01 October 2016

All the highlights and reaction from crazy MLS game

In the second of a three-games-in-four-days stretch, I got an awesome game to call Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.

With only three games remaining before the playoffs, the New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union played a back-and-forth game with a playoff-like atmosphere. Although it was marred by a scary head injury to a promising young Philadelphia player, Josh Yaro, the rest of the game was edge-of-your seat stuff.

Unfortunately, in my case, it was also Jon-on-the-verge-of-losing-his-voice stuff. All the big plays and the goals, coupled with the energy of the crowd, had me doing a lot of yelling. Hopefully it sounded good, but I was definitely a little hoarse by the postgame show. Hoping for a quick turnaround for Sunday's ESPNU broadcast in West Virginia.

At any rate, here are the highlights from an intense night:

And here's how Shep and I broke it down on the MSG postgame show:

25 September 2016

Arkansas en fuego - postgame from SEC Network

Arkansas has been one of the stories of the year in NCAA women's soccer, beating two top-5 teams and traditional powers (Duke, Florida) and reaching 11-1 overall, 4-0 in SEC play with Sunday's 2-1 win over Ole Miss.

Having called Arkansas games in Fayetteville each of the last two years, and having scouted them extensively while trying to figure out their wide variety of formations, I've been watching this team closely, and it was fun to see them in person on Sunday.

Here's how Cat Whitehill and I discussed takeaways following Sunday's game:

18 September 2016

Postgame recap from Kentucky-Alabama

I watch a ton of video early in the college soccer season to prepare for games throughot the fall, and this weekend was the first time I got to put into action in 2016.

After calling Princeton's 2-1 win over Boston University on the men's side Friday night, I flew to Lexington, Kentucky for my first game of the year on the SEC Network on Sunday. I started calling SEC games two years ago when the network launched, and so I've really enjoyed keeping track of the league and its players in preparation for games.

On Sunday, Kentucky and Alabama finished in a 1-1 tie, but there were so many scoring chances throughout the game that we were really glued to the action. My partner was Jill Loyden, who I worked with on Philadelphia Union games last year, and it was great to welcome her to SEC coverage and see how impressed she was by Kentucky's facilities.

Here's how we recapped the game afterward:

21 August 2016

Video: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls call on ESPN

On Sunday, I finally got to call a game with ESPN's lead soccer analyst, Taylor Twellman. He's given me a lot of support and encouragement in my career, but somehow, every time I've gotten an ESPN assignment, Taylor has managed to be somewhere else!

After a crazy night of travel from his last game in New York, he made it down to D.C., where I had flown Saturday morning, and we were able to call Sunday's D.C. United-NewYork Red Bulls game together.

Here's how we broke it down afterward:

Here's how it looked / sounded as it happened:

20 August 2016

Flashback to THAT Alex Dixon goal call: WOOHOO!

Five years ago today, my most famous (infamous??) play-by-play call. Deadspin theatrically headlined it "goal causes announcer to orgasm on air."

Well, no, but it's certainly one of the most fun moments I've had the pleasure to call. The original YouTube clip is a great quick hit, but to really appreciate why I lost it and just how completely I lost it, take 5 minutes and watch/listen to the whole thing:

This was a local radio broadcast, I had been covering Dixon since he was a high school junior, and even though it was only August, it felt like the Dynamo HAD to win the game (at the time, they had not won a road game all year, and they only had three home games left).

Ultimately, the additional two points in the standings meant Houston got home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, helping the Dynamo reach that year's MLS Cup final in a playoff run that was a great end to my full-time tenure with the club.

This call is a bit of a lightning rod: People either absolutely love it or can barely hide their disgust. As somebody who can't stand homer announcers, I understand some of those issues. If I could do it again, would I add the 'hoo' to my original plan of a loud 'woo' to punctuate the call? Probably not. Even as a club employee, I don't find it kosher to openly cheer on the air.

But the joy of a last-minute winner, when I had basically given up on Houston winning the game, is what I, and anybody with Dynamo sympathies, was feeling at that moment. With approximately 99% of my listeners in Houston, I'll always be proud that my reaction brought so much energy, emotion, passion … and fun!

Happy five years to Dix and everybody from that Dynamo team; this always brings a slightly embarrassed smile to my face.

13 August 2016

Working on a new (virtual) reality

Courtesy NextVR
I really didn't know what to expect, but last Wednesday night was seriously different.

Less than 72 hours after first hearing about the broadcast, less than 48 after being confirmed to work on it, I showed up at MetLife Stadium to provide play-by-play for NextVR's virtual reality broadcast of the International Champions Cup game between two giants of world soccer, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

I didn't have a lot of expectations, but the few I did have were nowhere close to reality. Read on to hear about the experience.


25 July 2016

Highlights from KC-Seattle game on ESPN

I had a busy weekend in Kansas City, taking in three soccer games (USWNT, USL, MLS) and preparing for Sunday's ESPN broadcast, then having my flight cancelled and stayin an extra night.

The biggest part of the weekend, of course, was Sunday's broadcast, in which Sporting Kansas City crushed the Seattle Sounders 3-0, outshooting them 19-1 in the process. Got to call some pretty good goals in the process, too! Check out the highlights:

26 June 2016

Soccer Sunday on ESPN highlights

Had the chance to call Portland-Houston on ESPN2 on Sunday night, and in front of the always great Providence Park crowd, we had a wide-open game, a dramatic comeback, and a decisive disputed call. Check it out:

09 April 2016

More MSG highlights

I called my third (and last, for now) Red Bulls game for MSG on Saturday night, and while it wasn't a night the home fans are going to want to remember, it was a very entertaining game. There were a lot of scoring chances at each end, including 22 shots by the Red Bulls, one of which was a saved penalty kick.

We're fortunate enough to get great access to and insight from coaches around the league. When calling a Red Bulls game, announcers always get time with the head coach, Jesse Marsch, and in our case, we got to sit down with him (and assistant Chris Armas) while they were watching some of the other MLS games:

A photo posted by Jason Baum (@jasonbaumpr) on

I've really enjoyed getting the chance to work with Shep Messing over the last couple of years -- it's crazy to think about the experiences he's had in the game and fun to bounce questions off of him -- and I had to grab a selfie before we went on the air tonight.

Once we got to the game itself, Sporting Kansas City won 2-0, and here's how it looked and sounded on our show:

19 March 2016

Wow! Red Bulls come back for thrilling 4-3 win in MLS play

It may not always have been the prettiest game, but there was no arguing with the quality of the entertainment or the final two goals in a wildly entertaining MLS game that I got to call on Saturday night.

With the two MLS teams I know best going head-to-head, it was a special night for my first actually televised game at Red Bull Arena. I had done MSG broadcasts of road games, and I had called the Red Bulls on internet video streams, internet radio, and old-school radio, but never out-and-out TV. What a treat!

(Side note: I also realized this was my 200th MLS game seen in person - 183 regular season, 17 playoffs. Not bad!)

Besides the seven goals and some of the close calls, there was the additional storyline of the Red Bulls losing three players during the game with hamstring injuries, all while trying to get their first win of the season. Houston set an MLS record for most goals scored in the first three games of the season (11), but still blew a pair of second-half leads!

An incredible night, and Shep Messing, Tina Cervasio, and I had a great time calling the game. Here's the quick version: