Fox Sports San Diego has a new home and invited a few select people to take a “hard hat tour” of the new studio today. So SDPads1 of RJ’s Fro and I took them up on their offer. Because we very rarely pass up free stuff (Sorry, Ray, but it’s true).

Executive Producer for Fox Sports San Diego, Jeff Byle, led the tour for a few advertisers and a couple of guys who “write…on the internet”* from Gaslamp Ball, Chicken Friars and LobShots, along with yours truly.

*Credit to Tom Garfinkel for introducing us to Josh Byrnes with that at the awards banquet last month, coining our new catchphrase at the same time. All rights reserved. Don’t try to steal it. Left Coast Bias is a lawyer.

FSSD gutted the old Cox Channel 4 studio and started over from scratch. I wasn’t sure if I could take pictures of the studio itself, so I decided to err on the side of caution and didn’t take any. But I can describe it pretty well.

Well, then! Get on with it!

If you recall how Cox Channel 4 had their studio set up, you may remember that they used the view of the ballpark from outside the window as a backdrop during the pre- and post-game shows. FSSD is not going to use it that way anymore. Now, the backdrop will be interchangeable between a couple of photos of the ballpark — one daytime & one nighttime — and a couple of panoramic shots of San Diego for non-Padres broadcasts, like SDSU Aztecs basketball.

What happened to the window?

It’s still there. They have set up a small stage and will do interviews with the ballpark in the background from what I can only assume will be comfy chairs, as there was nothing there yet. They have also set up a small artificial turf carpeted area that can be rolled up when not in use. That area will be used for demonstrations, sort of like the wiffle ball field was during last season.

So, they aren’t going to use the wiffle ball field anymore? So we get the Tony Gwynn statue back?

Not so fast there, Sparky. Patience. I’m getting to that.

The plan is to only use the studio for road games. Mike Pomeranz and Mark Sweeney will no longer be traveling with the team on road trips, for the most part. Which, after Jeff explained it a little more, makes sense. Number one advantage of this is it reduces travel costs. Two less plane tickets. Two less hotel rooms (Assuming they weren’t sharing a hotel room last season, I mean). Two less mouths to feed in the press box (Personally, I think Mark “Mudcat” Grant was the driving force behind this. More soft serve fro-yo for him on the road. That would be some kinda nice…).

However, Pomeranz and Sweeney will still be active during the games. They showed us the “Man Cave,” a room off the main production room with six flat screen TVs that will be hooked up to the broadcast. So, if something exciting happens, Sweeney or Pomeranz can chime in and provide extra analysis to complement Mudcat’s. This is also where that turf area I mentioned earlier will come into play occasionally. They will be able to record a short 30-second demo of a particular play from Sweeney’s hitter’s point of view. Again, to complement Mudcat’s pitcher’s point of view.

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But what about the statue, you long-winded jerk!?

Okay, okay, I’m getting to that.

For home games, the Park at the Park stage will be back, in the same spot. Same exact plan as last season. During fireworks promo nights, the pre- and post-game shows will be out in the Western Metal Supply Company building in left field. So Tony Gwynn‘s statue is still going to be partially off-limits during home games. I did bring this up with Jeff later in the afternoon. He explained that they want to keep the pre- and post-game shows fan accessible, and moving them up into the studio defeats the purpose of that. He admitted that he would like to move the stage, but there’s really nowhere else to move it that has the same effect as the top of that hill, right next to Tony. Sorry to break it to you.

One more thing. Henry Ford, the Senior VP/General Manager of Fox Sports San Diego, had the quote of the day describing the new studio:

“It’s bad ass! You can quote me on that.”

All in all it was a great day at Fox and I look forward to what they have in store for the 2013 season!

For pictures and another recap of the tour, check out Wonko’s post over at Gaslamp Ball.


Follow @GhostofRAK on Twitter, where The Ghost spends his time in Hamburger Hell hyping the Shamrock Shake and hacking into Burger King’s account. Allegedly. You watch your ass, Taco Bell…

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