Meet Troy Benjamin, the producer behind Yankees video games on YES

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YES producer Troy Benjamin spends each night time telling the story of Yankees video games, however his personal story is a fairly good one. He grew up in Harlem and The Bronx, listening to WFAN, dreaming of working in sports activities.

“I needed to be the black Chris Russo,” stated Benjamin, 49. “That was the dream.”

That modified round 2000 when Benjamin came upon what his good buddy and MSG Community teammate on the time, Invoice Boland, made as an affiliate director.

“I stated, ‘How a lot you receives a commission?’” Benjamin stated. “He stated, ‘$67 per hour.’ I stated, ‘What? I wish to be an AD.’ I simply needed to go on that path.

“I used to be a safety guard at night time, making $10 an hour [he also had an MSG gig as a game highlight logger]. I see $67 an hour, and I used to be like, ‘Yo, I wish to get in that.’ I noticed that cash dangling. , you’re a black child from Harlem, I assumed $20 per hour was some huge cash. I had the bug from then on.”

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge #99 hits a single against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 15, 2022.
While you’re watching Aaron Choose’s exploits on YES Community, Troy Benjamin is the producer weaving the broadcasts collectively.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Submit

For the previous twenty years, Benjamin has been at YES, working his means up, getting observed and studying from the community’s president of manufacturing and programming, John Filippelli, Benjamin’s predecessors within the Yankees producer chair, Kevin Smolen and Boland, in addition to big-time administrators akin to John Moore.

Earlier than final season, Benjamin changed Boland, his good buddy and a mentor, which made it bittersweet. Benjamin is hoping to have a run as lengthy if not longer than Smolen’s and Boland’s, who every had the celebrated gig for a couple of decade. Benjamin has been up for the duty.

For those who watch Yankees video games, the manufacturing doesn’t overwhelm the published, however as an alternative follows and enhances it. One side that actually stands out is how Benjamin, director Dan Barr, affiliate director Luke Miller and graphics coordinator Sean Sullivan are capable of present great outdated video and graphics as soon as Michael Kay and Co. point out one thing from the franchise’s storied historical past. Benjamin has a really feel for the sport, which can be crucial trait for a sport producer.

“He is aware of the issues you may’t educate,” Filippelli stated. “That’s why he’s an awesome producer. These are the issues we’ve seen in him for a very long time.”

Michael Kay stands in the broadcast booth at Yankee Stadium.
Benjamin appreciates the backing of longtime Yankees voice Michael Kay.
AP

There aren’t many black producers working in sports activities media There is no such thing as a official file, however to Benjamin’s data, he’s the one one at present doing MLB video games.

“There’s not a variety of black producers in a variety of sports activities, however positively not baseball,” Benjamin stated. “There may be a variety of pleasure. Hopefully it evokes TV executives to rent extra individuals who appear like me.”

Filippelli’s profession has been an inspiration for Benjamin. Filippelli has taught Benjamin easy methods to put together and easy methods to make the sport about what’s going on, not pre-planned packaging.

“You study from a man like Flip, a man who has a resume that all of us wish to have – World Collection, Saturday Sport of the Week – he’s large into [making sure you focus on the game,]” Benjamin stated.

Benjamin talked about being accepted by the likes of Marv Albert and Ian Eagle, in addition to Kay, as particular to him in his profession, however the spine of his success comes from his work ethic, realized from his mom.

YES Network producer Troy Benjamin as a kid (middle) with his mother, Naomi Carr, and his brother, Eugene Gibbs Jr.
Benjamin as a child along with his brother, Eugene Gibbs Jr., and his mom, Naomi Carr, whom he credit for uplifting him along with her work ethic.
courtesy of Troy Benjamin
YES Network producer Troy Benjamin (right) with his mother, Naomi Carr, and his brother, Eugene Gibbs Jr.
Benjamin (proper) along with his mom and brother
courtesy of Troy Benjamin

Benjamin’s father was not within the image. His mom, Naomi Carr, an immigrant from Antigua, labored two or three jobs at a time, principally as a nurse’s aide in hospitals and in aged care.

“She put me by way of Catholic college [Cardinal Spellman in The Bronx],” stated Benjamin, who has a brother within the army. “She made certain I paid for faculty [at West Virginia]. I noticed her work ethic. West Indian mother and father, they work exhausting. I do know it’s sort of cliché, two, three jobs, however she did it.”

Now Benjamin has one of the crucial coveted jobs in sports activities producing.

“I wish to do that for the remainder of my life,” Benjamin stated. “That is the dream. I simply wish to grasp this and be nice at it.”

Fast Clicks

NBC Sports commentator Jac Collinsworth poses for a photo prior to the 2022 Pro Hall of Fame Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jac Collinsworth’s final title helped him land the job as the brand new play-by-play voice of Notre Dame soccer on NBC.
Getty Photographs

Within the small print of Fox Sports activities’ announcement of its new Big Ten deal, the community stated it can now be on the highway with “Huge Midday Kickoff” each week starting this fall. In different phrases, the competitors with ESPN’s iconic “School GameDay” is on — and transferring to a different stage. It’s important to surprise in 2024 — when ESPN’s SEC deal and the Huge Ten contracts with Fox, CBS and NBC go into full impact — how a lot time “GameDay” will spend at Huge Ten colleges. Fox can have no qualms making its present the lead-in to its prime sport, which many weeks would be the No. 1 Huge Ten contest of the week. Will “GameDay” go to Huge Ten nation when it owns the SEC? Perhaps as a one-off to say it’s a journalistic endeavor, however is that in the perfect curiosity of its enterprise? Anyway, new generations develop up with new traditions. “GameDay” goes to be “GameDay,” however “Huge Midday Kickoff,” which already has made some inroads, could possibly take an even bigger piece of the pie. … On Friday, Fox Sports activities had an old-school “Friday information dump,” asserting that City Meyer is again on Huge Midday. Meyer, who failed controversially in the NFL, was good on the air his first time round with Fox. … NBC will want announcers for its new Huge Ten primetime video games. If Fox hadn’t already signed Jason Benetti, NBC would have doubtless gone after him for the Huge Ten. It has beloved Benetti on its Sunday morning MLB broadcasts on Peacock. It’s nonetheless a head scratcher that ESPN didn’t proceed to advertise Benetti and allowed him to stroll out the door. … This brings us to NBC promoting Jac Collinsworth to Notre Dame’s play-by-player. Rising up as a son or daughter of a big-name broadcaster has benefits – some seen, some not. One optimistic is a baby of a broadcaster, as Jac was with Cris, will get to see how the mother or father labored on the craft and develops a greater understanding of what goes into the job than somebody whose mother or father bought insurance coverage. It additionally will help you get within the door. However that is the road I all the time use about somebody akin to Joe Buck, who’s having a legendary profession. His dad, Jack, was a Corridor of Fame broadcaster. That will get you an internship, not the possibility to name the World Collection for almost 1 / 4 century. Jac, now 27 years outdated and the TV voice of Notre Dame soccer, must be good. We’ve seen when it has labored out, akin to with Buck and Kenny Albert, nevertheless it doesn’t all the time. Is Jac prepared for the big-time spot? It’s not a certain factor, from what I’ve heard. The flip aspect to having your profession pushed alongside by a household title and connections is that this: You higher be good if you end up younger. Rising up in a broadcasting household is usually a springboard in your profession or it may well sink it. …

Dawn Staley, Sarah Kustok and Michael Grady pose for a photo before the WNBA Commissioner's Cup Game on July 26, 2022.
Michael Grady (proper, with Daybreak Staley, left, and Sarah Kustok) was employed because the Minnesota Timberwolves’ new play-by-player after working within the YES Community pipeline.
NBAE by way of Getty Photographs

Michael Grady is transferring from sideline reporter on YES’ Nets broadcasts to be the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves. This continues the completely wonderful run by YES in populating the NBA with prime play-by-players and analysts. Grady was the No. 3 play-by-player at YES behind possibly the energetic finest basketball sport caller in Ian Eagle and one other prime nationwide man, Ryan Ruocco. YES has Sarah Kustok and Richard Jefferson as sport analysts. Kustok has finished nationwide stuff, and Jefferson has made an influence at ESPN. Within the studio, Frank Isola is a nationwide voice along with his ESPN work and his SiriusXM NBA present with Brian Scalabrine. The analysts whom YES has made into nationally worthy embody Mark Jackson, who failed at – was failed by? – ESPN, went to YES after which returned to ESPN to grow to be a mainstay on the NBA Finals’ prime broadcast crew. Greg Anthony made his mark at YES earlier than turning into a lead sport analyst on the Ultimate 4. Different former YES voices embody Michelle Beadle, Donny Marshall and Jim Spanarkle. Now Grady has earned his promotion. So why has YES had a lot success in creating broadcasters? It begins with hiring effectively, which begins with Filippelli, the president of manufacturing and programming. It then will get into improvement, which is the place the nice status of Nets producer Frank DiGraci is vital. Grady has earned this new perch by calling Liberty video games through the NBA offseason after which coming off the sidelines to sub in for Eagle and Ruocco. These two set a excessive bar, however whenever you listened to Grady, you would hear an NBA-level play-by-player. … Huge week and massive spending for CBS. The community not solely picked up the Huge Ten for round $350 million per yr to succeed the SEC 3:30 p.m. Saturday window, however they retained the rights to the Champions League, the largest membership soccer match on this planet, rising their outlay from round $100 million per yr to $250 million per. Amazon got here in second for Champions League. UEFA nonetheless plans to promote the Spanish language rights to the occasion.

Who’s the best participant/analyst ever?

Charles Barkley smokes a cigar during the pro-am round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, NJ., Thursday, July 28, 2022.
Charles Barkley is unmatched in his mixture of taking part in and broadcasting success.
AP

In gentle of the latest information of Charles Barkley spurning LIV Golf, I used to be fascinated with who’s the perfect combo of an analyst and participant of all time. It may develop right into a full piece sooner or later. That is the unofficial listing I got here up with:

1. Barkley
2. Michael Strahan
3. Terry Bradshaw
4. Frank Gifford
5. Troy Aikman
6. John McEnroe
7. Tim McCarver
8. Johnny Miller
9. Doug Collins
10. Chris Evert

Others who might be thought of: Merlin Olsen, Phil Simms, Invoice Walton, Shaquille O’Neal, John Smoltz and Howie Lengthy. If coaches have been counted, John Madden could be included, however would lose to Barkley. Barkley is essentially the most entertaining sports activities studio analyst ever and was named to NBA’s listing of the highest 75 gamers of all time.

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