ESPN College Baseball

Mother Nature takes early lead, but ESPN’s college baseball productions still at bat

Mother Nature isn’t one of the 64 teams in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, but she proved to be a formidable opponent in the first three days of the Regionals. Of course when she’s in the game, it causes chaos for all involved with the event. The stadium crews, fans and media personnel responsible for covering the action are among the numerous who have been affected.

Two games is hard. Three is Herculean. – Senior CP
Mike Moore on the regional crews producing tripleheaders

And Mother Nature was in the game on Saturday, delivering storms that produced extended delays, complete washouts and schedule adjustments that led to tripleheaders being scheduled at four of the sites.

“Those of us who have worked this event for a while can’t remember a more brutal weather day with long delays and total postponements,” said Mike Moore, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer overseeing the network’s Regionals and Super Regionals coverage. “I have to give a hat tip to the regional crews in Springfield, [Mo.], Dallas, Champaign, [Ill.] and Houston for enduring a three-game day on Saturday and Sunday. Two games is hard. Three is Herculean.”

With 16 locations and four days of games, there are bound to be a few weather delays. This weekend’s washouts have led to many of the approximately 750 people ESPN assembled to produce every game – up to 112 contests total – to endure long hours at the stadium. On-air, they have had to adjust coverage plans on the fly and – in one case for the Houston Regional – deal with a leaking production truck that is vital to covering the games still to be played.

ESPN’s Bases Loaded platform of unlimited live cut-ins and highlights from the 16 sites felt the impact of Mother Nature as well. ESPN employees producing the fan-favorite network from the Charlotte studio provided 39 hours of live coverage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The 39 hours – more than half of the 72 available in the three days – includes a 3 a.m. ET sign off today.

. . .Our production and operations teams are the heroes. – Brent Colborne, ESPN director of programming

“While Bases Loaded is a tremendous platform for the fans and has proven to be the ultimate backstop in weather situations like this past weekend, our production and operations teams are the heroes,” said Brent Colborne, ESPN director of programming. “We had a game in Fullerton [Calif.] that didn’t end until nearly 5 a.m. ET Sunday morning and the last game of a tripleheader in Houston go 20 innings.”

The Regionals are scheduled to conclude today with a minimum of 10 games, but has the possibility of six Game 7 matchups being added.

Moore added, “We have more Monday Regional games than I can remember in all the years I’ve worked on this event. People are tired today, but the attitudes and persistence of the crews have been tremendous.”

However, not every site has had the weather issues. The producer from the Los Angeles site took the opportunity to share their weather report for Sunday with the other crews: Weather: 73 and sunny. Light breeze. High tide 12:03. Low tide 5:05 pm. Surfing conditions: EXCELLENT Tanning index: 8.

Salt, meet wound.

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