Fireworks. Food. If you're lucky, a victory. You'll find all this at a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. Though while you're watching the action, a small army works to make fans feel at home—even when the team's record makes spectators a bit uncomfortable.
RedEye recently was granted exclusive access to see what goes on behind the scenes while the players are on center stage.
Head executive chef Olegario Soto
With the spread Soto cooks up every game, chances are your mouth would be drooling for a sample of everything.
Soto oversees every dish displayed for consumption. From meat hand cut in Galena to handpicked vegetables prepared in multiple oils, the Sox strive to have something for everyone.
Assuring everything's up to snuff can make for a really, really long day.
"I arrive at the ballpark at 8 a.m. and leave around 10:30 [p.m.], about the time the game is over," Soto said. "New meat arrives every day, and it takes quite a bit of time to cook and cut it. Some meat can take up to 16 hours to cook."
Technical director Rocco Fusco
If you're wondering what NASA looks like, the Sox's scoreboard room will give you a pretty good idea. The space is covered wall to wall with cameras showing almost every angle of the ballpark. They can even see you eat nachos or sip on a soda—not in a Big Brother way, though.
Every camera has a button that controls it on a video board. Visiting with Fusco before a recent game, everything was calm. But once the first pitch was delivered, the atmosphere flipped in a heartbeat, as he became the assistant producer, listening to what cameras to switch and what button to hit.
However, much of Fusco's work takes place before the game starts. You know all those video montages? Well …
"A minute video spot takes about a week to produce and edit, and then the easy part is playing it back onto the scoreboard," he said.
Public address announcer Gene Honda
One Sox voice is recognizable throughout the stadium. Gene Honda has been with the Sox for years and has a certain pace for each game. In front of him is a binder with all his reads along with a headset and a microphone connected to not only the speakers in the stadium, but to the producers in the scoreboard room.
It's Honda's job to introduce each player, which means becoming acclimated to some fairly unusual names.
"There's a rhythm with tough names to pronounce; you just have to get it through it," he said. "After doing it for so many years you get used to the pronunciation and just have a certain flow that follows it."
Honda also is the PA announcer for the Blackhawks, and he has to keep his sports straight, of course.
"When I start calling out hockey names during baseball games or vice versa, I think it's time to retire then," he said jokingly.
Official scorekeeper Bob Rosenberg
There isn't much equipment when you see the official scorekeeper's area. Bob Rosenberg has his official scorebook, a phone and a microphone to apprise people of his decisions.