Step Up To The Mic

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 9, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I love to watch the coverage on Breeders’ Cup Day. They have some great behind the scenes coverage, and you get to know more about some of the analysts and folks that broadcast the action.

It was on ABC, and they were talking in detail about Rick Reilly announcing a race. He was to get some lessons from one of the best in the business. When Trevor Denman gives you directions, you have to really work to mess it up…

Rick took the camera into the inner sanctum, where Trevor showed the public a glimpse of what he does daily. It was at this time he said, “I will be leaving, and there will be an announcement this week about his replacement.” I was taken aback, and made a call. They told me he was going to call in Australia for a spell….I kinda’ had mixed feelings, and didn’t know what to believe. But how can you ditch one of the best callers in the world?

Any-who… Rick was going to call the race. He had a few days to prepare, and was given private lessons by one of the best in the business. It was in this segment that made me think of a time when I called races.

Well, my intro was, “can you call the races?” I never even knew how to turn on the switch… I made my way up to the crow’s nest, and strapped on the headset. I agree with Rick Reilly. It was the hardest job in the world… He called one race, and I called for about 45 days. Both were tough.

The funniest thing when you call races is how the horses actually move. Calling 1-3 is easy, but when you start going back to the 8th – 12th place, things get a little hairy…. They actually move. The one was in the lead, and now it is the 3… The 2 was in second but has dropped back to fifth.. It is scary, but it is the most fun I have ever had while sweating profusely and balancing the binoculars..

I had a great time. I don’t think I was that good, and the public was kind enough to cut me some slack while we were looking for a professional caller. The best part is when friends in radio or TV would come up to see me and ask to call a race. I would always agree, because I knew they wanted to try like I did… We tried this about 7 times, and everyone made me sound like I knew what I was doing… But, I do have a friend who practiced ahead of time and did a bang up job…

So, Rick… I know what you meant. The next time some Joe-Blow cries about the call of the race, he should be taken immediately to the booth.. I think many people would have a different view.. Since my short time at the mic, I have a new found respect for callers. If you are in doubt, give them a call… Maybe they will let you call a race, and you can see just how easy it really is to call ten moving animals a half a mile away….For fun, our announcer calls me when we have a three horse field, when a race comes off of the turf. I have a blast, and and he laughs until he doubles over.. All in good fun, and watching today took me back to my days in the booth…