Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Having a laugh on the road

Afternoon all

Well, I must say, despite the 1-0 loss up in Portland, everyone still seems in a jubilant mood...... and why wouldn't they be!? The first loss of the season had to come at some stage, now with it been and gone, perhaps there is now a little less pressure on the team. Certainly the hype will be off them for a while, but I get the feeling, with the way this side play their soccer, the bright lights will be back on them very soon.

So let me take you back to the start of last week. We all arrived at KCI early in the morning for a 3/4 hour flight to Seattle. Once we got there and realized that Jake (@jakeyadrich) had forgotten his passport (which was no problem, he got that sorted fairly quickly), we had to devilish challenge of driving up to Vancouver. After a 3 hour drive involving lots of banter and laughing, we reached the Canadian boarder and were subsuquently denied entry into Canada due to not having a certain document signed. So after an hour or 2, we were through and heading for my favorite MLS city that we'd visited last year. I was very excited and as we approached downtown Vancouver and were very much in the thick of things, my eyes lit up and a rather large grin appeared on my face. I really do like Vancouver as a city, it excites me. So after a lovely lie on on Wednesday morning, I took a final look over my notes for the broadcast. I wandered downtown for something to eat and accidentally ended up strolling onto a movie set! Theres my claim to fame right there!!! Never before have I seen a guy in such a rush to usher and move people away from the set. We did the broadcast of the game on the evening and the boys said it was one of the better and easier set ups they've done in a while due to the great facilities at BC Place. I have to say, I was very much looking forward to seeing BC Place. Last year we played Vancouver at the temporary facility 'Empire Field' which had a cracking atmosphere in the close proximity it offered. BC Place had been recently renovated and I have to say, when I walked on the pitch, I was gob smacked. What a lovely stadium and I can't wait to go back when ever that may be. Sporting got themselves a 3-1 win to remain top of the league and we left Vancouver in great spirits and even managed to fit in a few beers after the broadcast.

The next day the 8/9 hour journey to Portland would be upon us. We arrived in the lobby at 9am and set off. We knew we'd have a problem or 2 getting back into the USA. It was plain and simple, just always going to be in the script. Thankfully, Jake had his passport this time, so that wouldn't be an issue. The problem was the fact that we had 19 bags full of TV equipment, overloaded with wires, cables and other things that quit frankly, I have no idea what they do! Either way, we were told to go to a certain building after being escorted out of our cars. After moving about 10 ft in an hour we were then told we'd been directed to the wrong building (which was extremely frustrating). However, after that, things flowed fairly smoothly and after getting the appropriate paper work signed and everything cleared, we were back in the USA and on our way. Driving past Seattle once again (knowing we'd have to come back this way on Sunday) we worked our way down to Portland. Dan (@the_doubledown) was driving and I still have no idea how he didn't fall asleep! So once again after hours of banter, laughing, working talking, singing and dancing (in our car anyway); Jake, Dan and I made it to Portland, closely followed by the other 2 separate vehicles with Chris (@ctwyche) and Justin in 1 car and Craig and Eric in the other.

So we decided to meet up for a couple of beers with Mike Flaherty (@kitmanskc) on the friday night and ended up bumping into the traveling Cauldron (@kccauldron) and shared several stories of our separate travels to get to Portland. I was also treated to several stories about the team 'back in the day' and had a genuine good time with the fans and thoroughly enjoyed that.

So game day came in Portland, it was a beautiful day. I must admit, Jeld WEN - Field has to be 1 of the best atmosphere's in MLS. The Timbers army are so loud and as you all know due to your vocals at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, it makes a difference and helps the team out. Obviously Sporting suffered their first defeat of the season (rather unexpectedly) to Portland Timbers, but either way, I still think we have to be excited in the fact that we aren't playing to our full potential quite yet. The first defeat was always going to come, now its out of the way. The last leg of the long road trip was the final salt in the wound here, with a 5am wake up call and another 3 hour drive to Seattle. It was so good to get back to Kansas City and see people i'd missed. However, that was a laugh.

Here are some video's which will give you all you need to know about our road trip - Enjoy!

A bye weekend now for Sporting, so lets recharge the batteries and enjoy the weekend off, we've got it all to do again next weekend vs Montreal Impact. I know you all will anyway, but lets make sure we give Davy Arnaud a warm welcome back.

No radio show on Thursday on 610, but Jake and I will be on KSMO - TV on Sunday evening at 9.30pm for 'Off the Pitch'.

See you there guys!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Time of our lives

Afternoon all

Anybody had a look at the MLS standings? If not......... go on, treat yourself, they look wonderful!

I suppose now the question is just how big is this next game vs Real Salt Lake at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Both sides playing extremely attractive soccer and lie top of their respective conferences. Easily the biggest game in MLS this weekend, tickets are almost gone, so if you want to get to the game, hurry up!

I think the game vs LA Galaxy was the teams finest moment yet this season. LA failed to have a shot on target all game and Sporting clearly dominated. No shot on target from anyone in MLS vs Sporting KC in 245 minutes! Unreal!

So during the past week Sporting KC announced a brand new partnership with Sports Radio 810 WHB. Perfect timing in my opinion, as ESPN were in Kansas City covering the game. Leading up to the match I was very excited (as per usual), mainly because I was going to do my first radio commentary for a long time. Coming from a radio background, its always nice to go back to the routes and remember things that I was taught by so many great people back in England with the BBC and within local radio. Had a good chat with ESPN's Adrian Healy before the game. I remember him saying he loves coming to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and can't wait to come back again. Once again from what I heard, the atmosphere was fascinating once again. I really did enjoy the radio commentary and the fact that it now seems as though we are buying our own radio and some more TV equipment; broadcast is still very high on the agenda at Sporting KC. As an announcer, thats great to know! There are several teams in MLS that don't use it to its full advantage at all, but Sporting KC push it out there, which is very comforting. I thought once again that Jake (@jakeyadrich) was as solid as ever and Kristin (@kbock2241) on sideline was very good on the timing aspect of things. I look forward to our next 810 commentary on May 27th, but its all TV now for a while and I certainly don't have a problem with that. Remember that Josh (@joshwhisenhunt) and Andy (@AndyEdSKC) will have a post game call in show after EVERY home game on Sports Radio 810 WHB.

So now we move on to the next big test. I think Real Salt Lake will be our toughest opponent yet. They're full strength, solid at the back, have a commanding presence in the middle through Beckerman, plus Espindola and Sabario up top will always cause problems. Very excited to call this 1! Dubbed the game of MLS so far. Join Jake, Kristin, Josh and I from 7pm CT on KSMO - TV!

Until next time.....


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Technology tantrums

Afternoon all

Well, that was interesting. Another win for Sporting KC, this time over Chivas USA, see's them 3 points clear at the top of MLS and 6 points clear of nearest challengers New York Red Bulls in the Eastern conference. The 1-0 win meant Sporting KC would finish the day 4-0-0 for the first time in the teams history. However, despite another solid win, the technical difficulties that we had on our broadcast over shadowed events at The Home Depot Center for every single 1 of us involved with TV. We've explained what happened on Twitter and as much as we'd like to move past this, I do feel as though we owe you an explanation. So here we go......

For those who don't know how we do our broadcasts on the road, we basically rent a small truck and use our main piece of rather expensive equipment called a 'tricaster' to run the show. Now i'm probably not the best person to explain how it works as my knowledge of it is extremely limited. I just know as soon as I found out it wasn't working at around 3pm PT, my heart sank. Almost everything on the road is run of this piece of machinery. Now we expect equipment to get a bit of wear and tear on the road as we carry it all (14/15 bags and cases) through the airport between the 5 of us, but it was only week 4!! Our only guess is that someone from a certain airline decided to throw it rather then place it. If thats the case, i'm impressed! That thing is exceptionally heavy! We scoured through contacts through out California to find out if there was 1 we could rent for the day. Unfortunately, nobody had 1 within California and the stress began to take place. Not having the tricaster would mean we would have to abandon ALL graphics (as most of you saw with the score bug), which also meant the transitions to most other things in the broadcast were extremely sharp and nowhere near as smooth as per usual. On top of all this, we then appeared to have internal audio issues, which meant both Jake (@jakeyadrich) and I couldn't hear our director Chris (@ctwyche) for the most part of the first 2 segments. However, the 1 incident which did make me laugh more then anything was during the highlights of the FC Dallas game (which Jake pre produced). You guys must remember viewing the highlights, right? Must be nice...... our monitor cut out so Jake and I were doing it completely blind! Oh the joys of technical difficulties. Either way, it was an absolute miracle that was even had a show on Sunday. Chris, Craig, Eric and Abner (@abnerha) were absolutely brilliant. The highlights we showed at the end of the game....... we took Chivas USA's TV feed for a few moments, brilliant thinking from the production boys. I remember Chris saying in my ear "we have highlights, when you get it back, go to highlights" and I paused for a brief second whilst Jake was talking and thought to myself 'how...... just how have you managed that'!! That day made me realize that even with 1 of the smallest TV crew's on the road, we have one of the best groups within MLS. Any questions you have about that broadcast, please post them at the bottom of this blog and i'll see if I can answer them for you. Sincere apologies, it'll be fixed by the time we head up to Vancouver.

Right, on a more positive note I think the next 2 games are huge for Sporting KC. LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, arguably amongst the top 3 sides in MLS and we have them at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. ESPN are in town for the Galaxy game, but keep your eyes pealed, we have an announcement coming this week.

So despite the chaos and madness of LA, being home in Kansas City for 2 weeks is very much on my mind. Its funny, doing what we do can be very stressful and chaotic, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Certain things have fallen into place for me over recent weeks and I think things could get even better! I have to say, life is fantastic! I spoke to my Mom today and remember uttering the words "I think this is the happiest i've ever been in my life". We go to so many great cities on our travels, but KC is certainly the most friendliest and has that homely feeling about it. I love it here!

So, sorry Kansas City, you're stuck with me for a while yet. Talk to you all on Thursday evening from 6PM on 610 Sports Radio.