For a while, that meant getting ready games that weren’t yet postponed or canceled by coronavirus protocols.
In a normal world, I’d be in the midst of the high school baseball season, following Science Hill in its quest for a third straight appearance in the State tournament. The Hilltoppers got in four games before Covid-19 restrictions scrubbed the next 13 games from their schedule. But, at that time, it was expected the season could resume sometime in early April, and I went about my business hoping that it would.
What kind of prep can happen in a season that hit a full stop? High school coaches and administrators are notoriously reluctant to honor media requests, so asking for this season’s (or past season’s) statistics likely ends up fruitless. (In some cases, getting even the most basic information, like a roster and a schedule, can be frustrating.)
So I turned to historical research.
Under the original schedule-suspension timetable, Science Hill would have three Big 7 series left once play resumed April 6. So I went digging into the recent pasts of the three prospective opponents, compiling their year-by-year records, breaking them down by home/road/neutral, and their matchups against the Hilltoppers.
My main resource tool is CoachT.com, an outstanding high school sports website with facts and figures on virtually every school in Tennessee dating back to 2003. It’s not a fully-stocked information clearinghouse, like those for college or professional teams and conferences, but it’s a neutral observer and easy to access. The downside of CoachT.com is that it relies heavily on user participation, so the amount of data can vary widely from school to school. But it’s the best option. It also helped me unearth useful factoid tidbits that’ll help inform a broadcast, like:
So, what would be next?
I’ve spent 12 seasons calling Minor League Baseball games, 11 of them in the Appalachian League, in which the 2020 season won’t start until – knock on wood -- June 22nd. It’s a short season, but also a grind -- once the parent clubs assign their rosters, usually about a week before Opening Day, every day becomes busy. Very busy. VERY busy. Just keeping up with daily duties is challenging.
But with the potential for some downtime between now and then, I’d like to look deeper than the usual day-to-day prep work and research. Which means, yes, more historical data. Like all-time matchups, home-road splits, best and worst seasons, post-season data, things like that. Good thing history has always fascinated me, eh?
I miss baseball.