Player microphones, even a bullpen phone, will be in the submix
This year’s MLB All-Star Game is a showcase for the best talent in the league and their newest faces. Viewers will see action from newbies like Blue Jay’s first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., and Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. But there’s another new kid in town: Joel Groeblinghoff, which has submixed effects for baseball to ESPN and other sports, including the XFL, will be submixing its first MLB All-Star game for Fox Sports.
“I’m the new guy in this game,” he says. “I’ve mixed a lot of baseball, including the World Series, but there’s something really special about the All-Star Game. It’s the best of the best.”
Groeblinghoff picks up the submix trains Bob Miwho has partnered with for the past 20 years A1 Joe Carpenter on the midseason classic and retired this year.
Groeblinghoff comes into play like a savior in the fourth inning, despite looking at microphones on walls instead of men on the base: PCC transducers mounted on the outside walls on the edge of Coors Field in Denver (this year’s game after the MLB Commissioner pulled it out of Atlanta after Georgia passed tough new voter suppression laws). He will also work with a dense microphone plot of at least 14 transducers around the bases and over the infield apron to the edge of the grass, along with microphones in the bases themselves. Four manned parabolic microphones will also be installed on the sidelines and in foul territory .
“Bob had a lot of sound sources in front of him,” says Groeblinghoff. “I will fill his shoes as best I can.”
He will also be working from another location. Qua mixed up from the broadcast booth in the stadium, and Groeblinghoff will be in the Encore C-unit from Game Creek, much closer to Carpenter in the B-unit of the same truck. However, like Qua, Groeblinghoff will use a Calrec Brio console, while Carpenter will control a Calrec Apollo for the main mix.
But Groeblinghoff will have his own new sources to work with tonight: including more player microphones than the six used in the past, some equipped with IFBs to allow conversation between players and speakers. Most notable this year might be the bullpen phone that Carpenter says the league gave him permission to tap.
“We’ve been trying to get this for the past 10 years,” Carpenter says happily, adding that a microphone is needed next to the speaker on the Bullpen’s phone line to listen as the managers prepare the assistants and their coaches to get out of traffic jams.
Another new trick that is still waiting for the green light is the recording of the player interviews by field reporter Ken Rosenthal in the stadium sound system.
“We’ve been trying to add more entertainment styles to the audio mix for years,” jokes Carpenter, “that turns the stadium into a big TV.”
Groeblinghoff is both a fan of the game and a technician. “Understandably, not many guys run into the walls in the All-Star Game,” he emphasizes, “but you get a lot of great hits and pitches and fields. I look forward to it.”