Behind The ScenesMLB

Reviewing the highlights of another outstanding Sunday Night Baseball season

Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his tenth inning grand slam home run against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
St. Louis Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday hit the longest home run on “Sunday Night Baseball” this season.
(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

It might be hard to believe, but there’s only one more Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the 2013 season. For Sunday Night Baseball Coordinating Producer Tom Archer, time flies when you’re having fun.

The 24th season of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN will conclude on Sept. 22, with a clash between the first-place St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers. (#STLvsMIL in the Twitterverse.)

Prior to the season finale, Front Row had the opportunity to speak to “Arch” about his thoughts on another incredible year.

What are your favorite Sunday Night Baseball moments of 2013?
It goes all the way back to MLB Opening Day on April 2, for me. [The Sunday Night Baseball team] started the season at Dodger Stadium. That day included a surprise guest/surprise ceremonial first pitch with Sandy Koufax, who threw to [ESPN analyst] Orel Hershiser. And then, to top it all off with the next generation of Dodgers starting pitching – Clayton Kershaw – who throws the complete game shutout and hits his first home run of his career. It was a storybook game.

SNB Leaders 2013
SNB Leaders 2013

I’d be lying if I didn’t also say the A-Rod [New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez] moment on Aug. 18, when he got hit by [Boston Red Sox pitcher] Ryan Dempster. The ‘Mo’ retirement [New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera was celebrated by the Red Sox in Fenway Park] on Sept. 15, was a special moment, too. From a game standpoint, the camera positions used in our June 30 game in Baltimore and the way we presented that game was great. The building was electric, it was a ‘big-game’ atmosphere, and all of the ingredients mixed very well. Most notably were some of the things Doug Holmes, our director, was able to do with camera positions at Camden Yards that had never been seen before.

What does each member of the Sunday Night Baseball team – Dan Shulman, Hershiser, John Kruk and Buster Olney – bring to the table?
Dan Shulman’s the consummate pro and one of the best in the business, bar none. He’s our point guard. He’s someone I bounce ideas off of. He bounces ideas off of me. We have a two-way communication when discussing the priorities of a telecast. Dan has the best interest of the fan at heart.

Orel is our professor and engineer, and from a situational and mechanical standpoint, dissects the pitchers and how they interact with hitters. Krukky is our “conscience from the couch.” He provides the every man’s perspective, while holding the credentials of a .300 career hitter and three All-Star appearances. Buster is the consummate teammate, and just a huge baseball fan. He contributes with his insights, both on and off the record and to the story lines that we think are important to our telecasts.

Longest HR's on SNB 2013
Longest HRs on SNB 2013

What is your favorite off-camera moment of the 2013 Sunday Night Baseball season?
When we did Texas at St. Louis on June 23, it was a 10 p.m. [local time] first pitch because of the torrential rainstorm in St. Louis. It rained from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Despite all of the inclement weather and the long day that it was when we went on the air, we had not one piece of equipment hiccup or fail due to weather. That’s due to the crew’s desire and their drive to put on a great show on a week-to-week basis. It’s a passion we all share. Our entire team takes a great interest and is supremely proud of the product that goes on the air.

I also need to shout out Mitch Hummer [ESPN content associate]. He is up every Sunday morning compiling the Elias documents. Baseball being a day-by-day sport, stats and notes need to be updated. He’s left to print and collate and distribute the notes to the commentators and production people. He has to be up and at ’em by 6 a.m. every Sunday. It’s one of the ingredients that allow us to be successful.

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