Dick Bremer arrived in Fort Myers, Florida on Sunday in March and entered the Twins Club for the first time in more than two years. In the 45 minutes he worked in the clubhouse, he had 15 interviews with players, coaches and employees.
The types of conversations that provide color and detail to the broadcast. Types of conversations that help illuminate the broadcaster’s daily plots and team pitfalls. The types of interviews he’s lacked over the last two years.
“I could have taken most of it to the next broadcast, right? And that’s what viewers deserve, someone who has the ability to connect with players, because all the numbers are online, “said Bremer, a longtime Twins television announcer. “I think as broadcasting has evolved, this connection is even more important now than ever before.”
And yet, over the past two years, broadcasters have been robbed of the opportunity to make these connections, kept out of the clubhouse and off the road because of COVID-19. The Twins broadcasters have resumed travel this season and, for the first time since 2019, will call a road game on Friday at Fenway Park when the Twins face the Red Sox at 1:10 p.m.
While the Twins’ television and radio crews have bounced back to spring training in recent years, a trip to Fenway means a return to normalcy for a group of Twins announcers.
And they couldn’t be more prepared for it.
“It’s great for our audience,” said radio announcer Cory Provus. “It’s great for our fan base to be able to tell stories again without relying on other people, to be able to go out and build relationships and interact with guys we haven’t been able to do in the face of the last two years. It’s an important part of the concert, so I’m excited to be back on track. “
Beginning in July 2020, when the shortened 60-match season began, when the team set out on a journey, the Twins television and radio crews appeared at Target Field and the games called from a distance.
It wasn’t all bad. For Provus, the benefit of a shortened schedule was the days and weeks he spent with his wife Dana and their two children, which he would not otherwise have obtained. But between technical mistakes, incorrect games and distance from players and coaches on the field, the work was everything but easy.
“I will say this in advance, 47 years of broadcasting and there is nothing I would be proud of as being part of an industry that could have brought these games to the forefront in the circumstances we had to work with,” Bremer said. “But it was like making games in black and white and now we can play them in color again.”
When the Twins were in Kansas City or Baltimore or Seattle, Bremer and his partner du jour sat in Target Field and watched a television broadcast at their booth. The same goes for Provus and his partner in the Dan Gladden broadcast next door.
Last season, the club was in Chicago and the second player of the Jorge Polanco team hit the ball, which Bremer believed he had seen fouling. He announced it as such, but a few seconds later, when he saw Polanca heading for the other as part of his home trot, Bremer realized his mistake.
It was embarrassing, he said, but given the food he had, he called the situation as best he could. There were usually few such moments.
“I know a lot of viewers couldn’t say we weren’t there, but we could say that and it’s a difference in the world,” Bremer said. “No matter what your job is, if you feel you can do your job well, you will do it better. But when you don’t feel like you can do it well, the joy of work diminishes. “
Thousand miles of calling games were one series of challenges. Another reason was the lack of connection with players, coaches and other decision-makers.
As a young announcer in Chicago years ago, Provus received advice from longtime Bears radio announcer Jeff Joniak. The bottom line: find something your listeners haven’t read, seen, or heard elsewhere, and bring them new content.
You took this advice to heart. Although he still had access to manager Rocco Baldelli and others through Zoom, trying to find unique content – it didn’t have to be a big mound, but rather a lot of information that listeners would enjoy – was hard to broadcast.
“You couldn’t do that,” Provus said. “Now we can, and that was something I’m looking forward to again, just to interact with people, decision makers, players, with all things, and we’re doing what we can to provide new content every day.” “
And the main beneficiary of the fact that broadcasters have this type of access back and travel again is not himself, but rather viewers and listeners who tune in to a richer, information-packed broadcast.
“If you love baseball, Fenway Park is always a sentimental journey anyway, but this year will be extraordinarily special, because things we may have taken for granted all those years will never be taken for granted and be there in this historic ballpark. to be there in person again, it will be really exceptional, “said Bremer.