Joe Girardi’s third-inning triple over Marquis Grissom’s head in Game 6 of the 1996 World Series was the most important and memorable moment in the Yankees’ clincher over the Braves.
But the way we remember it was shaped in part by what happened in the Fox production truck, where producer John Filippelli was trying to convince the TV sports world to break its longstanding habit of using slow-motion replays.
The Girardi triple was what he called “the perfect example” of why. Slo-mo is one thing when examining a close play. But showing Girardi chug around the bases at real speed illustrated an important point.
“He can run for a catcher,” play-by-play man Joe Buck said after the hit that ignited a three-run inning against pitcher Greg Maddux in what became a 3-2 Yankees victory.
“Why show speed in slow motion? It made no sense,” said Filippelli, who executed his plan with the help of the late, famed director Bill Webb.
Why bring this up now, nearly a quarter-century later? Because at 7 p.m. on Monday, the YES Network will replay Game 6, as it often has in the past, this time with a twist.
Filippelli, who last produced a World Series in 1998, now is YES’ president of programming and promotion, and during the game he will live tweet about the telecast.
David Cone, who was on the Yankees’ bench that night, also will provide commentary on Twitter.
Like all local and national sports media outlets, YES has looked for ways to attract viewers’ attention during the sports hiatus prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the latest.
“The world is in a horrible place at the moment,” Filippelli said, “and we want to remain relevant and we want to maintain engagement with our viewers and fans.
“So many of our viewers and fans are on Twitter. They follow, they use the second screen. This is a way for us, for me, to reach them. We want to bring people together.”
Filippelli is an infrequent tweeter and plans to outsource the typing of them Monday to help him keep up in real time.
As a production veteran, he long has advocated the notion that the television presentation of games often forms fans’ collective memory of them.
“How you chronicle a game is how people are going to remember it,” he said. “The perfect example of that is the Girardi triple . . . If we showed it in slow motion, you’d think about it less.”
Filippelli said YES chief executive officer Jon Litner began having discussions during spring training about the possibility of the season being disrupted because of the virus and what YES could do in such a scenario.
Here we are. Speaking of which, YES is promoting its digital offerings under the umbrella, “YES, We’re Here.”
Might this be a good time to expand YES’ slate of “Yankees Classics” to include, dare we say it: Yankees losses?
“For you doubters out there, let me just put things in perspective here,” Filippelli said. “We’ve had two times where the Yankees have lost and they’ve been on ‘Yankees Classics,” so there you go.”
He said the first was Mariano Rivera’s final game, on Sept. 26, 2013, a 4-0 loss to the Rays in which teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came out to the mound to remove him and Rivera wept.
“They tried to rally,” Filippelli said. “I tried to go in the edit room and choose a different ending. But I couldn’t make it happen.”