Bill Webb, a 28-year veteran of baseball broadcasting, directs more than 120 games for the Mets’ SNY network and 30-plus games for Fox Sports each year.
What are you looking for in the crowd?
I look for something amusing. You can’t lose with kids’ shots, especially if they’re eating ice cream or cotton candy, cute stuff that announcers could play off. I recently put on-air a father with twins on each knee. Clever, catchy signs help, too—the more personal the better. THIS IS MY FIRST GAME AT SHEA, or something. LET’S GO BRAVES—who cares about that?
Which cameras cover the crowd?
For the primary crowd shots—Camera 3, which is high first base, and Camera 6, which is high third. At Shea Stadium, they’re at mezzanine level. From those cameras, you can shoot anyplace in the stadium.
Besides slow games, when do you favor crowd shots?
A day game is better—at night, I can’t shoot in the back of the mezzanine because it’s too dark.
Is there anything you specifically try to avoid?
I look to see if the person is well dressed. You don’t want any language that would embarrass the network—“Yankees suck,” you don’t want that. I try to shy away from drunks. Be presentable.
Do really “presentable” women have a better chance?
Once upon a time, they did, but it’s basically not done anymore. Just to pinpoint a good-looking lady, that’s too politically incorrect, I guess.
What about the guys with painted faces jumping up and down and waving?
That scares me a little bit.