Rounding the bases with Jay Randolph

Monday, January 26, 2009
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
St. Louis Cardinals announcer Jay Randolph is marking his 50th year in broadcasting.

Q: What is it like calling Cardinal games?

A: It's a real joy to be back and bring Cardinal games to the viewers from the broadcast booth. So much tradition is with Cardinals baseball. Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal.

Q: How has the economy affected the team?

A: It's affected everyone. Our season ticket sales are good. One reason is because people have an opportunity to buy All-Star tickets. The game is coming to St. Louis this year.

But normal ticket sales are down a bit. And party rooms are down as well. A lot of people don't have the money to throw out there, and they're waiting to see what kind of team we'll have.

People are more reluctant to spend their entertainment dollars. That's a fact of life today. They don't have as much money to spend as they did two years ago.

Payrolls for teams are also less for some of the teams such as the Yankees. They normally spend a lot of money. Everyone is hunkering down a bit. The Cardinals have always been financially responsible. Our new station was paid for with money generated by the ownership. It's admirable that they paid for it and sometimes people forget that.

Q: It's commonplace in baseball to have a debate over big-market teams having an edge over small-market teams. But the small-market teams have a history of doing well in the postseason, with the most recent being the Tampa Bay Rays who made it all the way to the World Series. What's your opinion about small-market teams winning in the postseason?

A: It can be done. Just look at Tampa Bay. Even after the Yankees spent all that money, the better team in the division won. But to win, a small-market team has to be very fiscally responsible with their money because they don't have as much of it to throw around as some of the teams that spend a lot of cash for free agents. Just because you're a small-market team doesn't mean you can't compete. You may have to work harder but it can be done. Just look at the Florida Marlins, who won a World Series just four years after the franchise began. It is possible.

Q: What has changed in the broadcasting field since your first game?

A: Cable TV is the biggest change. There are so many games available. When I started we'd call about 20 games a year for the Cardinals. They were all away games. Now nearly every game is on TV and viewers have a lot of choices on a lot of channels. And equipment and technology has advanced dramatically as well. But the game itself has not changed except for specialists in the pitching staff. We used to have just starters and relievers but now have different kinds of set-up men.

Certainly baseball in our area is still king. It's still the American pastime. The game is still played on the field much like it has been for years, with some modifications along the way. I just love watching it unfold because each game is exciting and different in its own way.

Q: How much do sponsorships play in the game?

A: When I started we didn't have many of the types of advertising that exist today, such as message boards throughout the stadium and naming rights for the stadiums. But it's all a part of marketing now. Local sponsorship has been used to sell a product that helps us put a quality product on the field.

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