“It’s Not The Most Comforting Time To Be In This Ballpark”: Sports Broadcasters React To Experiencing the Virginia Earthquake

  • Timothy Burke

Tuesday afternoon’s earthquake in Virginia left its impact from the entire Eastern seaboard and deep into the midwest. Both nationally-televised sports events — the Mariners-Indians game in Cleveland and the Little League World Series matchup between Rhode Island and the Netherlands — were in the zone affected by the quake. Here’s how the radio and television broadcasters reacted when the earth shook.

Here’s video of all five broadcasts, starting with the MLB game. Analysis can be found at the bottom.

ROOT SPORTS TVDave Sims and Mike Blowers

KIRO RADIORick Rizzs and Dave Henderson

STO TVAl Pawlowski and Rick Manning

WTAM RADIOTom Hamilton and Mike Hegan

Little League World Series on ESPN2 with Karl Ravech and Nomar Garciaparra:

Despite being in Williamsport, PA — considerably closer to the quake’s epicenter — neither Ravech nor Garciaparra make any reference to the tremors until after a commercial break (edited out of the video). This is made even more baffling by how violently the camera is shaking without reference or explanation from the ESPN2 broadcasters.

Meanwhile, as might be expected, the Mariners’ broadcast teams both recognized the shaking as an earthquake earlier and responded to it more rationally than the Indians’ announcers. The May 2, 1996 Earthquake Game between the same teams in Seattle featured Hamilton behind the mic, as he worked as the Indians’ radio analyst to the late Herb Score’s play-by-play then.

Either way, the unlikelihood of earthquakes striking either Pennsylvania or Cleveland would strike even the most seasoned broadcaster with a case of lost words; we especially commend Rick Rizzs for the line of the day, tying in the nearby Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Edit: Fixed Ken Wilson to Henderson.

Follow Timothy on Twitter at @bubbaprog.