GJ Rockies go big time with Internet streaming

Club, Colorado Mesa teaming up to broadcast home games this summer

Kelly Parkhurst has been in front of the cameras as a soccer player at Colorado Mesa University.

The recent graduate is now moving to the production booth of professional baseball.

Parkhurst and Kevin Strong-Holte will direct and produce Internet streaming of all home Grand Junction Rockies baseball games this summer, a partnership with the Rookie affiliate of the Colorado Rockies and Colorado Mesa University.

The club and university announced the partnership Monday, something that’s been in the works since the first of the year. In less than two weeks, they’ll be live from Suplizio Field when the GJ Rockies open on June 20.

“It’s totally awesome,” Parkhurst said. “It’s a great opportunity. I just graduated a few weeks ago, so this is my last big thing I have going on. I honestly don’t know where I could have found an opportunity like this for what I want to do in sports broadcasting. It’s a great place to start and I think it’ll be awesome.”

A dozen student interns will work on the Internet streaming, which will be simulcast with the GJ Rockies radio broadcast on 92.3-FM.

Ten students will rotate among four camera angles, and the group will also produce a postgame highlight video from each home game that will be posted on the club’s website, gjrockies.com.

The broadcast internship is the second between the university and the Rockies — six interns from the sports management program are working for the Rockies.

Dan Flenniken, an associate professor, and Greg Mikolai, an instructor in the mass communications department, have worked with the Rockies and the students on the logistics of the project, which is part of Minor League Baseball’s subscription package.

“We’ll be using a lot of the same techniques and camera shots and production elements that you would see in a big-league game,” Mikolai said.

“This is like a teaching hospital. The students will come in and they’re going to be taking this over very soon in the process. Dan and I will step back and it will be up to Kelly and Kevin to run and produce this. They’re going to be the ones on the ground and the ones who deserve the credit.”

The broadcasts will have four camera angles: center field, home plate, the first-base mezzanine and field level behind the third-base dugout.

The university had most of the equipment necessary already through the Mobile 1 video studio equipment used during home athletic events that are streamed throughout the year, but they did need to buy some things, Flenniken said, including 1,000 feet of audio cable to be able to communicate with the camera operator in center field.

The infrascructure is already in place, thanks to the JUCO World Series, which had state-of-the-art wiring installed when the tower was built and spent another $21,000 this year to increase Internet streaming capabilities. The tournament has been streamed the past three years through the NJCAA. JUCO also bought the portable lift that will be used for the Rockies’ center field camera, another $18,000, said Jamie Hamilton, the tournament chairman.

At Suplizio Field, one television in the concession area will be tuned to the GJ game, with the other showing the Colorado Rockies game, GJ Rockies General Manager Tim Ray said. It will be the same setup in the hospitality suite.

The MiLB.TV subscription is $9.95 per month, $39.99 for the entire season, and includes all 66 minor league teams that offer online streaming video. Grand Junction, Orem and Idaho Falls will be streaming Pioneer League games this summer.

All 30 Triple A franchises have the service, 21 of 30 Double A teams and various lower-level teams, Ray said. The subscription should be particularly enticing to parents of the players, who can watch more than half of their sons’ games this summer.

“The (Pioneer) league hopes next year all eight teams will have home video streaming, so that way we will be able to offer all our fans (the ability) to watch the Grand Junction Rockies at home or away,” Ray said. “This is where technology is heading.”

Rockies’ roster in flux

The GJ roster will be in flux over the next couple of weeks because of the draft being conducted later and short-season Class A starting its season earlier. A dozen former GJ Rockies are on the initial roster for the Tri-City Dust Devils, but, Ray said, some could end up being assigned to Grand Junction, depending on how many recently drafted players are assigned to Rookie ball. Six pitchers, Jayson Aquino, Johendi Jiminan, Jordan Mejia, Anthony Seise, Shawn Stuart and Ryan Warner, are on the Tri-City roster.

Catcher Wilfredo Rodriguez, infielders Cesar Galvez, Ashley Graeter and Ben Waldrip and outfielders Jeff Popick and Carl Thomore are also starting at Tri-City.

Players will report to Grand Junction starting Wednesday and have their first workout on Friday. The club has an exhibition game against the Greeley Greys at 6 p.m. on June 18 at Suplizio Field and open the season June 20 at home.

Pitcher Zach Jemiola, hurt much of last summer, first baseman Correlle Prime and outfielder Ryan Garvey, who missed much of the second half last summer with a hand injury, have not been assigned a team, and will likely begin the season in Grand Junction.


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