About last night: SNB producer on working record-setting, 18-inning telecast

Aaron Boone's Sunday Night Baseball colleague Jessica Mendoza captured his late-inning transformation at Wrigley Field. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Mendoza's Instagram feed/ESPN)
Aaron Boone’s Sunday Night Baseball colleague Jessica Mendoza captured his late-inning transformation at Wrigley Field. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Mendoza’s Instagram feed/ESPN)
It was a long day – and night – at the office for producer Andy Reichwald and ESPN’s entire baseball team.

Reichwald knew the much anticipated New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs matchup would be exciting, but no one could have predicted it essentially would take two games to determine an outcome.

The Yankees’ 5-4 victory over the Cubs was the longest SNB telecast ever (series began in 1990) – both regarding totally innings (18) and time (6 hours, 5 minutes). ESPN Stats & Info documents more records related to this game.

The telecast delivered a 1.8 metered market rating across 18-innings, which was up 20 percent from last year’s comparable game – a nine-inning Yankees-Boston Red Sox affair. Through nine innings, the telecast averaged a 2.0 metered market rating, and it peaked with a 2.3 rating in the ninth. ESPN also maintained a 1.2 rating in the game’s final quarter hour – 2-2:15 a.m. ET.

Front Row caught up with Reichwald, who is likely a bit sleep-deprived, to discuss how his team rose to the occasion for baseball fans Sunday night into Monday morning.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is making sure that everyone maintains a high level of concentration and energy. I was extremely proud of our crew for their efforts last night. Everyone kept a sharp focus. A special shout out goes to our outstanding camera crew who battled the cold and bitter Chicago wind all night and did not miss a play.
Sunday Night Baseball producer Andy Reichwald

What are some of the challenges you face in an 18-inning production?
Perhaps the biggest challenge is making sure that everyone maintains a high level of concentration and energy. I was extremely proud of our crew for their efforts last night. Everyone kept a sharp focus. A special shout out goes to our outstanding camera crew who battled the cold and bitter Chicago wind all night and did not miss a play.

From a production standpoint, how do you ensure that you have enough content to support the telecast?
When a game goes that long, you are bound to wander into some areas of historical significance. Not only was last night the longest Sunday Night Baseball game ever, it was also the longest interleague game in MLB history and, lucky us, the Cubs and Yankees set a record for the most combined strikeouts in MLB history. Our research and graphics team did a great job documenting all of that and more as it unfolded.

What types of adjustments do you have to make when realizing you’re going into extra innings?
Starting in the ninth inning, our whole crew had to be prepared that in the bottom of every inning the game could end with one swing and a walk-off hit. That affected our camera plans, too. You always want to try to make sure you are in the best position to document the key play and capture key reactions, both live and via replay. We had to position ourselves to do that for three straight hours between the ninth inning and the 18th.

How do you recover from the telecast?
Now, I will try to fall asleep on the plane, but more likely I will watch the game back while also continuing preparation for the big Derek Jeter Night this weekend on Sunday Night Baseball.