Baseball’s operations manual for the 2020 season is very specific about how games can be broadcast. For each game up, up to 40 broadcast personnel can work inside the stadium and another 15 can work in a broadcast truck nearby.
The YES Network, which televises Yankees games, normally has about 25 people working in its broadcast truck during home games. Its fewer employees inside the stadium will also have to be farther from the field. Meredith Marakovits, the Yankees clubhouse reporter, will be in the second deck of the stadium, and some of the cameras in the lower deck will be robotic.
John Filippelli, the head of production and programming for the YES Network, said that in many ways, broadcasts would be more difficult. “The whole idea is to depopulate the lower level of the stadium,” he said.
The biggest challenge might be putting on a full road broadcast. While regional sports networks don’t have nearly as many workers on-site for road games — they take a number of feeds from the home broadcast — they typically hire local freelancers, like Sweeney, just for a series to customize a broadcast.
When Aaron Judge hits a home run on the road in, say, Washington, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is likely to show Nationals fans the dejected pitcher who gave it up, or a dismayed teammate. But the YES Network would show Judge celebrating. Some camera feeds, like the ones from behind home plate or in center field, would be shared, but each network would have a number of its own cameras for its respective game directors to call upon.
“Every director wants to have the ability to cut his own show with as many sources as he is used to,” said Francis O’Hern, co-director of broadcasting at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union that represents many production staff members. According to M.L.B.’s operations manual, the away network will get to control only two cameras.
“When you are the home team, you command 10 cameras,” Filippelli said. “That’s why those two cameras are so critical, so you are not just mirroring” what the home feed puts out.