It was the spring of 2011, and flowers were blooming! The Pittsburgh Pirates baseball season was getting under way, and the team's television network, known since the beginning of the century as Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh or FSN Pittsburgh, was now going to call itself Root Sports. All the graphics had to be changed.
(In 2017, the name would change again, to AT&T SportsNet.)
The following Wednesday afternoon, April 6, 2011, the Pirates were in St. Louis to conclude their season-opening road trip with a game against the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, many of the local Pittsburgh technicians had already arrived at PNC Park, which would be the venue for Thursday's home opener. I was there, and so was our home truck, the mobile unit we'd be using that season for PNC Park telecasts.
The occasion was our annual Set Day an opportunity to deploy cameras and microphones to confirm that the stadium's connecting cables were still there and functional after six months of inactivity. If there were problems, we wanted to fix them before the director and producer arrived the next morning.
Although the video and audio crews' setup required only a few hours, I had to spend most of the day moving computer files around on the Duet graphics machine. My coordinator Jason Steele was in St. Louis, of course, but I had been wrangling Duet files for Pirates telecasts since 2004 and I knew what needed to be done.
A few days before Set Day, I had visited Gina Weiss at the local Root Sports office to get a package of animations she had received from Root's headquarters in Denver.
When I plugged the Brick into a USB port, the Duet identified it as the F: drive. I prepared to move its data onto two of the machine's internal hard drives, known as I: and J: respectively.
We would be accessing data from other folders on the Brick. After modifiying that data, there was a chance we might want to recover the Brick's original version, but the Brick would not be hooked up on game day. Therefore my next step was to save nine of those folders to a temporary folder I named I:\BlackBrick. I began at 11:03.
Then, beginning at 12:21, I copied other data from the temporary I:\BlackBrick folders to its proper destination, either in I:\FSN_MLB_HD or in J:\FSN_MLB. That's where we'd find it during the next day's telecast of Rockies at Pirates.
Once I got Messages & Sponsors started at 12:41, I joined the rest of the crew for lunch. On the restaurant TV, we watched Chris Carpenter's first pitch in St. Louis. Then, back at the truck, I copied the contents of the other six folders beginning at 2:10; that required only seven additional minutes.
With over four hours of copying complete, it was now installation time!
Rosters and other information would be accessed by a proprietary Fox Sports plugin, version 4.19.1, which I tried to install inside the Lyric 6.5_3 program. But it didn't show up in Build 1256. I then tried another Build which would be 1246. The plugin was finally located in Build 1240. I decided this must be the version of Lyric that I ought to be using, so I made a note.
At 2:29 I launched the NVIDIA program, which would mirror my computer's canvas and display it on another monitor in front of the producer and director. They might want to know what I was working on.
At 2:35 I used the plugin to download the current Pittsburgh and Colorado rosters (names and numbers and positions and such) prepared by our graphics people in Los Angeles (where they were still employed by Fox).
And at 2:45, I could finally start inspecting the graphics pages, called messages, which we would be using during the next day's telecast!
Along the way, I made note of only one glitch. When I called up message 26, an element from Bar_Final called TEXTName was hiding the qualifier on my computer screen. Also, I didn't see a proper preview of the animation, but it did run properly.
Obviously the Sports Graphics stats would not yet have been updated to reflect the results of Wednesday's games, but at 3:55 I tried using the SGL Loader anyway. I failed to log on. The next day I'd learn that the username should be rootsteele with a password of rootjason.
There were four other F: files I'd skipped that morning, mostly outdated non-720p backgrounds. There was an outside chance we might need them anyway, but it was time to unplug the F: drive, so I saved these to I:\BlackBrick starting at 4:17.
to J 4x3
Then I clicked on safely remove hardware and eject media at 4:55, allowing me to unplug the Brick. When Jason showed up the next morning, he would plug in his portable hard drive with stuff from St. Louis.