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May 23, 2019

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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: MRH Grad is Right-Hand-Man to Cardinals Broadcasters

MRH grad is Cardinals broadcast booth assistant.On this last day of school for the 2018-19 year, we present a very special Alumni Spotlight segment... one that will make your heart swell and get your summer kicking into high gear. This time around, we're going to let our featured subject -- Michael Langston -- speak for himself:

"My official title with the St. Louis Cardinals is the Radio Booth Assistant. 

Back in January my mom told me that I really needed to look for some sort of summer job, something to keep me busy during the lax summer months in between college semesters. A good family friend and fellow MRH grad as well as Webster U alum -- where I currently go -- Robyn Curtis, let me know about some available positions with the Cardinals in her department. She hinted at a possible position I could apply for if I was a junior in college, but, even though I just finished my second year at Webster, I'm actually a semester ahead and therefore technically a junior. She let my now supervisor know that I was interested, and from there I got in contact with her and got an interview.

MRH grad is Cardinals broadcast booth assistant.Right away, I knew that I was an underdog for the position just because of the fact that I'm a law major and they were looking for sports-centered majors from applicants. I prepped myself, completely re-did my resumé, and headed in for the interview where I left it all on the field. Even after that, I wasn't entirely sure if I had been stellar enough to garner any further interest, but I still had a weird inkling of hope lingering in me. After I interviewed, I anxiously awaited a call, and while I was getting my injured leg looked at in an urgent care, I got the call that I had gotten the job over the other 5 applicants. A week later I was calling the Cardinals' legendary player and broadcaster Mike Shannon, the incredibly gifted broadcaster John Rooney, fellow radio broadcaster for KMOX Mike Claiborne, and TV personality/former Cardinal Ricky Horton to introduce myself. I ended up meeting them and many more people on my first day: The 2019 Home Opener.

I only work home games for the Cardinals and each day follows a somewhat similar structure, although depending on the day everything can go out the window because baseball is as unpredictable as it gets. I get to Busch Stadium about 3 and a half hours before first pitch, head straight past the home and road clubhouses to the elevators and then up to the club level where I go to the home radio broadcast booth for the Cardinals, which is the largest broadcast booth in all of baseball. From there I open the sliding windows down where the broadcasters sit and get their TV monitors and microphones and headsets set up with the studio engineer, Jim Jackson. That's where everything stops being the normal daily routine. Sometimes I will have ticket runs I have to do for Mike Shannon, where I'll have to tear tickets for him and get them to will call. I might have to track down a specific player in the clubhouse (Kolten Wong, Jordan Hicks, Miles Mikolas are examples) or someone within the organization in the clubhouse to get certain information for the broadcast. There might be a day where i have to do some manual labor and transport luggage and equipment. Other times, I'll have to manage the various stats and information sheets that come to the booth at varying times depending on the day or help Mike Shannon, Ricky Horton, Dan McLaughlin, Jim Edmonds, John Rooney, Brad Thompson, Tim McCarver, Al Hrabosky, Polo Ascencio, Bengie Molina, and Mike Claiborne with their fan mail (whoever gets it on whatever day depends on who I help, but I help everyone with it at one point or another).

Each day, I need to find a creative way to balance all of those tasks and doing probably my most important task: creating Mike Shannon's scorecard. Every day I scour the web and our press people to get the starting lineups, and from there I proceed to write them all down for Mike Shannon to use for the broadcast. Everything from a player's home runs and stolen bases to specifics like career hitting against a pitcher and a team, I am responsible for writing it all down and making sure it's all right. After that, I get Mike Shannon his water and soda and settle in for the game.

During the game I manage any and all guests that may come into the booth, which include some of Mike's famous friends like Ozzie Smith, the Schoendienst family, Keith Hernandez, Terry Pendleton, and some of the players on the St. Louis Blues. Once the later innings hit, I use my pair of binoculars to spot pitchers warming up in the bullpen and write them all down for the broadcasters to use, and once 9th inning hits I head down to the field to help Mike Claiborne with the player of the game interview. After the game I pack up the booth and get it ready for the next game, and on Friday nights I stay late to help out with the Live with Mike show on KMOX, which is broadcast right from the Cardinals radio booth. 

Being the PA announcer for MRH for the past 3 years or so has prepared me to stay on my toes when there are eyes on me, and I actually used some experiences from the games I've announced to help me in my job in little minute ways. MRH taught me that everyone can learn and learning doesn't stop, and in the radio booth for the Cardinals I've learned so much about a wide variety of valuable topics. Teachers like Spinks and Carmon and Rzeszutko, all math teachers, taught me the devil's in the details and one small wrong thing can make everything incorrect, and their lessons have helped me leave no stone unturned up here in the booth. Rowley and Cassel, English, have taught me to be creative in how I do my work. Vinson, Spanish, taught me to be firm but also work hard to be correct. Welker, Dixon, Henske, and Potthoff, history and theatre, all taught me that all things in life, including and especially baseball, are supposed to be fun, so I do what they taught me: I make it fun up here. 

Just a little conclusion piece: Most of the guys and gals that work here are St. Louis born and raised, from the big wigs to the interns. We all shoot the breeze about Imo's and the Blues, and whenever I get asked that age old question: where'd you go to high school? I always answer, with pride in my voice: MRH!"

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.