Behind The Scenes

#OTL25 vignettes: Highlights of an incredible run

In April 2013, ESPN's Pedro Gomez (left) confronted Tony Bosch with questions about Bosch's possible role in baseball's PED scandal in this excerpt of an interview that aired on Outside The Lines.
In April 2013, ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez (left) confronted Tony Bosch with questions about Bosch’s possible role in baseball’s PED scandal in this excerpt of an interview that aired on Outside The Lines.

Editor’s Note: A sample of the Outside The Lines’ vignettes is embedded at the bottom of this post. The video will not play on some mobile devices.

Tim Hays explains the makeup of the OTL and Enterprise teams

“Several years ago we split our group into two units; the OTL show unit and the Enterprise Unit, a talented team of investigative reporters and producers. I’ve been one of the managers of that group ever since along with Dwayne Bray and Carolyn Hong. We still work closely everyday with the show unit, but splitting off into a separate group allowed us to work full time producing investigative and issue-oriented pieces that would debut on the OTL show.

Over the years a lot of talented people have helped manage OTL, including Vince Doria, Craig Lazarus, Rob King, Elida Witthoeft, David Brofsky, Jon Ebinger, Jean McCormick, Brian Leonard, Ronnie Forchheimer, Steve Vecchione, Stu Barbara, Robbin Dunn and Paul Palmer. It’s a great legacy. Not to mention what I believe is the most talented team of reporters and producers ever assembled in the field of sports journalism.

It’s never a bad idea to pause and look back even at a time when the precious present is keeping everyone quite busy.

Such is the pleasant position the ESPN team associated with Outside the Lines finds itself in. Currently in the run up to July 7’s hourlong ESPN special (7 p.m. ET), vignettes of memorable – and often remarkable – stories have been running within the daily OTL since last month as part of the #OTL25 recognition.

“It’s really been fun to go back and re-live all those great moments from the past,” said Tim Hays, coordinating producer for OTL’s Enterprise Unit and lead on the vignette project. “It started out with a bunch of us sitting around a meeting table going through our old calendars and looking at just about every story we’ve ever produced. We talked about our favorites and jotted down some of our most memorable moments.”
Hays, a 25-year ESPN veteran, has been working on the show for the last 14 years, and before that, was an OTL contributor on various stories.

The production team of Rayna Banks, Kelly Rohrer and Lisa Carter went through “hours and hours” of show tapes and catalogued the clips they pulled. They worked with editor Rob Berman to put them together with OTL’s custom animations.

“A year after the OTL Sunday show debuted in 2000, I took over as the coordinating producer in 2001 and I’ve been with OTL ever since,” he said. “It’s honestly been a real thrill for all of us to work on this OTL25 project together. We’ve taken so much pride in producing each one of these pieces and shows over the years that it is truly rewarding to look back on the body of work and enjoy it all over again.”

In my book, he is the face of sports journalism and we all have him to thank for the respect the show and the brand has garnered over the last quarter century.
–Coordinating producer Tim Hays on OTL host Bob Ley

The 40-plus, 30-second vignettes are voiced by, as Hays said, “the only person who has been with OTL every day of its existence, our host, Bob Ley,” Hays said. “In my book, he is the face of sports journalism and we all have him to thank for the respect the show and the brand has garnered over the last quarter century.”

As for the July 7 show itself, Hays offers up at least one updated story sure to garner some attention.

“One of the stories that we’ve received the most attention for in recent years was the Mike Rice story, the former Rutgers basketball coach whose practice antics were exposed on our show,” he said. “[ESPN reporter] John Barr spoke with Rice again recently to update our story and the interview was compelling. . . I think viewers will be fascinated to revisit the story along with us.”

It’s one of many, as the vignettes can attest.

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