. He only had two matches to call on Stadium 2 yesterday, but Kyrgios-Kohlschreiber finished early, and Thiem-Thompson hadn't even started when I left the studio (because Wozniacki was once again struggling to finish a match against inferior competition). He's a tennis specialist for the most part, and it was interesting comparing notes with him; he was complementary about my commentary, saying that he could tell I put the work in - our adjacent commentary booths aren't very soundproof at all! - whereas a surprising number of commentators don't, even among those who work on the world feed broadcasts and get to travel to places like Indian Wells. IMG organizes the world feed commentators, I think, and Ravi says there's definitely a bias on their part toward English accents - he is Canadian - even when there isn't any need for it. (Wouldn't you think that a tennis production would be richer for having many different accents rather than poorer, particularly when your broadcast is going around the world?) He mentioned one guy who is in California this week who he knows who doesn't do his homework, whose commentary style blatantly tells you that he doesn't even like tennis that much, and who has no sense of historical knowledge for the game. Ravi set me a trivia question, asking me who the director of the Paris Masters is: he said he was a Frenchman, played left-handed (at this point I was ready to make a guess but was scared to sound silly), and whose first name was spelled G-U-Y (darn, I should have taken my guess!). I said "Guy Forget", pronouncing it correctly - "Ghee For-ZHAY" - which was of course correct. But Ravi said he once heard this other commentator call this same player "Guy Forget", pronounced exactly as it looks; thankfully that was off air, but really, if you've never heard of Guy Forget, should you really be commentating on tennis? And the IMG guys like him apparently make twice the amount of money that I do per day!
     
  21. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Freaking Elise Mertens and Qiang Wang - taking 2:15 to complete two tiebreak sets, and only just starting the third set on my court. So much for my earlier night tonight!
     
  22. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Mertens and Wang wound up taking exactly three hours to finish their match, so my first match last night didn't get underway until well after 9 p.m. I forgot to mention my order of play:

    Marin Cilic vs. Dusan Lajovic
    Denis Shapovalov vs. Steve Johnson
    Marton Fucsovics vs. Stan Wawrinka

    The first two matches were pretty straightforward, both finishing in straight sets to the higher seeded players. I remembered to check Lajovic's name for missing accent marks after forgetting to do so for Klizan - or rather, Kližan (I did check Google.hr in the end for him!) - and the correct match listing should be Marin Čilič vs. Dušan Lajović. Lajović didn't play that well, so Čilič advanced comfortably, while Shapovalov was in cracking form against Johnson and will be a match for Čilič in Round 3. While that match was taking place, Ravi next door had his evening end in a John Isner 6-2, 6-0 demolition of the Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin, so he did get back to his home in North London pleasantly early. Me, on the other hand...

    ...Fucsovics and Wawrinka lasted 3 hours and 24 minutes - it was the last men's singles match to finish yesterday by some distance, even though it was fourth on court and there were three other matches which were fifth on their respective courts. It was a minor epic; one commenter on menstennisforums.com called it the match of the year, but I certainly wouldn't go that far, particularly as there were 99 unforced errors between the two players. It finished 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 for Wawrinka on his fifth match point (having wasted three chances at 5-3 in the third set, and having been two points away from winning the match in the second set)...and by a certain point of the third set, a large part of me was just hoping it would keep going and going, and that I'd really have a match to tell my grandchildren about.

    I had a chance to listen to parts of my recording as I was packing up and again after I got back to my Airbnb room, and I feel like I've definitely taken several leaps forward in my tennis commentary since last year - I like the sound of my voice much more. That said, I still feel like I'm bluffing and making stuff up a lot of the time; unlike with other sports, I feel like I use at least 80-90% of the notes I prepare in advance, and often am casting around for still more stuff to say. I really don't know what I would do if I had to call another Wawrinka match in two days' time, apart from repeat a lot of material! I mean, I already exhaustively covered the fact that Wawrinka supports the Swiss hockey team in Lausanne, and that Lausanne finished 3rd in the Swiss NLA this year (and qualified for the CHL for the first time!) but is 1-0 down in its opening playoff series to the SCL Tigers. I suppose it would all be much easier if I had a partner in the booth with me, someone with whom to carry on a free-flowing conversation that might occasionally touch upon mature subjects...but of course, that's not the way commentary at my level works. Anyway, I'm on to Miami in two weeks' time; at least those matches will be at a much more convenient time of day for me!
     
  23. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    I kinda wonder what fraction of tennis commentators actually read TF / MTF in order to get a finger on the pulse of the informed fan. There are posters on both sites who act as if it's 100%, and posters who act like it's 0%. Certainly, it can be a lot of work to sift through the crap to find the nuanced perspectives, but they are invariably there.

    I'm really interested by the dialogues with Ravi. Was he super fatalistic about the potential for more hardworking commentators to get these jobs, accent be damned? When did he decide to specialize in tennis, and how hard a climb was it for him relative to sports generalists? Have you considered some classes to just fully adopt a british accent to get ahead? How tempting is it to mispronounce Fucsovics' name "by accident" a few hours in?

    We need some more tennis fans over from the tennis thread here while you're on your ATP swing. Someone put up the @jon abbey bat-signal.
     
  24. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Ha, I was on my phone and didn't see the alert for my name but coincidentally was already reading this thread for the first time in a while...

    My brother and his wife are serious tennis fans, he works for NBC Sports doing stats for on-air 'talent' (sorry, CP, that word in that context always makes me laugh) and she used to be the editor of tennis.com and has covered all the Grand Slams. I bring this up to (not so) humble brag that just as the 2008 Olympics were about to begin, one of the writer/researcher teams NBC (actually USA) had put together was not getting along at all, an old school Manhattan writer with a few decades of experience and a young Midwestern intern who was kind of ditzy and hoping to be a pretty face doing local sports someday. They were scheduled to work 12 hour overnight shifts, I think 17 straight nights, and the producer asked my brother if he knew anyone who could help out working (for very good money) such crazy hours on such short notice, making sure that ill-fitting duo got everything done they needed to. My brother recommended me, and that is how my only two weeks ever in the sports TV business resulted in my being part of a sports Emmy-winning team as an 'associate producer'.

    http://emmyonline.com/sports_30th_winners

    Keep killing it, CP!
     
  25. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Is that a bit like how I won the Broadcast Digital Award for Best Sports and Live Event Coverage last February? :) I definitely get the joke about on-air "talent", by the way, as though nobody working behind the scenes can be talented in any way, shape or form.
    I'll need to ask Ravi some of these questions myself when I see him again - we're on duty together again for two of my days on the Miami beat. My Miami assignment is Monday to Wednesday, so I'll be covering 3rd and 4th round action and possibly a quarterfinal or two on the Wednesday (when I'll be the only commentator on duty in London) instead of 1st and 2nd round matches, which should be fun; I'll also probably have fewer matches to cover each day - barring rain delays - which should also help the quality of my work and preparation.

    By the way, re: the Fucsovics-Wawrinka match:



    And also, while I'm slightly disappointed my own commentary wasn't used for this clip - I guess the main world feed presentation had switched over to my match by this stage of the third set - this shot was a real highlight of my Indian Wells assignment:



    (I'll try and track down my own commentary of that point and get a video posted presently...)
     
  26. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    That was easier than anticipated...here's my video of that Fucsovics-Wawrinka point. Actually not my best moment from match, IMO: I like the scream, but my incredulity thereafter caused the pitch my voice to go a little bit too high. (Although the way I said "incredible" was good, I think.)

     
  27. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    It's never a bad time for a no-look between-the-legs winner!

    I didn't find the pitch of your voice off-putting in any way, but the sheer length of the pause after the action concluded was a bit odd - it's not like he'd just won the match or you were trying to figure out what had happened. I get letting your audience savor the moment, just seemed like a lot of dead air in that case, is all.
     
  28. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Interesting feedback - thanks. You're right, I was trying to let the audience savor the moment: I think I subconsciously knew that a player reaction shot followed by a crowd reaction shot would follow the point (and my exclamation), and it seemed natural in the moment to let both of those play out before I began babbling over the replay. Perhaps it might have worked better if I'd said "Where did that come from?!?" immediately after the scream and then paused? Although if you compare my commentary to the other call in the above Tweet - in which the video is edited and shortened, btw - I do feel like they probably talked too much without adding any real value. (Just say "He's sent it back with interest!" and then be quiet for a bit...although in fairness, we're both nitpicking the very fine details here!)
     
  29. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Incidentally, one other point of note I should mention regarding my tennis commentary is that the volume of the chair umpire and (especially) the arena announcer is almost as high as my microphone volume. When you hear Aurelie Torte (the umpire) on that point, you'll get a sense of what I mean: if I were to talk while she's announcing the score, cacophony ensues. This is really off-putting during the pre-match warmups, when the PA voice is introducing both players to the crowd on site even as I'm trying to introduce both players to my TV audience, and also at the end of the match, when I'm trying to wrap things over graphical stats package even as the winner of the match is being interviewed on court. But it also informs my commentary during a match to some extent, as I try not to step on the score announcements; perhaps I was waiting for "Advantage, Fucsovics" along with the reaction shots before speaking again? (Come to think of it, this is a point I should probably raise directly with my producer...)
     
  30. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Today I was overjoyed to discover that Tennis TV has an Xbox One app - to make a long story short, with the help of a screen recorder gadget I picked up last year, I managed to record the whole of my Fucsovics-Wawrinka commentary match in crystal clear HD with no glitches, and I should be able to do likewise for some of my other matches from this past week. That will help me with demo tapes and also get ready for Miami next week, as I can be at my computer typing and have the Xbox at my side with matches playing in the background. (As it was, I stayed up far too late last night watching most of the Thiem-Federer final from Indian Wells; having called the really enjoyable Thiem-Coric match last year from Madrid, and having traveled to Austria as often as I had, I feel a certain connection to Thiem and was really pleased to see him win.)

    Having made that discovery, I'm also very intrigued to have figured out that DAZN also has an Xbox One app. It would be pretty hilarious if I wound up schlepping our family Xbox (and possibly a small TV as well!) down to Leeds and back just so I can connect it to a monitor in our studio and record some of my stuff that way. But more on that later.

    Right now, I've got a week before I take the train down for my first day of Miami coverage - I'm calling matches next Monday (third court), Tuesday (third court) and Wednesday (second court). I booked my train ticket before I realized that the the time difference next week will only be four hours from London to Miami instead of five hours, which means it may be a closer shave than I'd like as to whether I arrive in time at the studio. I'm hoping that if my third court has a men's match and the second court doesn't, Ravi (who will be on duty with me again next week and who lives in North London) wouldn't mind swapping. (In fact, I should probably email him about this now...)

    Oh...and I've begun discussions with a video game designer about possibly lending my voice to a sports game, and also possibly helping to script and plan the commentary and other audio to be included in it. More details forthcoming on that front as and when they develop...
     
  31. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Just a quick aside as March Madness begins today: one of the sad aspects of becoming a commentator for a living is that I really have to triage my sports watching. I now have certain sports - particularly the NFL and hockey and (for now) tennis, and to a lesser extent golf (which I follow anyway) and pro basketball and baseball and soccer (and college football to the extent that it leads into the NFL) - that I have to pay attention to for professional reasons. And that means other sports I may have dipped in and out of quite regularly are now fully marginalized. A perfect example of this is college basketball: 20-30 years ago, I absolutely loved college basketball and watched at least 50 weeknight games a season and as much March Madness as I could stand. Then I moved to the UK, and TV coverage came tougher to come by and the hours became much less convenient, and I think it's fair to say the product also got noticeably worse...but 5 or 10 years ago I still watched most of March Madness and quite a few regular season games and read all of the Bracketology and Bubble Watch columns, etc. Now, though, I think I may have watched maybe 10 minutes of college basketball this season, and even with many of today's and tomorrow's games on at a perfect time for me, I'm going to be following the tennis from Miami and doing other things. I'm not even really interested in it.

    I'm not asking for sympathy, by the way - I wouldn't trade where I am now for where I was in the past at all. And I reckon I'm probably much better off in this regard than I would have been had I wound up converting my Golf Digest internship into a golf writing career; I know firsthand quite a few golf writers who fell out of love with what was ostensibly their favorite sport because of the drudgery involved in covering it and seeing and hearing things they couldn't unsee or unhear, and you hardly need to look beyond Boston's newspaper scene to find plenty of other examples of that phenomenon across other sports. I love the sports I commentate on even more than I did before I started commentating on them, which is such a blessing. But my sports-watching life is not fully my own in the way that it once was, and on days like today, I do sometimes feel a bit wistful about that.
     
  32. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Interesting consequence / tradeoff, CP, but enough about that - tell us about the video game deal!

    (speaking personally, as my life has gone on and I've started a family, I've found that my time has gotten compressed into fewer and fewer things, but also that I'm enjoying those things more than I used to - including both work and my primary volunteering activity. You too may find that simplifying is also satisfying.)
     
  33. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    There's no deal yet - just the start of a conversation. If it goes anywhere, I'll let you know. ;)
    While this may well be good advice, I actually find the opposite to be true for me: I'm always starting branching off in new directions. Part of that is down to my innate desire to experience as much of the world as possible, but as it pertains to my sports-watching, quite a bit of it relates to my desire to leave as many doors open as possible. The more sports I know a lot about, the more potential commentary opportunities might be available for me in the future...and I suppose one of the reasons I've moved away from college basketball is that player turnover at the top of the sport in particular is so rapid, there's no point in learning anything about the sport from season to season. (And there are so many teams and players in NCAA Division I that I can hardly hope to follow the sport half-heartedly and get anything out of it.) It did occur to me that I ought to have filled out a bracket and entered a tournament precisely because the people with my level of knowledge often win such things, but even that seemed like a waste of time at the end of the day!
     
  34. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    yeah, the only fantasy-esque contest I've ever entered has been an Olympics Pool run by @jkempa (and brilliantly-designed). It conferred advantages on people willing to do a little digging into obscure sports (because each weight class in Greco-Roman wrestling or type of sailing race confers the same number of medals-per-country as the Men's Basketball tournament), and I figured I could do that, build a little model, and then enjoy the hell out of rooting for Azerbaijan. Most fun I've ever had watching sports that weren't my core interests, but I could tell that if I tried to do that for proper fantasy seasons, it would own my life. I guess that's just another way of agreeing with you that you've tended towards breadth, whereas I have such a subconscious bias towards depth that it borderlines on an addictive personality (he says, posting on a message board at midnight...).

    I'm interested by your stories about people burning out concentrating on one sport. For every Bill Belichick or (more to the point) Mike Reiss who's a monomaniac content to follow one sport and team, there's probably dozens if not hundreds trying to pretend they fit that mould. And plenty who become old jaded cranks, such as those blessing my hometown with their, um, wisdom. Maybe the industry's got a role for lots of different types, but it sure feels like many sportswriters, commentators and analysts seem to have missed theirs.
     
  35. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm feeling on edge tonight. I'm on the train down to London tomorrow for my first day of Miami Masters commentary, and I know tomorrow's order of play, but I have no idea which court I'm covering - it could be any one of three - and therefore can't really start my prep work without potentially wasting massive amounts of time. Also, the court I think I'm most likely to be covering (Butch Buchholz) features four doubles matches in a row, and no singles. There's a non-zero chance that after very closely watching and charting the singles action in Miami over the past few days, I may wind up calling nothing but doubles matches (for approximately zero viewers). And I probably won't find out my court assignment tomorrow until I'm halfway down to London, leaving precious little time (by my standards) for research. This may have to be a day on which I go off half-cocked, and I don't like that at all.

    I did have a frisson of excitement this morning, when I got an email from one of the producers in London telling me that my call time in the studio was 2 p.m. today (UK time). Thankfully, that email was mistaken - I'm not on until tomorrow! - but I was bemused to discover that the guy who it was meant for didn't realize he was supposed to be on duty. There was another error in the Miami commentary schedule that was issued around a week ago, but this guy didn't notice the error and just assumed he wasn't on, even though he'd already been scheduled for today's play. How someone can do that in this business is beyond me.
     
  36. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    After all of this worrying yesterday, late last night I wound up getting assigned to Court 1 for today's play in Miami. And not to the first singles match (Grigor Dimitrov vs. Jordan Thompson), but only the latter two matches (Daniil Medvedev vs. Reilly Opelka, and Marco Cecchinato vs. David Goffin). Two decent singles matches, starting and finishing at a reasonable hour, and only four players to research? I got very lucky. Meanwhile, Ravi next door has to call three of the four doubles matches on the Butch Buchholz court. I had emailed him about 9:30 last night, offering to let him take Court 1 on the basis that he could start preparing and I would be guaranteed not to have an early start; that would have left me either the Grandstand or Butch Buchholz, and as it turned out, the three doubles matches. But Ravi never responded, and then our producer emailed us with the assignments, and I felt rather foolish for having made my suggestion. I'd certainly thought Ravi was the senior commentator between the two of us, as noted on our schedule for the week; why I'm doing singles and he's doing doubles, I have no idea. I think the moral of the story is that I should probably stop asking so many questions!
     
  37. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    My first rain delay! Jordan Thompson was very, very fortunate to polish off Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, first up on my Court 1: he was up a set and a break but choked the lead away, then Dimitrov served for the second set but was broken, then Thompson got to 0-40 on Dimitrov's serve for three match points and played *so* tightly, but Dimitrov couldn't take his point for 6-6 and Thompson forced a fourth match point which he took. I only mention all of this to reemphasize that there's no rooting interest in tennis quite like the rooting interest you have when you want a match to finish as quickly as possible. I'm usually rooting for matches to last as long as possible, but not today.

    Anyway, the third set of Thompson-Dimitrov would have been suspended now, as a thunderstorm has settled in over Miami Gardens and might be around for a while - it's keeping Bianca Andreescu off of Court 1 for the moment. So I shall twiddle my thumbs and maybe read a bit more of Hard Courts by John Feinstein. (I'd say it's my favorite tennis book, but really, it's my only tennis book, and I've been rereading it over the past week or so.
     
  38. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    6,979
    About the scheduling: hey, you're trying to be helpful. Just talk to him in person about what would be helpful in the future. That's enough of a show of deference, I'd think, to maintain professionalism.

    As far as tennis media, you could always go watch Venus Vs. If you truly hit the bottom of the stack, I'd always be interested to learn whether any book about Nick Bollettieri is any good. I'm suspicious about his autobiographies, but there's no doubting his influence on the game globally has been staggering.
     
  39. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    What, spend my limited research (and reading) time focusing on women's tennis? You cannot be serious!

    Speaking of the women, we're back underway...and Andreescu just retired after falling 6-1, 2-0 behind the Estonian Anett Kontaveit. That was a shocking ending, and it means I might not have a super late night after all. Being a tennis commentator is weird.
     
  40. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    It was a late night, but not a super late night, for which I have David Goffin and Marco Cecchinato to thank - the latter being pretty poor, and Goffin being efficient enough to win in barely an hour-and-a-quarter (6-4, 6-4). That followed one of the more predictable 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 scorelines you'll ever see, with Medvedev seeing off Opelka; Opelka had set point on his serve at 6-4 in the second-set tiebreaker to make it one set all and double-faulted, but Medvedev somehow made an error on his service point to prolong the agony by another 45 minutes or so. But I'm back to my Airbnb room just after 1 a.m., which relative to Indian Wells feels quite reasonable.

    Very strange order of play tomorrow: Hard Rock Stadium features 3 men's and 2 women's singles matches, and the Grandstand court features the other 5 men's singles matches. So Ravi is going to take the first three matches, and I'll take the last two...which means another late night, probably, but also plenty of time for me to prepare not very much. Because my two matches are going to be Goffin (again) vs. the winner of David Ferrer (this year's Lion in Winter) and Frances Tiafoe, and then Shapovalov (for the second week running) against the winner of Tsitsipas and Mayer. The flip side is that I will probably have a buttload of doubles to prepare for in very little time on Wednesday...but we'll see.

    Anyway, between my two matches this evening, Producer Harry came in to my commentary booth to complain about how close to - or rather far away from - my mouth I was holding my microphone this evening. I really don't like lip mics: you have to hold them in your hand (which means I can't have two hands free for typing and mousing, etc.), and you're literally supposed to hold them up against your lip, which I haven't been able to bring myself to do. They are designed for commentators surrounded by fans at soccer matches and the like: they have very little range, so you don't pick up much ambient noise from them, but when you're in an already silent studio, what's the point of that? They are the thing I like least about tennis commentary on what, to be honest, is a fairly long list of negatives relative to the other sports I cover. But anyway...my bed is calling to me.
     
  41. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm still twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my first match to go on after the three singles matches before it - Nick Kyrgios was at his mercurial worst, losing to Borna Coric after Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili and before the match currently on court, Kevin Anderson vs. Jordan Thompson (Anderson is up a set as I type). But I've seen the preliminary order of play for tomorrow...and all four doubles quarterfinals are going to be on the Grandstand court, of which I'll probably have to commentate on three. Given that my first match tonight almost certainly won't start before 10:30 p.m. my time and might start significantly later than that, it's a guarantee that I'm going to be dog tired tomorrow. (Especially as the Airbnb room I'm staying in has no blackout blinds or shutters. It's cheap, I guess.)

    By the by, because Ravi and I are both commentating on the Grandstand court today, I have to shift out of the booth I currently occupy and step in after he's done, meaning I'll have maybe 10 minutes to get my computer plugged in, my print-outs stuck to the walls and everything else in position as I want it. It would be too difficult to shift the satellite feed, apparently. Just another monkey in the wrench, as a wise action hero once said.
     
  42. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    And now it's spitting with rain, and Thompson and Anderson are leaving the court. Great.
     
  43. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This is actually pretty fascinating now. So, Thompson and Anderson were only off for around 20 minutes, and then Anderson came out and won fairly quickly. So Tiafoe vs. Goffin got underway in decent shape, and although Goffin served for the first set at 5-3, Tiafoe roared back to take it 7-5 and then moved up a break in the second set. But Goffin broke back...and then the rains came back. Very lightly at first: the players stopped for 7 minutes, never left the court, and were able to resume without a warm-up. I was watching Weather Underground, though, and I could see another pocket on the radar potentially moving our way, and I suggested it would was around five minutes away: almost five minutes later to the second, play was again suspended. ("I'm not a meteorologist, but I'm currently playing one on TV" is a line I actually used.) This time play stopped for only 2-3 minutes, but only two points were played before it started to properly rain, and as I type the court is completely sodden.

    So...this might be the best of all possible worlds. If it rains for long enough that they can't get any more play in tonight, a) I'll get to go to bed much earlier than I'd expected to, and b) tomorrow, there's every chance I would have two singles matches to call - likely the end of Tiafoe-Goffin and presumably Shapovalov-Tsitsipas as well, which I've already prepared for - and likely a maximum of one doubles match, instead of having to slog through the night and then prepare for three full doubles matches tomorrow. But then, if the rain stops in the next 15 minutes and the courts dry up in the next hour-and-a-half, that would be the worst of all possible worlds. I'd already started researching the Bryan brothers while waiting for my first match to start tonight, but now I think I'll just wait and see what happens. If it weren't already 1 a.m., the tension would almost be delightful!
     
  44. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Bah - the skies have cleared, there's nothing looming on the radar screen, and they're going to try and clear the court off.
     
  45. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    What an anticlimax. Tiafoe won a tense second-set tiebreak to win the match after a delay of nearly two hours...and that's me done for the night. Because Federer's match has been postponed, the world feed commentators on site in Miami can focus on Shapovalov-Tsitsipas, so my services are entirely redundant. I could have chosen to call the match myself anyway, but as it won't be on demand on the website after the match is done, there's not really any point in doing so from my perspective - and the two other production guys in the building can also go home as well. I really wanted to call Shapovalov and Tsitsipas as well...but at least all the research I did on them today can be used tomorrow, as they'll both be involved in doubles matches I'll be calling.
     
  46. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    And *of course* Shapovalov-Tsitsipas wound up being a minor classic, with Shapo winning in a third-set tiebreak. Also, my schedule for today has changed: of the four doubles matches today, I've literally just found out that I'm calling the first three instead of the last three, which means I'm missing out on Tsitsipas (and Isner/Querrey). Grrrr.
     
  47. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    33,355
    Missing out on Tsitsipas means a much lower chance of your call ending up on some blooper YouTube video down the line, "When The Announcer Said Tits and Then it Got Worse!"
     
  48. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I know this post was at least 75% facetious, but on a semi-related note, I do sometimes wonder how difficult it is for a commentator who swears a lot in his or her normal day-to-day language to suppress that instinct on the air. I only ever curse involuntarily (e.g., on the golf course after a series of bad shots or when particularly stressed at home), and so I'm never tempted to make this mistake, but it must be difficult when you're tired or in the heat of some moments not to use words that you use all the time...or in this case, to toss in an "h" and miss out a "T" at the front of "Tsitsipas".
     
  49. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Anyway, this afternoon has felt like one of those college term papers I used to hand in just before the 10 a.m. deadline after pulling an all-nighter. I slept, sort of, until after 11 a.m. and didn't start my prep work until after noon, and I pretty much worked straight through until almost 3:30 before feeling ready for all three of my doubles matches today...which barely left me enough time to tidy up and get to the office (with a stop at the grocery store) before my 4 p.m. call time ahead of my 5 p.m. start. With 12 different players to research, I cut it as fine as I possibly could, and at least twice I remember typing a fact next to the wrong person in a doubles partnership before catching myself. But I do enjoy digging up nuggets like these:

    1) Oliver Marach and Lukasz Kubot are on opposite sides of the net in the first match, but Kubot won his first five doubles titles alongside Marach in 2009 and 2010.

    2) Edouard Roger-Vasselin's father Christophe reached the singles semifinal at the French Open in 1983, defeating #1 Jimmy Connors in straight sets in the quarterfinal before Yannick Noah defeated him 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. (I remember as a nine-year-old how big a deal it was for Noah to win that year; he's still the only French men's singles winner at Roland Garros since 1946.)

    3) In the Argentinian pairing of Maximo Gonzalez and Horacio Zeballos, Gonzalez is a big River Plate supporter, while Zeballos supports Boca Juniors - those two clubs hate each other. (These were the two teams in the 2018 Copa Libertadores final, the second leg of which you may remember was moved to Madrid after River fans attacked the Boca team bus en route to River's stadium.)

    4) Bob Bryan lives in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida - around a 30-minute drive from Hard Rock Stadium and this week's tournament. (Last year, his commute to Crandon Park on Key Biscayne was more like 40 minutes each way, so that's nice for him.)

    5) A couple of weeks ago, Bob Bryan was asked to autograph the scar of a girl who had just had knee surgery.

    6) Rohan Bopanna still lives in his hometown of Bangalore in India, but his favorite holiday destination is Koh Samui, an island off the southeast coast of Thailand - and coincidentally, a place I stopped at on my honeymoon, when traveling from the nearby island of Koh Phagnan to Bangkok.

    These are the sorts of nuggets I want to be able to drop into a broadcast - and none of them were directly lifted from the players' bios on the ATP Tour website. Either I've amplified notes in their bios, or I've done my own research to supplement them, or I've tracked down facts hopefully the sorts of diehard fans watching men's doubles at an ATP 1000 event might not have been aware of. Or (in the last case) I'll take a fact and amplify it with my own personal experiences, adding first-person color to a broadcast when I can. I really don't know if *anyone* will appreciate *any* of this, but I'll certainly go into my commentary matches today knowing I've done everything I could have done in the time available to me.
     
  50. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Well, all three of my matches tonight finished in straight sets, and I was back in my accommodation shortly after 11 p.m. - a great improvement. But the contrast between my first two matches and my last one was striking: trying to call matches involving nothing but doubles specialists is a real chore. I have literally no idea what I'd say about half of these players if I had to commentate on them again any time soon! On the other hand, having the Bryans on top form and having Shapovalov to talk about was much more interesting, and fun. Even then, though, if I had to call doubles matches for a living, I might just give up the commentary game; I think going forward, I'll try harder to get assigned to dates earlier in each tournament to try to avoid fates like the one I suffered today.
     

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