Magazine article USA TODAY

The Making of the World Series Video: Boston and St. Louis Took Center Stage for Major League Baseball Productions, with the Red Sox, Previous Two-Time Fall Classic Victims to the Cardinals, Finally Reversing the Curse and Winning Their First Title since 1918

Magazine article USA TODAY

The Making of the World Series Video: Boston and St. Louis Took Center Stage for Major League Baseball Productions, with the Red Sox, Previous Two-Time Fall Classic Victims to the Cardinals, Finally Reversing the Curse and Winning Their First Title since 1918

Article excerpt

FIRST THERE WERE newsreels, films that miraculously brought world events to wide-eyed Americans still marveling at the notion that moving pictures could be shown on a big screen in a grandiose auditorium. Years later, the creation of television condensed the world into the little black-and-white boxes springing up in living rooms all across the country.

The newsreel, however, eventually went the way of the manual typewriter, the steam engine, and regular visits from the milkman--its time had passed. Yet, one modem-day form of the old newsreel remains in this era of instant communications: the World Series video. The days of grainy, colorless films are long gone, though. Time has marched on with the video chronicling of one of sports' premiere events. In fact, the production is not even on film, or video cassette for that matter. It is released strictly on DVD.

The production of the video--if that still is the right word for it--is quite an undertaking. It certainly is a far cry from a couple of cameras being set on tripods at the ballparks of yesteryear. Five crews, encompassing about two dozen people, were scattered throughout Boston's Fenway Park and Busch Stadium in St. Louis to record the action as the Red Sox and Cardinals battled it out last fall. There were three stationary positions and two roving crews.

The term "all-access" often is overused in networks' promotion of their TV shows, but that tag is applicable here. The roving crews really were on the move. There they were on the field before the game. There they were in the upper deck--and then the dugout--while play was in progress. There they were in the box seats the next inning. They were using fans in the stands to hold up props or decorate the footage with their signs and unusual outfits. All this left the Major League Baseball Productions crews churning up and down ramps and steps like they were training for a triathlon.

"We chronicle the whole World Series experience, not just the action on the field," notes Mitchell Scherr, who oversaw the production. "We have a different perspective than TV. We want to tell the story of how [the teams] got there, how the fans react. They're already going to know what happened [by the time the DVD is released], so we want to do an overview of the whole scene. We want something that will be just as [relevant] in 15 years or more as it is today."

So, the finished product is much more all-encompassing than the films of the old days, when the only off-field shots seemingly were brief glimpses of men in white shirts and ties and ladies wearing their Sunday-best hats going bonkers in the stands.

"We want to paint a portrait of everything going on," explains David Gavant, vice president and executive producer of MLB Productions. "We try to capture the big picture."

The MLB Productions crew was able to concentrate on the activities off the field because MLB's contract with the Fox network, which televised the World Series, allows the use of Fox footage in the video. Since the crew primarily was augmenting the nuts-and-bolts material, much of its attention was turned to off-field events.

To wit, MLB Productions set up a mini-studio in the belly of the stadiums in order to record player interviews, but that set-up presented many challenges. First, there were logistical issues. At Busch Stadium, space was borrowed from KMOX, the flagship station of the Cardinals' radio network, which has a small studio nestled between the home and visiting lockerrooms. Interviews for the video had to be squeezed in when the station was not on the air with one of its many World Series programs.

It was even more challenging in Boston, where the games were played in ancient--and cramped--Fenway Park. "In Boston, we were in a laundry room," Scherr points out. "[We were] dealing with the grounds crew and maintenance guys coming in and out."

Yet, there were more problems than setting up--and having access to--the makeshift interview rooms. …

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