Press Box Junkies
Ever wonder who decides if a play was ruled a hit or an error at a ‘Riders game? Or how the stats are displayed on the video board at Dr Pepper Ballpark? Those nightly happenings, plus a whole lot more, are controlled by the best Press Box crew in the Texas League. Allow us to introduce you to Michael, Billy, Tom, and Lary.
Years with ‘Riders: 7
RoughRider Position: Dak Stats Operator (and the team’s official “Director of Statistical Research”).
Michael inputs all of the in-game stats in the computer you see over his left shoulder. From there they’re displayed on the video board in Dr Pepper Ballpark. He a also publishes this fantastic ‘Riders website.
Real-life Job: Studying Business at Richland College
Favorite Press Box Moment: Steve Murphy’s 38th home run to pass Kevin Richardson as the all-time home run hitter. Murphy finished with 41 in his career with Frisco.
Funniest RoughRider story: “During a Sunday day game two-years ago, an intern was keeping stats with us in the Press Box. A routine fly ball was hit to right field and was caught when the intern screamed, ‘get off me ball!’ thinking it was a home run. Needless to say it was the most startling pop fly to right I’ve ever experienced.”
Favorite All-Time RoughRider: Blake Beavan, for his consistency and overall effectiveness while in Frisco.
Years with ‘Riders: 5
RoughRider position: Scoreboard Operator
Billy makes sure that the scoreboard at Dr Pepper Ballpark correctly displays how many balls, strikes, runs, hits, errors, etc. every night. If he didn’t, the crowd would have a hard time keeping up with the game.
Billy is also one of our backup Official Scorers and Gameday Stringers.
Real-life Job: Billy works in a doctor’s office in Administration while also studying Sports Business. In his spare time (what little he has), Billy is a U-9 (Under age 9) girls Soccer coach in Anna, Texas.
Favorite Press Box Moment: Opening Day each season.
Funniest RoughRider story: “Not any one specific, I really just think the daily antics are funny enough as it is. I enjoy this job because of the friends and good people I work with and the healthy baseball environment that comes with it. Sure makes the sixty-plus mile roundtrip worth it!”
Favorite All-Time RoughRider: Tony Roth. “I’m a huge underdog fan, and that guy was a true representation of an underdog.”
Years with ‘Riders: 8
RoughRider position: Gameday Stringer
Tom controls the MiLB Gameday application that allows fans to keep up with the game at home pitch-by-pitch. He inputs every pitch, hit, error, mound visit, ejection … everything. If it happens in the game, Tom inputs it into the computer.
The information that is recorded is then used to generate the box score shared with the players, coaches, and media.
Occupation: High school teacher and football coach in the Colony. Taught and coached for 32 years, including baseball for 25 years.
“I came to Dr Pepper Ballpark to work the grounds crew, but was assigned to this position. Who knows where I’d be had the grounds crew thing worked out. This is enjoyable, it fills my ‘baseball void’ now that I don’t coach it.”
Favorite RoughRider moment: Neftali Feliz’s debut relief outing. “He threw three pitches, 100 mph…101 mph…102 mph. Kid didn’t look like he weighed 135 lbs. soaking wet.”
Tom also enjoyed this season’s RoughRider, Leonys Martin. “After seeing his first in-game swing, I said, ‘Fastest bat speed to ever come through here.’”
Funniest Press Box moment: “The A/C beads story.” Apparently, a former intern here in Frisco, who will go unnamed, had a deep Boston accent and was very gullible. “We all had him convinced that ‘A/C beads’ would shoot out of the vents once the calcium build up became too much.
The intern ended up over in Arlington at some point and would call the guys to report that A/C beads were at the Ballpark in Arlington as well.
Favorite RoughRider: Craig Gentry. “That guy has worked for where he is today and has to continue to work to stay there. I respect guys like him for their work ethic.”
Years with ‘Riders: 6
RoughRider position: Official Scorekeeper
As the official scorekeeper, Lary has the ultimate say on what’s an error, hit, wild pitch, passed ball, etc. It’s a hard job to have and involves a tremendous amount of judgement and baseball IQ.
Real-life Occupation: Freelance sports writer for all levels of athletics. “I will write until I have a enough to retire.”
Favorite RoughRider moment: “I enjoy watching players and projecting them from Double-A players to big leaguers. I enjoy the maturation process. Watching guys like Elvis Andrus, Hunter Pence, Neftali Feliz, and Derek Holland.”
Funniest RoughRider story: “Oh it has to be the stories Tom tells from his coaching days.
Favorite RoughRider: Derek Holland
Hope you enjoyed this look behind the scenes of the ‘Riders Press Box. We couldn’t function without the help of these great guys. We’re so grateful for all the time they’ve put in over the years. Hopefully one of them can fix those A/C beads someday …
- Reid Copeland