Hooked on the Horns

Today, I’m in Austin, Texas, reporting a story for our second-annual Athletes’ Issue. For what became the cover story of last year’s issue, I accompanied Matt Leinart to the NFL owners’ meetings in Phoenix and helped him ask nine NFL coaches, “Why did you pass on me in the draft?”

This year, I am shadowing San Francisco 49ers running back (and former Penn State RB/WR/QB/Big-10 offensive player of the year/supastar) Michael Robinson as he makes his network broadcast debut.

Robinson has a triple degree in marketing, advertising and broadcasting from PSU and is attempting to make use of all three while playing in San Fran. He wants a career in broadcast journalism after he’s done playing, and has been practicing the craft any chance he gets. (Check out his Robinson Reports on sf49ers.com.) So ESPN-U hooked him up with a chance to play sideline reporter at the Baylor-Texas softball game this Wednesday. Obviously, he’s never played softball. But he’s been doing his homework.

Today, we took a dry run at the Rice-Texas baseball game. We walked the field, learned what each camera/operator is responsible for catching, and took a tour of “the truck”—ground zero for an ESPN broadcast.


It was neat learning how the bells and whistles of a broadcast—stuff you take for granted as a viewer—all happens. What? Those graphics don’t just magically appear on my screen? But after about a half hour of being cramped into an area even smaller than my NYC living room, with 10 folks barking commands over and at one another, I was getting claustrophobic. I have a hard time being locked in an office building for extended periods of time, so I don’t know how they do that for hours on end, game after game, week after week.

But, in the end, what they produce is something pretty seamless (baseball pun intended) and very cool.

Tomorrow is the big show.

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