Results tagged ‘ Tim Byrdak ’

Ballplayers acting out (literally).

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Funny skits and “getting to know you” bits that are played on the scoreboards in between innings have become such a part of today’s Major League Baseball experience that it’s easy to take them for granted.

The process to put it all together, however, is no easy task. It takes incredible organization on the part of the ballpark entertainment crew, considering it has dozens of players and staff to involve in the process and has to get a season’s-worth of content filmed over a span of less than two weeks.

The Astros’ Ballpark Entertainment department is currently in the process of filming several features for the 2010 season: “Fact or Fiction,” “A Closer Look,” “Think Tank,” “Little League Memories” and “Guess the Flick.” Between now and the first couple of days of March, the staff will have recorded spots with every player who is either guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster or has a chance to make the club this year.

“Fact or Fiction” involves the player making a statement, and then the crowd has to decide if it’s true or not.

“A Closer Look” focuses on things we might not already know about the player — what was his first job? What sport was he good at growing up besides baseball? What movie star do people think he looks like? The final product will include funny motion graphics to illustrate the answers.

“Think Tank” pairs up teammates, who engage in a Q&A word association.

“Guess the Flick” involves playing a scene from a well-known movie, and inserting the player into the scene.

Brian Moehler, Bud Norris and Jeff Fulchino filmed their segments on Monday, and we snuck into the room to get some raw video footage of our own, to share with you. Moehler was hilarious — he acted out a scene from “Dumb and Dumber” and even though I’ve known him for quite a few years, this is the first time I’ve ever heard him get loud. Check out the video to see for yourself.

Moehler also reveals which celebrity people think he looks like, who his most annoying teammate is (I don’t want to name names, but it rhymes with Plum) and that he went to high school with Molly Ringwald (or did he? That’s for you to decide when you play “Fact or Fiction.”)

The Astros ballpark crew — Kirby Kander, Senior Director of Creative Services, Brock Jessel, Director of Ballpark Entertainment, and Joey Graham, Production Coordinator, recently received two Golden Matrix Awards for the 2009 season, including the Best Overall Video Display Award (Best Show in Baseball). This is the fifth consecutive season they’ve won the award, something no other professional sports team has done. Kander, Jessel and Graham also won the Best Interactive In-game Feature for their Guess the Flick segments.

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Here are some images from Monday’s shoot, plus a few from the second full day of pitchers and catchers workouts at Osceola County Stadium:

Moehler, talking about Brett Favre and Molly Ringwald.

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Norris and Fulchino, being prepped on their video segment.

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Fulchino, Mills, Oswalt, Lindstrom.

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Byrdak, Wandy throw side sessions.

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Catchers lined up, catching the side sessions.

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Oswalt throws side session, with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg watching closely.

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Lots of position players showed up to work out, even though they don’t have to official report until Wednesday. Here we have Michael Bourn…

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Hunter Pence…

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Tommy Manzella.

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Photo albums, videos, and you.

“Social media” is a relatively new term, but it’s quickly changing the way companies do business. In sports, social media is opening up all kinds of new avenues for teams to directly communicate with their fans. With Spring Training upon us, there is no better time for Major League Baseball — and more specifically, your Houston Astros — to bring you every nugget of what is going on, through articles, pictures, videos, blogs and Twitter updates.

If you haven’t joined the Astros Facebook page, I invite you to do so. We’re posting daily photo albums from camp in an effort to give you the fly-on-the-wall perspective that is now available with a simple click of the mouse. All blogs, as well as Brian McTaggart’s outstanding mlb.com coverage, can be found there.

We’re also posting daily videos, which live on both the homepage of astros.com and a special video section which you can find here. Those videos are also linked to my Footnotes page, which is a landing page that includes blogs, videos and links to my Twitter account.

So far, we’ve posted a Roy Oswalt interview, two workout videos, a Brad Mills segment and footage from Drayton McLane’s announcement of Ed Wade’s contract extension. You’ll also find archived segments from the Astros’ recent offseason caravans.

Our goal is to bring you close to the action, even if you can’t be there in person. We have a ton of new faces in camp this year, so there’s no better time to start getting to know the new Astros, as well as say hello to old friends.

Enjoy!

Tim Byrdak, Jeff Fulchino

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Roy Oswalt

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Oswalt practices fielding grounders back to the mound. That’s Jose Cruuuuz at first base. 

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Bud Norris, Brian Moehler throw bullpens.

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Felipe Paulino throws a bullpen (with the Astros braintrust watching from behind). 

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Catchers Humberto Quintero and Jason Castro.

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Astros, Bengals, and man-crushes on Nick Lachey.

I attended college at the University of Cincinnati and lived here a total of 6 1/2 years, and for a long time after I moved away, this was definitely where I considered home. I have wonderful memories of my time in the Queen City and, because my family is only an hour away in my original hometown of Dayton, the Reds trips are right at the top of the list in terms of roadies I look forward to every season.

That said, I also understand Cincinnati isn’t the most exciting city in the league, and there’s not a whole lot to do around here, whether you’re killing time during the day before a night game or looking for a place to unwind after. Sure, there are a handful of decent spots, but the list of desirable destinations is more modest than say, Chicago or New York.

So it comes as no surprise that after the Astros arrived to Cincinnati early evening on Sunday, a large chunk of the team headed for Morton’s Steakhouse, located just a hop, skip and a jump from the team hotel. And it’s also not shocking that they weren’t the only high-profile folks there that night, given the few choices for nightlife in downtown Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Bengals were having their own soiree at a nearby table, and in another corner was Cincinnati native Nick Lachey – the former Mr. Jessica Simpson who cut his teeth in the business as part of the boy band 98 Degrees.

I wasn’t there that night, so I can only give an account based on bits and pieces that certain players have provided for me. Two items I found to be fairly reliable: a) an Astros veteran asked one of the Bengals players to bring their bill over to rookie Bud Norris, who didn’t know it was a joke and ended up paying the whole thing; and b) Tim Byrdak was really, really excited to meet Lachey.

Byrdak tried to downplay it, but that didn’t stop select teammates from referring to him as “Tim Lachey” for a solid hour before batting practice on Tuesday.

Byrdak didn’t go overboard in trying to defend himself, but he did retaliate by hiding LaTroy Hawkins’ glove while pitchers slowly made their way to the field for stretching. I’m not sure that was equal pay back to being accused of having a “man crush” on Nick Lachey, but it was pretty entertaining watching a befuddled Hawkins circle the field looking for a glove that was stuffed in the back of Byrdak’s uniform pants.

 

 

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Even though the end result of the game left a lot to be desired, I had a blast hanging out with Brownie and J.D. in the television booth and I hope you enjoyed the tweets and blogs I posted during my time there. I posted some early game shots in one blog; here are some postgame shots to enjoy (and don’t forget, I’ll be in the radio booth Wednesday night):

Brownie makes some last-minute additions to his scorebook just before postgame show begins…

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The two broadcasters have one last off-air chuckle before the cameras start rolling again.

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Here they are talking to studio host Kevin Eschenfelder as the postgame show begins.

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