Live streaming video with play by play is a hit with World Series fans around the globe

Thanks to the efforts of long-time volunteer Jim Gerick, people around the world can view the Junior League World Series and hear game broadcasts at no cost.

Gerick provides streaming video coverage of every game with play by play at the website www.justin.tv/jlws2012.  It’s the only authorized form of live video broadcasting during the week leading up to Saturday championship game, which will be televised live on ESPN2 and www.ESPN3.com at 11 a.m.

Gerick said he felt it was important to fill a need for people from other parts of the United States and in other countries who can’t be in Taylor, but want to keep track of the games.

The reaction has been strong. Hundreds tune in daily for game broadcasts. The count is already in the tens of thousands and Gerick expects the amount of viewers to multiply for the USA championship game.

“Our audience is primarily the families, friends and other people who can’t make the trip here but want to follow the team,” he said. “I wanted to be helpful to the hometown cities of the players and coaches who are playing here.”

Gerick has one webcam mounted on top of his laptop, which is positioned behind home plate at a window on the second floor of the World Series press box. The view is the same throughout the game and the play-by-play man and analyst wear headsets and provide a description of what is taking place on the field.

Like Gerick, his team of broadcasters are volunteers as well. Besides Gerick, they include Ted Fournier, Phil Henry, Daryl McFee, Dave Sokoll, Phil Bzura, Bob Bracci and an occasional special guest throughout the week.

Gerick lets visitors get involved by announcing the starting lineup for their team. It’s usually a parent who knows the correct pronunciations of the players’ names and is another tie to the fans back home.

Time permitting, the broadcasters invite members of the teams to talk about the game after it’s over.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said fellow Taylor native Sokoll, one of the announcers, “and it’s free for people to see all over the United States and the world."

And there’s a bonus feature: people who tune in to the games can get involved with interactive chat with the announcers and each other. They must register with Justin.tv to participate in the chat.

Gerick’s involvement with the World Series started in the beginning in 1981 when his father Andy became the official scorer for the inaugural World Series. Andy Gerick is credited with being the only person to view every pitch of the World Series prior to his death in 2008.

Gerick and other children of the original volunteers of the World Series originally did “grunt work” when the series started 32 years ago. Gerick also helped Wayne Cable (now Comcast) prepare graphics when the company broadcast World Series games to local cable television subscribers.

He soon became part of the scorekeeping team that now includes his whole family, including brothers Steve and Ron and Ron’s wife Darlene. When Jim is not on the air broadcasting games on his website, he’s usually keeping the official scorebook of the game.

A few years ago, Gerick discovered Justin.tv, which is a streaming site that allows individuals to have their own channels. He was instantly hooked and began experimenting by podcasting a variety of sporting events. A three-sport athlete back in the day at Taylor’s John F. Kennedy High School, Gerick is a sports fan and enjoys describing the action.

The Junior League World Series has provided a variety of audio and video options for home spectators in the past, but Little League International had no contract with a company this year, so Gerick stepped up and offered www.justin.tv/jlws2012.

At the end of the week, he will be part of the ESPN2 crew, providing statistics for the championship game. In the meantime, he wants to provide a service to fans of the World Series.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I think it’s good to give something to people who can’t make it – especially our English-speaking audience. This is a live play-by-play feed. It’s more Internet radio than a true TV broadcast, but we hope people enjoy it as much as we enjoy bringing the games to them.”

-- Dave Gorgon

Some of the volunteers who broadcast the World Series games around the world are Daryl McFee (left), Ted Fournier,
Phil Henry and Jim Gerick, who established the streaming video system for the World Series. A fifth member of the
team, Dave Sokoll, took the photo.