Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to head down to the FOX Sports San Diego studios and check out their preparations for All-Star week. With the eyes of the nation turning to our beautiful city, the folks at FSSD have a full plate with increased coverage as well as playing host to national networks FOX Sports 1 and "Big FOX" (that's right, I'm speaking industry slang now). Along with changes and accommodations being made in the preexisting studios, a temporary set has been erected next to the batter's eye.
Upon arriving, I was first taken to the main studio in which most of the on-air action generally takes place. At the time, the Xtra 1360 FOX Sports San Diego simulcast was broadcasting. When I entered, Mark Loretta was at the desk with Dave and Jeff, discussing his two All-Star appearances as a player, the team's recent spending spree on international players, and the busy weekend he has in front of him - he'll be appearing at FanFest on Saturday, then serving as Trevor Hoffman's bench coach for the United States team in the Futures Game on Sunday. After Loretta, Steve Garvey went on and discussed, among other things, his All-Star history and the now-concluded three-day All-Star Legends Series chats that he was hosting at Sycuan Casino with Goose Gossage, Dave Winfield, and Reggie Jackson.
One neat touch was that the studio had been rearranged for All-Star Week and the upcoming events. Instead of the familiar setup of the desk in front of a backdrop on a wall, it has been moved directly in front of the window directly overlooking Petco Park. It will remain that way over the weekend as well as the beginning of the week when the personalities from three of FOX Sports 1's daily programs will make it their home away from home. The network's flagship highlight show, FOX Sports Live, will air from there on Monday and Tuesday with hosts Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole. Noted takesmith Colin Cowherd will also be in-studio with both his eponymous radio/TV simulcast The Herd with Colin Cowherd, as well as Speak For Yourself, on which he is joined by the equally polarizing Jason Whitlock for an hour of takes hotter than East County in August.
After watching a bit of Garvey's segment and discussing some of the information above about the studio, as well as engaging in the inevitable awe-filled discussion of Tony Gwynn in hushed tones that is bound to happen when two Padres fans stand next to one another for any amount of time, my very friendly and informative host led me right down to check out the set that was constructed especially for the All-Star Game.
It was put up over the previous night, and some workers were still taking care of the final touches. Although it was built specifically for FOX's national broadcast of the main event on Tuesday, the regional network got to christen it. If you watched last night's win over the Dodgers or the Padres Live pre- and postgame shows, you saw Mark Sweeney and Mike Pomeranz utilizing it. It will continue to be used for Padres Live throughout this entire road series in Los Angeles.
Special one-hour postgame show at the All-Star set tonight. Join us! ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/DWnftn0xlW— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) July 8, 2016
Another feature which was added for the All-Star Game but put to use by the Padres beforehand was a pair of dirt cams. You saw these in use if you tuned in to the television broadcast during the Yankees series over this past weekend. If you didn't, opting instead to view the games in person and/or listen to the radio call, you may have seen screen caps on Twitter.
In addition to the new features listed above, FOX Sports San Diego has a full slate of All-Star Game-related programming leading up to the game on Tuesday. Over the past two nights they debuted two original shows, Spotlight: All-Star Memories and Spotlight: San Diego's All-Star History, which will re-air at least once a day each before the Midsummer Classic. They will also be rebroadcasting the 1992 and 1994 All-Star Games a few times apiece.
While it's not specifically related to the All-Star Game itself, 19 Memories is another piece of FSSD original programming that will be re-airing a good bit in the near future. In the hour-long show, the great Tony Gwynn is remembered by teammates, family members, and others. I wasn't able to catch the debut on Tuesday night because I was at Sycuan for the event with Steve Garvey and Goose Gossage, and I didn't get a chance to see the reruns Wednesday or Thursday because, you know, sometimes life gets in the way, but everyone I know who watched it thought it was incredible. I plan on watching it by myself since everyone also says it's quite the tearjerker.
It was neat to take a look at all the hard work and extra effort that has gone into things I don't generally put much thought into the nuts and bolts of. Sometimes I can have a tendency to take things for granted, such as having a slew of new shows about baseball to watch, or viewing a major event go off without a hitch. Seeing people go all-out to make these things go smoothly makes me step back and have some gratitude, and that's always a good thing.