Now thats entertainment
Editor's note: This is the second in a periodic series of articles bringing you an inside look at the Red Sox and Fenway Park. For more, check out the rail on the right of this article or the Fenway insider portion of the Red Sox Nation Fan Zone section on our Red Sox index.
So youre sitting at Fenway in the fifth inning. The game has settled in, youve had your beer and your hot dog and called your pals on your cell phone to tell them youre at the game. And then you realize youve lost track of whats happening on the field. For moments like this, there is Darren Gorden, the guy whos paying attention so you dont have to.
You check one of the seven scoreboards for the count, how many outs there are ... maybe even the score if youre really not paying attention. Thank Darren. Up in the announcers booth (the three windows on the far right next to the press box, above the 406 club), on every pitch, hit, run, double play, sacrifice ... whatever ... Darren hits the designated button on a computer keyboard, and the scoreboards all over the park update the situation.
And hes only one of the team of roughly two dozen full or part-time people that do what those in the stadium sports business call in-game entertainment. You know. All the stuff that isnt the game itself. Everything from the pre-game ceremonial first pitch and singing of the National Anthem to the announcements and music and scoreboards and the big screen in center field with its replays or shots of fans or promos.
I doubt anyones ever timed it, but out of a three-and-a-half-hour baseball game, the ball is actually in motion maybe a total of, I dont know, 10-15 minutes? Baseball has terrific moments of drama, interspersed with long periods of not much going on. So a modern trip to any ballpark, even an old-time classic like Fenway, comes with music and videos and lots of information and trivia questions and Sweet Caroline and, well, lots more than crackerjack and a scorecard. As Sox VP of communications Charles Steinberg says, were making sure that coming to the game is better than watching it on TV.
Next to Gordon up in the control booth sits Carl Beane, the stentorian-voiced announcer. And to Carls left stands ... or rather, paces nervously ... Dan Kischel, the Terry Francona of the team that puts on this off-the-field show. (Steinberg is the in-game entertainments Theo Epstein, the general manager of it all.) Dan oversees a crew that includes: