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The darker off-white color that hogs the grand majority of space in this snapshot of the pressbox robbed me of being able to make a good call of a walk-off dinger in a crucial late-season game. I thought it was a pop-up just above the catcher as the ball came off the bat.
Megan has worked for the athletics program at Utah State for much longer than I've known her. This passing winter she tried perking my interest in getting hired on to do the play-by-play for softball home games. It would be a neat thing for us because we'd head to the ballpark and work alongside each other in the same cozy press box. The reminders from Megan to apply became frequent just before spring, but in recent years for the program, the search for weekender who has a baseball/softball vocabulary to narrate games has been a little tough to come by.

They even had to up the payrate from seven an hour to nine.

So I slid in and out of a short interview for this second job in late February. I made up goals, as people normally do with standard interview questions, such as how I wanted to improve my extemporaneous speech and improve on the shortcomings of my vocal technique caused by a Utah accent. That all turned out to be true in the end. I did take the job seriously. I read up about the team and did a bit of research on every opponent before every weekend series.

Today was the last home game of the season. Like any other collegiate athletic program, the grand majority of the season is during the school year itself. It's not feasible to host a series in Logan Utah in February. Ice covered the field just four days before the first home game was set in March.

Even then you can always count on snowfall during or just before finals week here in May.

So because of this, the team spends the entire first half of the season on the road. By the time I was hired the team was already twenty or so games into it, and it was already known that the team was going to be special. Last season, they had their first winning season in two decades and were already improving upon that.

Working in the booth is like I mentioned before...cozy. Ten staff are jammed into a submodern pressbox. The coziness never really bothered me all much, just the size of the windows and the angle we had to see everything. Foul balls and pop-ups disappear almost instantly. I fudged quite a few calls mistaking balls batted into the parking lots for balls playable for outfielders. I felt robbed on a particular call yesterday when coach put in a pinch hitter in a tie game with two on and one out in the bottom of the seventh. She ended up sending a heater clear over the center field fence, but the blasted thing was hit so high I mistook it for a pop-up right above the catcher. I didn't know how to react as I finally saw the center-fielder finally back up a little bit, (she was already playing no doubles deep,) and then the ball came into view again dropping over the fence straight away center. I just blurted out whatever came to mind in a high emotional state trying to lay it on as thick as I could as the pinch hitter hit a huge walkoff home run.

Softball Pressbox Angle April 30th, 2017

They have to seat us in high stool chairs just so we can get a good glimpse of pitch location.

I completely froze up a few times, I mixed up a few vocabulary terms with other sports, I learned a few softball-specific rules a little too late, and I clipped the audio quite a few times covering a team that hit a lot of dingers to get excited about, but the livestream gents all kept offering positive praise, so I'll try and get the job again next year.
A Very Good Place to Start
Making it Official
First Season Doing Play-By-PlayThoughts Of The 2017 USU Softball Season
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