Virtual Broadcasts Nothing New For Lookouts Play-by-Play Man Larry Ward

Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) Larry Ward has seen it all during his 32 years as the Voice of the Chattanooga Lookouts, including this season, where he didn’t see the Lookouts at all on the road. Covid protocols prevented Ward from traveling with the team and even broadcasting in visiting ballparks. Ward wound up doing Lookouts road games virtually, which was really nothing new for the legendary broadcaster.

News 12’s Rick Nyman has the story.

To broadcast a baseball game, you go to the ball park. Duh.
Well that wasn’t the case for Larry Ward, at least for Lookouts away games.
He went to a local radio station.
He broadcast the game on radio using the game day stats on his lap top, and one video monitor for the MILB stream, which is not always ideal.
Said Ward:”The youngsters running the camera get more enthralled with showing people instead of the game.”
Imagine the mistakes that can create.
Said Ward:”Either I didn’t know that the home run was coming or it was hit down the line and from the TV angle it looked like it was gone. And then Chuck goes, ‘Foul ball. Foul ball’. Oh. Okay I’m sorry sports fans. That was a foul ball.”
Oopsie. Since Ward is not on site, he and his sidekick Chuck McBride have to pipe in their own crowd noise for radio.
Said Ward:”We had. At the start of the year we had one that was really kind of not so good. This one had a bunch of kids singing ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’, and I did not notice it until it was pointed out to me by a friend of ours.”
Doing virtual games isn’t easy, but’s a breeze compared to actually recreating a game on the radio, which Ward actually did in the 70’s for the Portland Beavers.
Said Ward:”They would hire somebody. Pay them 10 or 15 bucks to call into the station. They would send you kind of hieroglyphics really. F-8. T-1. F-8. 6-3. 3-2 count. Double play or something. 3-2 count. F-9. If you know the game, you know how to do the play-by-play off of a piece of paper, and that’s basically what we did. If I were doing the play-by-play, then the color guy would do the sound effects. We hit bat-on-bat for base hits, and then we had a real tight rubber band on a match box or match cover that sounded like a foul tip of foul ball. It’s a theater of the mind, and that’s what radio has always been, and I guess that’s why I have always been attracted to it.”

Categories: Sports – Local Sports News