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Off-day Amusements

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Went down to Fox Sports AZ, as they had invited Mrs. SnakePit and I to try out for the fan-centred promos they're running to promote the Diamondbacks coverage this year. We didn't need to be asked twice, so pausing only to ensure we were appropriately-caffeinated, we whizzed down to the FSAZ offices in the Arizona Center, which at that hour in the morning, was almost completely deserted. If we'd encountered a posse of mindless zombies shambling around the corner, we'd not have been surprised: but there were absolutely no Yankees fans to be seen.

The other group present for this session were a mother, father and what felt like about seventeen kids - but it was probably only about six, just moving around in that energetic way only kids do. The kids were swept in first, while we signed the necessary waivers, to allow FSAZ the full right to exploit our image however they wanted. Having failed miserably to exploit our own image, we'll wish them good luck with that. We got to chat a bit with Brett Hansen, their Director of Communications and Marketing - he's a native of Wyoming, so we traded stories of climactic shock on moving to Arizona.

We also quizzed him on the HD broadcast schedule, and are pleased to report they'll be shooting for all the games to be broadcast in high-definition this year. The problem is mostly getting the necessary technology - in particular the HD trucks - when on the road. Last year, other Fox Sports affiliates may or may not have had the truck, or not had it available on the day, leading to a number of road games only being available in standard definition. That's anticipated to be less of an issue in 2009, with the supply of technology having caught up with the demand. Bit of a double-edged sword: the better the coverage of the game gets, the less reason to go to the park...

The children having been duly scanned and assimilated, it was our turn. I'd some idea of what to expect, having seen FSAZ in action at the park during the FanFest last month, but it's still kinda weird. The entire back wall of the room was a fairly lurid green, this allows them to chromakey out the background and replace it with whatever they want, or simply float our image in a corner of the screen as needed [I looked up why green replaced blue as the color of choice: it's "because image sensors in cameras are most sensitive to green. Therefore the green camera channel contains the least "noise" and can produce the cleanest key/matte/mask. Additionally, less light is needed to illuminate green because of the higher sensitivity to green in the image sensors." Never say this site isn't educational.]

They also gave us blank signs to hold, which I noticed had dots on each corner - presumably to act as markers and aid the process of replacing it with whatever text they wanted to make appear on our sign. We joked that we were now at their mercy in this, since they could make us say absolutely anything they wanted. But if it ever turns out to be "I ♥ the Yankees," let me make it clear that I will hunt down those responsible and get seriously Jack Bauer on their asses. I trust I am clear... Anyway, it was now time for Mrs. SnakePit and I to get seriously animated. Thanks heavens for caffeine, because it was a little hard at first, to turn on the enthusiasm in a windowless room, holding a blank sign and standing in front of a wall colored a thoroughly artificial shade of key-lime pie.

However, as we got into it, and I abandoned my British reserve, it became easier; we were whooping it up, high-fiving each other and generally making complete fools of ourselves. There was no audio, which was probably a thoroughly-good thing, given the bizarre nonsense we were spouting - if they do use us, anyone who can lip-read is going to be in for a good laugh. It was remarkably cathartic, however; even if not used [and as they've got close to a hundred candidates so far, I'm not expecting anything], it was like primal-scream therapy of a sporting kind. As Chris and I walked back to the car, she said something to the effect of "No matter what happens, our life always seems to be interesting." Definitely hard to argue with her there.

The above is a bit of an experiment. We've partnered up with KTAR-620: they'll be using some of our articles for the D-backs page on their site, and in exchange, we'll be getting post-game audio their reporters we can use here. The above is s test; it seems to work in IE and Firefox, but if anyone out there is on a Mac, curious to know if it works, or if anyone else has problems with it, It's some snippets from Brandon Webb after his start yesterday in Tucson, in which he talks about the outing, not being too bothered about the results, and seeing O-Dawg in Dodger Blue for the first time. This could be a very informative collaboration, as they will have much more stuff recorded than they can actually use on their show: we don't have to worry about running-time here.

Another Diamondbacks preview is up, this one hails from Philadelphia and the Philly Sports Post. They're not quite as impressed with our off-season moves as I was in my section... And there was a good article in the Republic on El Presidente Hall: seems ""We have the most affordable average ticket price in baseball." Who knew? :-) The Giants preview (vaguely) promised for tonight has also been held up till tomorrow: having gone in late, I didn't get out of work until 7:30 and we then had dinner as Los Dos Molinos on 10th and Washington. Not bad, and the salsa was satisfyingly lethal, to the point that I'm dreading what tomorrow morning will bring. If you see a glow in the sky, that will probably be coming from my sphincter. And with that, to bed!