Cornell At Bat Season Round Up- Alex Gimenez
When we embarked on the journey that was the 2013 Big Red Baseball season, I have to admit I was slightly unsure about how much we were going to be able to accomplish. Jesse and I had laid out a very ambitious plan for this season just weeks after we had returned home from the NCAA Regional at Chapel Hill, and no matter how prepared we were, or how much work we put in before the season, we wouldn’t know how the program would turn out until we got into the season. Looking back at the year, I have to say we accomplished just about everything we wanted to and more this season, and with the following words I’d like to explain what we were able to do, how we were able to do it, and what we are hoping to improve on for next year.
As I mentioned above, Jesse and I had very lofty goals for this year because we felt that we had just scratched the surface with our coverage from the magical 2012 season. When you lay out a 20 page business proposal full of ambitious leads and new ideas, you know that you have your work cut out for you. The fact that nearly everything in that proposal was at least explored this season, was a surprise even though I fully planned on achieving all of those goals.
So what exactly did we accomplish this year. For starters, we were able to improve our feed and listenership dramatically. We still had some technical issues from time to time this season, but it was incredibly better than it was last year. Part of the improvement was due to our brand new equipment, which included some of the best headsets and crowd microphones in broadcasting. The listenership for a game this year averaged around 45-50 at any given time with an overall average of about 450-500 total listeners per game/double header. We had people listening in from all over the country, many were parents and family members of players and coaches, but we had many alumni of the University, as well as students and even people from other Ivy League schools listening in to our coverage.
Last season we “broadcasted” 9 regular season games, and of those 9, I believe we got through 2 without losing an inning, and at least three others were only recorded. We were able to add 5 games because of the playoff run which was a huge win. However, this year we successfully broadcasted 23 games, if you include the first 4 and a half innings of the Binghamton game that was rained out. We were able to rotate broadcasters and everyone who chose to be on the air was able to get a chance to broadcast both play-by-play and color. We also debuted our weekly radio show, interviewing players and coaches to discuss the season. The show was an awesome experience for us, and we really were able to learn more about this team through those interviews, as well as the interviews we did with them off of the air for our own preparation.
This year we upped our social media presence in a big way as many of you liked our facebook page, and followed us on twitter. It was great to see all of you interacting with us on those platforms. We loved the support. We also added our blog to the equation, which allowed even more of us to get involved and for us to bring you even more content on the team in a new and different way. On campus we had articles on the team in the Cornell Review, a print newspaper. Throughout the season we had some content on our facebook, twitter, and or blog almost everyday from March through the final game of the year, which really impressed me.
What allowed us to put together the coverage we had this year, starts with our outstanding staff. We started off last summer with two and by the end of the season we had 11 people who made at least some contribution this season. None of this is possible without all of the work they did this year, and I cannot thank them enough for it. When I started the program last year, I knew I had a passion for the game, for broadcasting, and most specifically this team. To find a group of people who would take this program on as their own was remarkable, and to be able to bring on a team of that size made it even more special. We have the second largest sports coverage team at Cornell behind only the Cornell Daily Sun, which boasts a sports staff of 16.
The group we have has a variety of interests but one thing holds true across the board, we all love baseball. Some of us want to go into baseball broadcasting, others into the business and baseball operations side of the game. But we all see working with the Big Red team as an opportunity to learn from an outstanding group of players and coaches and to better prepare ourselves for the future. For that, I have to personally thank Head Coach Bill Walkenbach for being so open to our program. Not many coaches would give us the access that he has given us, and it is something we don’t take for granted. On that note, we thank the entire coaching staff and all of the players, for following in Coach Walk’s footsteps and for always being a resource to us, even when it takes time out of their already busy schedules. It was truly a pleasure working with all of them this year. I also have to thank Brandon Thomas and Jeremy Hartigan for everything they do on the sports information side of things.
Not only did we enjoy our work this season with the Big Red, our experiences were incredibly helpful in securing internships and jobs over the summer. Alex Garcia, who wrote articles for us as well as managed the walk up songs for us this season in addition to his work on our pilot basketball broadcasting program CU Hoops will be a communications intern for the District Attorney in Northwestern Massachusetts. Chad Edelblum who wrote a few articles but was primarily a broadcaster on CU Hoops this season will be working on his writing skills on his own blog this summer. Cassie Vilmenay, who many of you know as the social media guru for At Bat, did everything from manage our social media, to writing articles and producing our on air content. She is currently a Social Media intern for CrowdSeats.com, one of our Cornell At Bat Sponsors. Matt Provenzano contributed in a huge way this season, broadcasting games, writing articles, managing the blog, and providing much needed technical support. Matt will be interning at the Long Island Office of Senator Kirsten Gillebrand. Adam Kirsch functioned primarily as an advisor to myself and Jesse Sherman on financial and marketing related needs after broadcasting a few games with us in 2012. Adam is helping run the Sports PR Summit in New York City, as well as working on Digital Strategy and Social Media for folica.com in addition to managing his own startup, yorango.com. Gabe Cassillo was a beat writer for Cornell At Bat this season. He will be working with the New York Mets as a Premium Ticket Sales intern.
Hudson Belinsky brought his proven experience as a writer and scout to the booth this season, broadcasting games and writing articles for us. Hudson will be interning with Perfect Game USA writing scouting reports on players as well as doing freelance work for other baseball media outlets around the US. Jesse Sherman needs no introduction, a cofounder and Vice President of Cornell At Bat, was a primary play-by-play and color broadcaster, co-host to Cornell At Bat Radio, a writer and a key decision maker. He will be interning in New York City with GroupM Sports and Entertainment Partnerships. Finally, I will be staying in Ithaca this summer working on my research on the effects of team chemistry on winning percentage in high school baseball teams. I will also be interning at 1160 ESPN Ithaca, conducting the SportsCenter Updates on weekends as well as reporting on other sports for the Between the Lines radio show and producing in studio and on site for broadcasts of local sporting events. As you can see, Cornell At Bat has been a gateway for us, to the professional world.
So after a very successful season in 2013, what do we hope to improve on for next season? Well, as I did last year, I am setting lofty goals for the 2014 baseball season. Throughout the year you heard mention of a Cornell At Bat website, where all of our content would be focused. After our web developer did not come through for us this year, Matt Provenzano got to work on a website that will be in place for next season. As a staff, we decided that with our size and capabilities, we can and will broadcast every game for the 2014 season. We enjoyed our travels with the team so much, and we feel that no one should have to follow along with gamecast for early season road trips if we can easily provide on air coverage. Finally, we are working on getting the games covered on local AM/FM radio in addition to our new feed online through CornellRadio.com. Stay tuned for more updates as the summer goes on as we hope to provide information on the players playing summer ball. Thanks for an amazing season!