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And let's go to Dylan Hernandez at Camelback Ranch!

March 3, 2010 |  2:35 pm
Dylandilbeck "Thanks, Jill."

Agh, no, not again.

"Thanks Jill!"

Oh, please, stop it now.

"Thanks, Jill."

My first born, my No.1 ``X-men,’’ my big-screen TV and my vintage ’57 Corvette (OK, I don’t actually own that). Anything, but one more greeting.

"Thanks, JILL!"

It’s coming from the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez, who as a Dodgers beat writer is absolutely top notch. As a -- what shall we call this? -- video reporter, he is no threat to Bob Costas. Or your Uncle Harry.

But it’s a new age for journalism, newspapers constantly branching out into new media in an ongoing effort to stay relevant and capture readership/viewers.

So this spring, in conjunction with Fox Sports West, the newspaper's baseball beat writers are attempting to file daily video reports. This is like asking your cat to bark.


Hernandez has elected to file his reports from the press box at Camelback Ranch. So every afternoon, in a press box full of media types attempting to work, he goes through his remarkable effort to give a daily Dodgers report.

I say "remarkable" because what else can you call a two-minute report that requires take after take after take. Now multiply that by 10.

Each time, he begins with "Thanks, Jill," a reference to Jill Arrington, the sportscaster back in the Fox studio who throws the report to Dylan. Here’s a little something I probably shouldn’t share -- he's never met Arrington. Never even spoken to her. He’s thanked her, though, like she just paid off his mortgage.

Now there is a reason most reporters are behind a keyboard and not a camera. No, not their looks. OK, besides that. They’re trained to use a keyboard. Feel comfortable behind a keyboard.

A camera, even a tiny digital camcorder, is an invitation into a foreign world. Hernandez actually used to practice saying, "Thanks, Jill," like a teenage boy rehearsing lines before calling a new girl on the phone. Safe to say, he’s had plenty of practice now.

So off he goes, getting in his thanks before the verbal stumbles begin. He’ll make a silly mistake and then start giggling. Once the giggles begin, we know countless takes await. Even a "Thanks, Jill" can make him laugh.

Sometimes he can’t get past a few words. Sometimes he’ll trip up halfway through his report. One time, he finally got almost to the end … when he realized he didn’t have an ending.

"Where do I go from here?" he asked.

Reporters filling the press box rolled their eyes. One cried that his ears were bleeding. I would like to tell you Hernandez is getting better at this. I would also like to tell you I’m really only 24.

"Lord, I’m so bad at this," he said.

Hope he wasn’t looking for an argument.

One time this week, he was on something like his 38h take and suddenly on a roll. You can watch it here. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that’s my left shoulder in the corner of the frame. As he gets close to finally making it through without a verbal hiccup, you can see me start to rock with excitement and then finally burst into applause at the finish.

"Good job, Dylan, you even have your own fan club there," said Arrington, in the finished piece.

Right, huge fans of peace in the press box. And thanks, Jill.

-- Steve Dilbeck in Phoenix
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