Monday, February 05, 2007

Exclusive interview with Mike Lindskog

(Mike Lindskog is a broadcaster for the Springfield Cardinals and I had the chance to interview him towards the end of last week.)

Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbirds Fun today. How is life out in Springfield?
Mike Lindskog: Things are pretty cold right now…it’s tough to believe the season is so close. The community recently went through a tough experience with the ice storm. We were lucky to only lose a few trees without any significant damage to Hammons Field…certainly much luckier than others around town who suffered a lot.

DS: How long have you been in sports broadcasting and what factored into your decision to pursue sports broadcasting as a career?
ML: The 2007 season will be my 15th in Minor League Baseball. Not all of those years were spent on the radio though, as I started by doing some PA announcing and On-field Hosting. I’ve been in broadcasting for about ten years now…it made a lot of sense, with my love for sports and hopefully a good personality and a lot of energy.

DS: Who were some of your favorite announcers growing up?
ML: I didn’t grow up in the Midwest, so my memories of Jack Buck are from the National baseball and football games that he did, rather than St. Louis Cardinals’ games. Being a Mariners fan in the Pacific Northwest, I very much admired Dave Neihouse, who is their play-by-play voice.

DS: Do you use phrases that were coined by others or do you prefer to use original ones?
ML: Everything that I use on the radio is my own…now that doesn’t mean I didn’t get the line from a song or a movie, but I am definitely not taking Sports Center quotes from Stewart Scott and making them my own. When I first broke in, I definitely had more phrases than I do now, but there comes a point where you have to grow as a broadcaster and I think leaving some (phrases) behind is necessary.

DS: What's a day in the life of a sports broadcaster like?
ML: For me, it’s incredibly busy. While some guys just show up to the park an hour or two before they go on air, I get to the ballpark around 8:30am every morning for all of our home games. I usually wrap it up around 11pm every night after the game is over with a post-game press release. The majority of the day is spent printing and organizing stats for the media, writing web content and putting together press releases. I also manage our website and have some ticket and marketing responsibilities as well. Things are a little easier on the road when I travel with the team, as I’m not at the ballpark so early.

DS: Has there ever been a time, while calling a game, that you got into the game or do you try and remain professional?
ML: I’m “into” every single game that we play during the year. One of the things I bring every night is a lot of energy…perhaps some would say too much at times. Experience has helped me remain professional during an obvious bad call or brawl on the field, but every game that I broadcast has intensity and is hopefully a lot of fun to listen to, regardless of the score.

DS: How is the team looking for this season--or are the rosters unknown until we get closer to spring training?
ML: At this point we don’t have a definitive roster until late March. I have a good idea of who will be back but there are some question marks in the outfield and in the rotation. It’ll depend on how guys do during Spring Training. The most talked-about prospect that will play in Springfield this year is Center Fielder Colby Rasmus, who’s a former 1st round draft pick. He will be here at some point in 2007, despite the fact that he’s only 20 years old, which is very young for the Texas League.

DS: What does the broadcast team tend to do during rain delays?
ML: We’ve done a variety of different things. We have the ability to take phone calls and pretty much have a talk show segment. If it’s a long one, we can also allow the station to continue with regular programming, which would typically be Fox Sports Radio.

DS: Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. Were you able to attend any of the games?
ML: I think every boy’s dream growing up is to be able to take his dad to the World Series. My dad was actually going to fly in from Washington State so we could drive to KC and watch the Chiefs/Seahawks game. We were lucky enough to secure some Cardinals tickets at the last moment and we ended up driving to St. Louis and watching them clinch the World Series on Friday night. It was something I’ll never forget!

DS: Of players currently playing right now, who do you think will be voted into the HOF on the first vote?
ML: First ballot hall of famer….Before all the steroid talk, Barry Bonds would have been the most obvious choice. I’m curious as to what the writers will do as that situation continues to develop though. Barring any major injuries, Albert Pujols will be a lock for the first ballot. There are actually several Cardinals I expect to get in, but I’m not sure who’ll be first-ballot worthy and who will need some help. Rolen, Edmonds and Carpenter all have a chance and I’d honestly be surprised if at least two of those three don’t make it eventually.

DS: Thanks again for joining Redbirds Fun and go Cards!
ML: We hope to see everyone at Hammons Field this year…and indeed….Go Cards!

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