Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

All mic’d up on opening day…here’s Joey Votto

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 32

When players at my son’s baseball games congregate at the pitcher’s mound to chat with the pitcher during a game, I often wonder what they are saying. Are there words of encouragement being exchanged? Maybe tips on the hitter? A rant about the umpire? The weather? Whatever it is, it looks like a solid phoneless conversation between teenagers.

Tonight as we watched the opening day game for the Braves I heard Joey Votto, first basemen for the Cinncinatti Reds talking to the announcers. He wasn’t in the dugout, wasn’t leaning over the fence with other players casually blowing bubbles, he was ON THE FIELD. On first base! No glove covering his mouth to hide the baseball babble. Joey Votto was “mic’d up” as they call it.

According to Forbes Magazine, “When ESPN and Major League Baseball recently aired a series of all-access games in which players were mic’d up with ear-pieces, allowing them to converse with the broadcast team, the games were brought to life with a color palette the game has rarely seen. Player personalities jumped out as plays were broken down with real-time insight not by the analysts in the booth but by the players in the middle of the action. Suddenly, lulls in the game became must-see moments: It was no longer a guess whether the runner was thinking of stretching a single into a double, and a mundane walk became something close to electric.”

Back on first base, Joey Votto was personable and seemingly relaxed, although he did mention how his heart was pumping out of his chest. As the game was played, he explained each situation – and what his reaction would be if the ball soars down the line or flies up or goes foul. He connected with his audience, mentioning being in a “mid-life crisis” and how he was considering getting a gold tooth, “bling in the mouth”. He turned to the runner on first, telling him he was “mic’d up”. The runner was not surprised, as mic-ing up becomes more common.

It was fascinating being inside a player’s head as he narrated play-by-play. Maybe mic-ing up more professionals would serve us well. The cranky butcher at Publix would be fun to listen to as he thinly slices our steak while swearing, or the receptionist at the pediatrician’s office who has set up and changed approximately 56 appointments over the years. Maybe if we talk through our days and share how we’re feeling, the tough times will be a little more bearable and the joyful will be celebrated by all. Vulnerability isn’t that scary…for Joey Votto.

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