Broadcasting Baseball: Going, Going, and Here to Stay

Lukas Stutz, Guest Writer

In 2001, Athens Academy became the first highschool in America to present a live broadcast of a football game. As the Spartans took on Greater Atlanta Christian, history was made, and changed what was thought to be possible at a highschool. Now, the media production program is making advances everyday, and is far ahead of many other schools in the state, and even in the country. Three years ago, a handful of students expanded the media program with their broadcast of Athens Academy baseball games. 


In the spring of their freshman year, Thomas Collins and Ian Walker were responsible for thinking up a new project for their AMP class. After some thought, they decided they would broadcast one of the Spartan’s baseball games. Planned to be a one time event, the new announcers were surprised when it turned out to be a huge hit. Now, as juniors, Thomas and Ian have broadcasted almost every baseball game since.


“In the beginning, we had just one camera to film the game and one to film the clock. And then two announcers, but that’s really all we had”, Walker explained to me. While this was a great way to entertain the viewers that couldn’t make it to the game, it wasn’t quite at the level they were looking for. “At the end of last year, we started working on getting a center field camera so we could have a college-level production. We got it, [but] it was a total pain in the butt to get up”, said Thomas. It may seem pretty casual, but to reach the production level that they wanted, it was no easy task. 

To give some insight into the work to simply set up the camera, Thomas included, “there’s about 800 feet of cabling, which we had to lay with help from Mr. Raymond and there was a lot of complicated internet stuff because you’re really not supposed to have that much cabling. Then there is a 30 foot tall tripod that holds a really nice camera so we can get the center field shot.” Collins also added; “We’re actually the only school that we know of in the state that has that level of shot. If you ask me, I think it’s about as good as when you watch a Georgia baseball game.” 

Not only did it take a great effort to do the physical work of setting this up, but there was a ton of work that went on before they could make it happen. Between research of their own, and Mr. Callinan’s teaching, they learned how to use the technology needed, and even construct their own ethernet cables in order to make it possible. 


Now, pretty much all they have to do is show up to the games and talk baseball. Thomas explains that “At this point, now that we’ve already gotten everything built and the ideas are made, we just show up after school, set up the camera in center field, then we’re good to go. I mean, I guess a good bit goes into it because we got to be paying attention to the game and switching the shots at the right time… but it’s a great time.”

 It seems that Walker and Collins have been able to build a great relationship through the production of these webcasts. Of course, when you work really hard at something with a like-minded individual, you are bound to build a special bond.

 Even more than that, they explained that they simply just have a lot of fun together in the booth. “[My favorite part] is the comradery in the booth. We have a really good time up there. Some of the games are real long and we will just be up there cracking jokes on air… just messing around”, Walker told me. They also let me know that it’s not rare for Walker’s mom to bring them pizza, which is another one of their favorite components of the webcast. 


Athens Academy is known for its innovation in all aspects of learning, and much of this innovation is led by the students. In this situation, Walker and Collins generated an idea and made it happen beyond expectations, inspiring many generations of Spartans to come.