Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Gregg Murphy joined producers Dee Kelchner and Sean Rainey to discuss adjustments in the world of sports media during “Pizza With the Pros” on Monday, March 7.
Murphy, Kelchner and Rainey spoke to students on their journey to a career with the Phillies, and the lessons learned from the competitive industry of sports media. Murphy, the former Phillies sideline reporter, had a different perspective than Kelchner and Rainey, who work with scoreboard and video production.
Hailing from St. Joe’s University, Murphy found his footing quickly in the sports media industry, rising the ranks from calling his first basketball game in the Palestra, to radio show host, to interning for NBC Sports Philadelphia in the 2000s.
“Prepare while also keeping your eyes and ears open,” Murphy said, when asked what the key for achieving those goals was. He explained how live content is often more difficult to prepare for, as there can be new information being uncovered while on air.
Following just under a decade of sideline reporting, Murphy was unfortunately a part of the mass release of multiple NBC Sports stations employees across the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Similar to the situation of former Pizza with the Pros guest Cindy Webster, it was only a matter of time until Murphy was back in the Phillies organization. Later in 2020, the team announced he was returning as a lead radio broadcaster, hosting both pre- and post-game shows.
Rainey on the other hand was affected by the pandemic more on the field than off it. A major part of Rainey’s job as Director of Video Production is to produce and manage the content on the big scoreboard sitting above the left-field bleachers in Citizens Bank Park. When COVID-19 took fans out of the stadiums for games, it left Rainey, Kelchner and their staff with a big question mark.
“I was used to directing, now I’m playing crowd noise,” Rainey said, a thought that repeatedly entered his head during the 2020 season, noting his original desire to direct movies.
Despite the lack of fans, it allowed the scoreboard producers to get more creative when tailoring the content to the players. Kelchner mentioned how she would get continuous reviews from the Phillies players on the genres of music being played throughout the game. In turn, more hip-hop was played as the season moved along.
Dealing with the nitty gritty of professional baseball teams is something that Kelchner was familiar with. Having spent multiple years at minor league front offices in Camden and Trenton, she knew that she had the resume for an MLB position, it was just a matter of time.
“When you have the opportunities, seize them, and make them your own,” Kelchner, a Rowan University graduate, said to students in attendance. At every step, she followed this mantra and is now coordinator of video production for the Phillies.
All three visitors have had great experiences working with players, more specifically, Phillies star Bryce Harper. Rainey discussed how a lot of players have a similar, schedule-oriented process to Harper’s, which can often mean time is of the essence.
Although not being able to speak on the current lockout in the MLB, the trio gave their opinion on possible changes made to the game of baseball in the future. Pitch Clocks, Robot Umpires, and shift abolishment were among topics discussed, but when it comes to the future of baseball, Murphy said it most eloquently: “God, I hope it’s good.”
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