Jim Hayes will spend about half the Cardinals' season at the desk inside the FOX Sports Midwest Studio.
ST. LOUIS — With its array of eating, drinking and watching establishments, Ballpark Village is sure to enhance the experience of going to a Cardinals game for all who visit.
(As of Thursday night at 9, you can visit, too. It officially opens for business.)
But you won’t have to travel downtown to feel some of the fun coming from inside the long-awaited entertainment center. You will be able to get a feel for the ambience just by sitting in front of your television and tuning into the "Cardinals Live" pregame and postgame shows.
As part of its major presence at Ballpark Village, FOX Sports Midwest is setting up shop in the new state-of-the-art FOX Sports Midwest Studio, which looks directly into Busch Stadium. FOX Sports Midwest will air its pregame and postgame shows for every Cardinals game the network carries — 150 in all — starting on Opening Day. The debut show from the new studio is set for a one-hour special at 2 p.m. Monday before the Cardinals open at Cincinnati.
You will notice plenty of differences in the look of the shows besides the Busch backdrop. High-tech lighting options, larger replay monitors and more camera angles all will add to the viewing experience.
FOX Sports Midwest will use six cameras for the shows, including three located outside the studio. Two cameras will show crowd shots from inside FOX Sports Midwest Live!, the restaurant/bar that features one of the largest screens you will see outside of a movie theater.
A third camera, located on the roof of Ballpark Village, will give TV viewers a number of new and different perspectives. It can hone in on everything from the downtown skyline to crowds outside Busch Stadium to a tight shot of Adam Wainwright dancing in the Cardinals’ dugout. The camera will be used during Cardinals telecasts as well as in the pregame and postgame shows.
Another new feature viewers will notice is the 110 inches worth of side monitors located on each side of the set. These will be used not only for larger-than-life still shots of your favorite Cardinals, but also to air video in ways rarely before seen. Think Wainwright pitching to Yadier Molina in larger-than-life monitors set up on opposite sides of the set.
Jim Hayes with a monitor inside the studio.
The talent for this season returns intact, with Pat Parris and Jim Hayes splitting the host duties. Parris will be in studio for the first series while Hayes reports from Cincinnati.
Either Rick Horton or Al Hrabosky will provide studio analysis for 80-plus games, while Jim Edmonds, Andy Benes and Jason Isringhausen will split duties for the other games.
Ballpark Village visitors will be able to catch glimpses of the announcers while the show is airing. If they want to then watch the show, they can turn around and there it will be on the 40-foot TV screen.
You can’t do that at home, of course, but you’ll still be able to see more than you’ve seen before on FOX Sports Midwest.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.