St. Louis Cardinal fans tuning into last week’s FOX Sports Midwest coverage of the series with the Oakland A’s witnessed two Major League Baseball firsts –in-game player interviews and comments from Cardinal players wearing wireless mics as the games progressed.
The games were the first of a two-month pilot program the league has authorized to let players and coaches interact with game announcers to enhance the fans viewing experience by giving them unprecedented access to the inner-workings of the game while it unfolds.
Five other teams, including the San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and the XXXX XXXX, also are participating in the experiment.
One player is selected for each game to wear the FOX Sports Midwest wireless mic. Typically, the player’s comments are recorded, edited and played back during the game, although the setup is used live on occasion.
For in-game interviews, cameras are positioned outside the clubhouse door, in the bullpen and in the dugout.
Mark Hulsey, executive producer at FOX Sports Network Midwest said they try not to interfere with the team. He said in tight game situations interviews are conducted outside the clubhouse door and not in the dugout.
In-game interviews are also timed to minimize potential interference with game developments. During the June 18 contest with Oakland, St. Louis Cardinals' southpaw Steve Kline, who was wearing the wireless mic, actually collaborated with team announcers to deliver play-by-play coverage while his teammates batted shortly after the game began.
The pilot program will continue until mid-August, after which it will be evaluated and considered for future use.