Hear World Series games on www.cityoftaylor.com/listen

August 4, 2006

Next weekend, baseball fans around the world will be able to tune in to hear free live Internet broadcasts of the Junior League World Series at Heritage Park in Taylor.

A partnership between World Series organizers and the city of Taylor and the sponsorship of National City Bank has led to the debut of streaming audio of select games of the weeklong international tournament, which takes place August 13-19.

Volunteer announcers will call play by play from the press box of World Series Field. The feed will go into the City Hall datacenter and be broadcast live on www.cityoftaylor.com/listen.

Snehal Patel, director of the city’s Information Technology Department, said visitors to the web site only need to click on a provided link. If a game is scheduled to be broadcast, there will be a brief introduction and the game will be joined in progress.

Computer owners will need Internet access and a media player such as Windows Media Player, Real Player or iTunes.

Mauricio Gomes of the Information Technology Department said the broadcast is sent over digital lines and processed in real time to prepare the audio for transmission over the Internet.

“Once the audio has been processed, our systems will forward the audio to distribution systems in Ashburn, Virginia, and Paris, France, in order to provide low-latency connections for visitors from both sides of the world,” Gomes said. “Users will then be able to tune into the broadcast with any major audio player that they have installed on their computers and will only experience a 20- to 30-second delay between what they hear and what is happening on the field.”

Greg Bzura, director of the World Series and a current Taylor councilman, called the broadcasts an important step for the 26-year-old international event.

“It’s continued progress for us,” Bzura said. “It’s also helping those who for whatever reason cannot come to see the games in person. Now they can be part of it.”

From time to time, the World Series has been broadcast over the radio by phone lines, but only to select markets and cities. Those have been commercial ventures in which advertising was sold. Announcers from the Latin America teams broadcast many games to their hometown listeners.

As for the new streaming audio system, Bzura said the plan calls for doing “as many games as we have volunteers.” Several have signed up, including Taylor resident Herb Mentzer.

Jay Strassner, who has announced countless local games on Comcast cable television, broadcasts for GITV on Grosse Ile and was a freelance sports writer for the former Mellus Newspapers, is one of the volunteer announcers. He plans to call games at 2:45 and 8:15 p.m. August 13, the USA championship game on at 8 p.m. August 18 and the world championship game at 8 p.m. August 19.

“I tell you what, it’s going to be really good for those people with the shirttails out,” said Strassner, a former Ecorse councilman and current chairman of that city’s Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Authority.

“When you have a team from California, mom and dad are going to come with the brothers and sisters and maybe one set of grandparents. You’ve got all of the other aunts and uncles and cousins and older grandparents who can’t travel back home. They will be able to log on and experience the game first hand instead of getting a phone call later about what junior did or didn’t do. It’s going to make the game real for these people and make the tournament real. It’s going to make them a part of it.”

Strassner, who has broadcast World Series games for Comcast in the past, said he is looking forward to the experience.

“I think this is great,” said Strassner, who works for Bloomfield-based RDA Group, market research firm. “The Junior League World Series is fabulous. It’s a great thing for Downriver and great for the city of Taylor.”