Hey everyone! My name is Dominick Rotante and I am a junior here at Chapman majoring in Communication Studies. For the last year and a half I’ve been working for FOX Sports and this October I was given the opportunity to work the MLB playoffs. Today I wanted to share my story of working my first ever MLB postseason, so let’s get started.
During the postseason I was a Production Assistant. More specifically, I was designated to be the Production Assistant in the booth. As the booth runner, the most important people I helped were the talent, Joe Buck and John Smoltz. Both Joe and John are amazing broadcasters, and even better people. Joe was even nice enough to give the School of Communication a shout out in a little video I filmed. Overall, this experience was an amazing opportunity for me because I want to be on a travel crew for FOX Sports after I graduate and this was a great first step. While working, I met many people who can help me achieve this post-grad.
I should begin with the first series I worked on, the American League Championship Series (ALCS) where the Houston Astros took on the New York Yankees. To get started, I flew to Houston, TX on October 12th and spent that same day at Minute Maid Park doing a set day and mapping out the stadium since it was my first time there. The next two days after that were both game days. On game days I typically had the same routine: grab stats and lineups for the booth, help the talent get whatever they need when they arrive, and make sure the booth is loaded up with food and water before the game as well as during. Maybe not the most glamorous work, but it was what I signed up for and I still loved it. Every single day I worked was at least a 12 hour day but again since I was doing what I loved, each day flew by pretty fast. After these first two games wrapped up, myself and the crew took a charter plane to NYC. I grew up as a New York Yankees fan and this was my first ever time in New York so I was really looking forward to finally being able to visit the city. After this series ended and the Astros won the ALCS in seven games, it was time to move on to the World Series: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers.
The first two games of the World Series were in Los Angeles because they had the best regular season record in baseball. Game one was actually the hottest World Series game on record at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, so I had to be sure that not only was I hydrated, but so was everyone else in the booth, which meant a lot of trips down to the TV trucks for water. I followed a similar routine to the ALCS where the first days in LA and then in Houston were set days where we mapped out the stadiums and set up the booths, and game days I did roughly the same thing as in the ALCS. This series also went the full seven games, and the Houston Astros emerged victorious.
As far as the actual production goes, there are three different pieces that come together to make the overall production run smoothly. There is the technical crew, the operations crew, and the one I was a part of, the production crew. With a crew of over 100+ people dealing with each other for three straight weeks, communication is key. Without it, there would be no show. I used my communication skills I learned at Chapman by communicating with the FOX Sports executives, my colleagues, and most importantly for me, the talent. The talent were who I had to deal with the most, so I had to be sure I was good at communicating with them and keeping them happy. I had to always be aware, focused, and professional because that is what people expect out of you at all times, and thankfully I did just that.
While I did miss three weeks of classes, I was able to get all my school work done remotely, so in the end everything worked out perfectly. Not many people get to experience what I did so I am very grateful for that. This was such a great opportunity and if anyone has an interest going into this field, I highly recommend it, so long as sleep is not a priority for you. The days are long but the experience makes everything worth it, and I cannot wait to do this all over again next year!