All too often we focus on the nitty-gritty aspects of the game on the field, sabermetrics, prospect reports, roster moves. However, fans understandably take for granted the legwork required to put on a world class fan experience both at home and the ballpark. We hope that through our interviews we can bring more attention to the staff that keeps the show going on a daily basis. Earlier this season, we gave you a brief behind the scenes glimpse with Ralph Kelso, the cameraman who brings baseball to your television screens. This time around. we hone in on the fan experience tied in with your auditory senses as you watch the game. Last week the Arizona Diamondbacks provided edbigghead and myself with exclusive access to a pregame interview with Bobby Freeman.
In the following clip, you’ll see ten minutes of a wonderful chat with Freeman, who is one of the longest-serving residents of Chase Field, having been with the team since its very first Opening Day in 1998. Indeed, he has been involved with Phoenix baseball even longer, having previously worked for the Firebirds. Because he was so easy to interview, what you’re about to watch was only the tip of the iceberg, as we continued chatting outside the filmed section. For example, how his equipment arrived at Chase Field is a fascinating story in its own right. AZKodiak (pictured in the far right of the cover photo) sparked the topic simply by asking him if his instrument is owned by the team or Bobby himself.
Essentially, the Arizona Diamondbacks organization gave him the freedom to go shopping for what he needed. That’s not Earth shattering in it’s own right, he would clearly be the most qualified person with the team to make that decision. However, instead of going out and purchasing equipment brand new in the neighborhood of $100,000, he found his current instrument steeply discounted on eBay. The item was being sold in an estate sale by a family in Florida and had hardly been used, so Freeman received exactly what he was looking for at a bargain price along the way. Perhaps Ed and myself will go that route for equipment for our next interview!
edbigghead: The biggest takeaway I got from this interview was that Bobby loves playing music and rally chants at Chase field for the Arizona Diamondbacks. To him it was not a job, but an experience he shares with the fans each and every game. Bobby was nothing but loyal to the club in each of his answers and stories he gave on and off camera. I never could have imagined the amount of effort, focus, and patience it takes to do what Bobby Freeman does. Just imagine watching 9 innings or more of baseball, all while playing and keeping the rhythm of the game on an organ and keyboard. I look forward to talking with him again.
[Thanks to Katie at the D-backs for facilitating the interview]