In my profession, you rate booths by a couple of things. One is how well you can see the field, and that means angles. Even though the booth at Soldier Field is low, the angle is such that I can see everything. You feel like you’re on the field. The other thing is bathroom. You need a bathroom in the booth. There is a bathroom in the booth at Soldier Field. There is no bathroom in the booth in Cincinnati, which requires a 250-300 yard sprint during a commercial break to get it done, sprint back, put on the headset, and not sound like you were running some sort of Olympic race. Bathroom check and vantage point are kind of the criteria I use to rate stadiums. Soldier Field is great [for that]. Also, press box food. Give me a good press box spread and you kind of have my heart.
I’ve been to Houston’s Minute Maid Park over the years. Great pre-game spread. There’s a little bit of something for everyone. I grew up as a fat kid, so there’s something to scratch that itch. Nachos, but also salad. You’ve got variety in that press box. Give me a place where you know you’re going to play, too. When you have a big event—a Game 7 of the World Series or an All-Star Game or whatever—you don’t want weather that turns you into a fake meteorologist. Oh my god, are we going to get this thing in? You’re looking at storm clouds. Give me a place where you know you’re going to play, and that goes a long way.
What’d you think of the booth at Nationals Park? The booth is so high up there.
It’s so high! There’s a couple of them. The old Tampa stadium was notorious for that. Pittsburgh’s PNC Park is extremely high. You’re right, the home of the Nationals, it’s like you’re looking at the tops of helmets running around as opposed to seeing numbers on their jerseys. It’s stuff that the average person wouldn’t care about, but I sure as hell do.
When I say “most memorable game of your career,” what’s the first one that comes to mind?
Game 6, 2011 [World Series], Cardinals-Rangers. The Cardinals were at home, facing elimination. David Freese, the local kid, ties the game with a two-out, two-strike triple in the ninth inning and then wins the game in the 11th with a home run. When I talked to [Cardinals’ manager Tony] La Russa after, I went into his office and said, “Forget that I’m from St. Louis. You can’t find a better game with a team up against elimination.” In typical La Russa fashion, he said, “It only means anything if we win tomorrow.” Alright, I know how you live your life. I shouldn’t have even brought it up! Forget I even said it.
In football, I think it’s those singular moments that take your breath away. It’d probably be Stefon Diggs’ touchdown in the Minneapolis Miracle. Everybody’s gut reaction when he made the catch was to get out of bounds and give the team a chance to win the game with a field goal. Instead he turned around, eyes widening, and there’s nobody there! That was something I’ll never forget.
What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve had with a fan on the road?
I basically got into a fight in a bathroom in Green Bay, because, like every fan base, they think I don’t like the Packers. Oh god. The guy said it on the way out. I was like, “Huh, what? If you want to say it, say it when we’re both in here.” Within minutes, the guy was like, “Oh, I hear you’re actually a good guy and real charitable.” Alright, to think of how this started and now we’re at all good, no problem?