My Experience on the Fox Sports Pre-Game Show

“Life is not a spectator sport.” It’s interesting how much truth you can glean from a bumper sticker. Looking back over the past month of my life, I had to agree with the bumper. As I walked last night from the Diamondbacks parking garage towards the gates of Chase Field I was having a hard time comprehending all that has happened over the past month and what was about to happen.

The game should have been like any other game. The Diamondbacks were struggling and with a win they would even the four-game series against the Washington Nationals. There were questions regarding the offense and whether the team could become more consistent at the plate.

There were lingering questions about whether the bullpen would be able to hold any sort of lead or would the starting pitcher need to throw a complete game for the team to have any chance at a win.

Everywhere you turned there were some sort of question marks around the game tonight but for me there was just one question, “How in the world did I ever get invited to be on the Fox Sports Arizona Pre-Game show?”

I’d love to say I had an easy answer to that last question but quite frankly I still don’t believe it myself. It’s crazy how things work sometimes and this was down right insane.

It all started in early July when the Arizona Diamondbacks introduced the Legends Races at Chase Field. The legends are caricature mascot likenesses of four former Diamondbacks who race from the visiting team’s bullpen past the dugout finishing at the Diamondbacks dugout.

The Legends consist of Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, Randy Johnson, and Matt Williams. Each game the crowd cheers on their favorite Legend rooting for victory. So far there have been 21 races and the winners have been evenly split. Well all except for Mark Grace who has remained winless so far.

It seemed like every night Grace would lose by some fantastic and new way building on past failures. Each night when I came to the ballpark, those fans sitting around me would ask how Grace had lost the previous night. I would recount the tales of failure.

My kids suggested that I build a web site to chronicle Grace’s exploits and give people a place to catch up on what was happening in the Legends races. They suggested Let Grace Win so everyone knew we were pulling for Grace to finally win a race.

I agreed and threw a web site together over a weekend. I’ve continued to document each race while incorporating what I hope is a little humor into the tale. I didn’t really expect this to be too big, I honestly thought maybe my family and a few friends would ever see it or read it.

That may be where I made the mistake. Shortly after the site went live I began getting emails and comments from complete strangers who stumbled upon the site and enjoyed what they read.

Perhaps the two messages that shocked me the most came from the Diamondbacks themselves and also from Fox Sports. Both of these organizations came across the web site and had passed it along.

Before I knew it, this little web site started getting picked up and linked to by fans. The culmination was an email I received from Fox Sports Arizona asking if I would be willing to appear on the Diamondbacks pre-game show.

This is one of those things where you always wanted to add it to your Bucket List but you knew that if you did no one would ever believe you and it would be impossible to ever do.

I mean, I’m just a guy from Section 132 what could I ever do to be on the Diamondbacks telecast? Well, I guess I found an answer to that question.

As I entered the stadium I made my way to the Miller Lite Diamond Club where Fox Sports Arizona broadcasts the pre-game show. There on the set were television personalities Brad Steinke and Joe Borowski.

It’s a little surreal standing there watching people that you only know through seeing them on your television. Everyone was extremely friendly and very personable making me feel at home and relaxed.

I was told I would be on Segment 3 which I have no idea what that meant (I think that means after the third commercial). After Segment 2 was completed Borowski left his seat so that I could sit down.

I was tempted to tell him he once cost me $75 in Fantasy Baseball and as a result I had cursed his dog but I decided to just let bygones be bygones. Besides, I don’t even know if he has a dog and I would feel really bad if he broke down and cried because something happened to it after I cursed it.

They gave me a head set with microphone and we did a sound check. I was somewhat amazed that I could count to ten given how nervous I had become. I still remember the words of advice that my son and daughter gave me before I left, “Dad, whatever you do, don’t embarrass us. We have friends here.” Wow, no pressure there.

I was startled back into reality by a voice in my ear. I think I was a little freaked since I had no idea who the voice was or why he was whispering sweet nothings into my ear. Before I could question it, the commercial break was over and there I was live on television.

Brad asked me questions about the web site and why I created it. After talking for a bit they brought in Mark Grace who described how he felt about continually losing and how much he appreciated the web site and the support.

My 15 minutes of fame ended up being probably a couple of minutes long on live television. From the number of text messages and emails I received, at least nine people saw me so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

The web site seems to be busy, according to the web statistics I’ve now had 52,265 visitors in just under a month. From the comments everyone is cheering for Mark Grace and hoping his Legend is finally able to win.

As for me, I’ll keep going to the games and actively rooting for Grace. After all, you never quite know what is going to happen when you cheer for the home team.


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