PREP FOOTBALL SCORING UPDATES PRESENTED BY THE HUNGRY HOBO:

Listen to this kid; he's that good


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Posted Online: May 28, 2013, 8:47 pm
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By John Marx, jmarx@qconline.com

ESPN's Dan Shulman had better watch out.

The great Al Michaels? He better be on alert.

The legendary Bob Costas?Make room, boys.

Zach Mackey has the best set of radio and television pipes to come down the pike in years. High praise for someone 17, I know. But the young man is that good.Big-time good.

Recently, the Geneseo High School senior-to-be got a taste of what major league broadcasting is about, shadowing ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball team of Shulman, Orel Hershisher and John Kruk.

Mackey, a football player at Geneseo, contacted Shulman. Ever gracious, the veteran play-by-play announcer offered Mackey, and his parents, a glimpse into the production ins-and-outs of a major league baseball game.

It left quite an impression on Mackey, who does prep sports for his high school radio and TV stations, as well as Geneseo's cable-access station. He also does wrestling play-by-play and color for MC22 Sports (Mediacom).

"Mr. Shulman could not have been any nicer,'' Mackey said. "He responded to my email, set up the game for us (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the Chicago White Sox) and shared with me his game preparation. There is so much that goes into making a broadcast come to life, but he was prepared.''

In the TV booth, Mackey met Hershiser, a winner of 204 big-league games, and Kruk, a great hitter during his career and one of the game's true characters.

"Orel Hershiser came right over, introduced himself and shook my hand,'' Mackey said. "He was kind and gracious. Kruk was also exceptionally nice and really funny. He cusses like a sailor off the air.''

The trio allowed Mackey to stand off to the side of their pregame open, sit in on their production meeting and stay in the TV booth as they worked. The time and effort were not lost on the talented youngster.

"There isn't much glamor to it,'' Mackey said. "They are professionals and they are prepared. They work in a small, cramped space against the elements. It was really cold that night. I was also amazed at how many people it takes to bring the game to life. I was also taken with how calm and collected the guys were during everything. They were always ready.''

The experience whet Mackey's broadcast appetite for more. He is looking at mass communications programs at Indiana University and the University of Missouri. He also knows if he stays close to home, the radio and television program at St. Ambrose University is top-notch.

"There are challenges at all three,'' he said. "You really can't go wrong wherever, because it's about the work you put in.''

And about that hard work -- Mackey says Shulman left him with some great advice.

"He said if I want to work, good things can happen, but you have to work and separate yourself because there are so many people in the business,'' Mackey said. "If you think you're not gonna work, get out now. It's not just sitting around and talking sports. There's a lot of really detailed work and preparation that goes into it.''

Don't be surprised to someday turn on your television and see Zach Mackey sitting where Shulman, Michaels or Costas sit.

He's that good.





Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or jmarx@qconline.com.
















 




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  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.






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