Phillies game producers eyeing creative ways to engage fans

Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes a selfie with a fan (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes a selfie with a fan (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Possibility of Mic’d-Up Players

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Could another way to keep fans engaged this season is to have players mic’d up? Halikman did not rule out the possibility, but said he thinks there will come a time where it is a more regular part of the broadcast.

“I think it would be a good thing. I think any time fans have access to something that they can never participate in, I think it’s great,” he said. “Whether we talk to a manager during a game on the headset, whether we interview a pitcher who is like three minutes from leaving a game and had just pitched great … or, if it’s a player being mic’d and we are playing back stuff.”

One thing that having mic’d up players or coaches would provide, Halikman noted, would be interactions between people that one would not expect, such as a coach talking to an umpire before the game.

“You get a back-and-forth that you never hear when you’re sitting in the stand, press box, or at home,” Halikman said. “They know these guys; they’ve seen these umpires hundreds and hundreds of times.”

“You don’t see the friendship like we see sometimes when we’re on the field before a game, when coaches come up to former players and stuff. That’s the kind of interaction that you really get, sometimes even before the game starts.”

While the concept of having mic’d up players has several pros, there are some cons that come with it as well. For Halikman, the main focus is making sure players feel comfortable and that something is not said that should not be said.

“I know it seems easy to say, ‘These guys make millions of dollars. Who cares? They can wear a mic and we just take out the stuff that they say that’s inappropriate,'” Halikman said. “Well, you want them to be natural. You want to hear them say what they want.”

“You put a mic on me, and I walked around all day, I would know a mic’s on me, so it would make you a little bit cautious. It wouldn’t make it yourself.”

Nonetheless, Halikman thinks it can definitely happen if they find a player who is comfortable doing it; perhaps, not during current times, however. He also said that while it takes a lot of work, it’s not a hard thing to do.

“It does take a lot of people because you’ve got to have people make sure that everyone’s listening to what’s being said, because you don’t want to play something bad,” Halikman noted. “You can’t go live with it, for obvious reasons. But, you can’t play something back that you wouldn’t want the player to want to say. Sometimes people say things they don’t mean to say.”

“A lot of people are on the edge when you do it, whether it’s the team, the PR department, the player … everybody’s a little worried for obvious reasons,” he added. “You don’t want something to be said that shouldn’t be said.”