What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Jon Miller?
2010 Ford C. Frick award winner, enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Longtime beloved voice of the San Francisco Giants? National broadcaster for 20 years with ESPN? Author of some of the most memorable radio and TV calls in the history of baseball? A nice, funny man who you wish was your grandpa because damn, wouldn’t it be cool if Miller was your grandpa? (Sorry, grandpa!)
How about social media? When you think of Miller do you think of his connection to social media?
No? Well, think again!
Last month, after some nudging from his kids, the 63-year-old announcer joined Instagram. If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram, it’s somewhat similar to Twitter and Facebook in that you can follow and be followed by other users, but the primary function is to post photos and short videos.
As baseball broadcasters go these days, I can confidently say without checking that 95% of them aren’t on Twitter or Instagram, and even the ones who are probably don’t use their accounts much. Lucky for us (Giants fans), we are #blessed with one of the coolest, most engaging local broadcast teams in all of sports.
One of Miller’s most valuable assets as a broadcaster has always been his willingness to adapt with the times. While I’m sure Dave Flemming wouldn’t hesitate to give Miller a great deal of credit for mentoring him as a broadcaster, it’s safe to say Miller has learned a thing or two from his younger partner as well. To Miller’s credit, he’s found a way to incorporate some of the new school tools and technology — such as PITCHF/x, Sabermetrics, and the venerable Home Run Tracker™ — with the traditional techniques and broadcasting styles he gleaned from greats of the past such as Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons, with a great deal of success.
This is a man who has spent an entire career portraying baseball to the masses, and doing it in a way that is as creative, informing, and entertaining as just about anyone else who has ever done it! This is why, to the surprise of absolutely no one, Miller’s foray into the world of Instagram has been a smashing success.
So let’s take a quick trip around Jon’s Instagram account to see what he’s done so far and hopefully convince you to follow him for the rest of the baseball season and beyond.
Inside the Booth
You listen to them every night. You know they have a microphone and a scorecard, but what else is going on in that booth? Here Jon gives us a glimpse inside the world of a baseball broadcaster.
Broadcast nerds are drooling all over this one. Here we see the tools of the trade for a broadcasting legend. New scorebook, media guide, stat sheets, binoculars, clock (probably for reminding him to tell the audience the score of the game), and handwritten notes with the defensive alignments for each team.
This was the photo that alerted most of us Jon had joined Instagram. The KNBR pregame show ran long, so Flemming had to finish up his spiel during the National Anthem. Flem was asked about it on Twitter so much that he finally convinced Jon to post the pic to his Instagram.
After playing it straight for a few days, Jon began letting some of his humor creep in. His captions – 4hr, 5 min, 12-inning game, Dave wisely brought provisions – are great and he even started throwing in some ridiculous hashtags, which in my humble opinion, should always be ridiculous. #propermustardapplication
At some point over the last month, Jon figured out how to take Instagram videos! This one starts with Flem calling the pitch and pans right just as Buster Posey knocks in a run against the Dodgers. Flem’s laser like focus stays on the action even as the crowd goes wild. You know Jon is just kind of messing around with his phone, but it is seriously cool to watch a pro like Flemming doing his thing.
Another video from inside the booth, as Flem calls the last out of a sweep at home against the Dodgers.
One last pic from the booth. Here is Jon’s scorecard from the same game.
Behind the Scenes
Scorecards and hot dogs are great, but Giants fans cannot survive on booth pics alone. Thankfully, Jon has already recognized social media is a great way to bring fans with him behind the scenes where only the players, coaches, and team personnel are permitted.
Here’s a note that hung over the clubhouse door during the playoffs last year.
A menu from the Giants charter flight to San Diego. I’ll have the herb crusted salmon salad and organic raw Kombucha, hold the mayo, please. Thank you.
And a commemorative Tim Lincecum no-hitter cookie for the team flight. How much do those go for on Ebay?
Around the Stadium
Once again, Jon uses his all access pass to show us cool stuff around the parks. Here we see an understated memorial to Lon Simmons in the lobby of the Hodges-Simmons Broadcast Center. Before seeing this photo, I had no idea the Giants had dedicated the broadcast facilities to Russ and Lon.
Jon must have been strolling around the bowels of Dodger stadium to take this photo of the old visitor’s clubhouse. His caption says it all about the history of this room.
Another shot from Chavez Ravine. This is the tunnel Jon and the guys walk through from the visitor’s clubhouse to the broadcast booth. As Jon notes in his hashtag, all of the team medallions are lit up except for one.
I hope you enjoyed this little review of Jon’s Instagram pics. If you did, let us know in the comments section and I might try to make it a regular feature around here. I already have an idea about whose Instagram account I want to review next.
Yep. This guy…