Web gem: On-air poise makes Brewers broadcaster Minnaert an unlikely star
By Chris Jenkins
Photo, video courtesy of Fox Sports Wisconsin
Sophia Minnaert has plenty of career goals but becoming the star of a viral video wasn't one of them. Even seconds after her now-famous encounter with a wayward baseball, she just wanted to get back to work.
Now that her on-air oddity has been seen on everything from blogs to mainstream media websites and ESPN's Sportscenter, even Minnaert, Comm '09, can appreciate its entertainment value.
"The video's ridiculous! You just have to laugh," she says, "because I was fine. It's funny, but to me there was like no other option other than to pick up and keep going. That's what you do. We have to get the segment in. To me, that was just sort of a natural reaction. I didn't think twice about it. I guess I appreciate all the positive attention, as long as people play nice with it."
In her first full season as the sideline and social media reporter for Fox Sports Wisconsin's Milwaukee Brewers game broadcasts, Minnaert was doing a live stand-up just before the start of the third inning during a May 25 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Standing in a camera well next to the Brewers' dugout, she was beginning her broadcast segment when a baseball came out of nowhere and smacked the microphone out of her hand on live television.
After the briefest of pauses, Minnaert regained her composure.
"So the mic's knocked out of my hand, I'm like, 'whoa' a little stunned," she says. "Then I just kind of picked up the mic fortunately it wasn't too far from my feet and kept going."
Her broadcast partners immediately praised her poise on the air, and fans sent Twitter messages asking if she was OK. A few local news stations gave her a heads-up that they running the video on their nightly sportscasts.
But she never imagined it was about to become the talk of the sports world. ESPN where Minnaert interned as a production assistant made it No. 2 on its "Not Top 10" sports blooper segment. The video has been viewed nearly 200,000 times on Fox Sports' YouTube channel and countless more times on Major League Baseball's website and elsewhere.
Minnaert eventually deduced that the ball was the result of an errant warm-up throw by Brewers shortstop Jean Segura, who had no idea what happened.
"He was like, 'Oh my God, that hit you? I'm so sorry,'" Minnaert says. "He felt really bad and he apologized, but I was obviously just giving him a hard time."
The most important part, of course, was that she wasn't injured.
"I was really lucky," she says. "I mean, you think about all the things that could have happened. It could have been a line drive. It could have hit me in the head. Even with the mic bouncing like it did, the ball or the microphone could have bounced up and hit me in the face or the mouth or something."
Since then, Minnaert has received plenty of unsolicited advice from well-meaning folks who might not appreciate everything that goes into doing live television during a baseball game.
Sure, it's easy to say "pay attention" but tougher to do when you're talking on air with thousands of fans in the background while a producer is speaking into your earpiece.
"I always feel like I am paying attention," Minnaert says. "I can't go on camera and be looking every single direction for something that could happen. I think it was important that I got through that segment and stayed there the rest of the game. What else are you going to do?"