Lights, Camera, Red Tally Light On!
And with that, Yes Network begins another Yankees telecast.
As Michael begins the show and introduces one of his many broadcast sidekicks, a man is already hard at work, though not yet seen.
Meredith Marakovits has already made her appearances on the game and will offer insight, the injury report, along with a knowledgeable banter with Booth Se K, leading up to the post-game report.
Not a bad gig for a former LaSalle University grad and D-1 volleyball player.
“I played three years, but not in my senior year. I was injured, but he let me keep my scholarship,” says Markowitz. “My parents appreciated it.”
She has been a before and after game reporter since Opening Day, March 2012. Piece of cake, isn’t it?
“My actual first day at work and Mariano Rivera blew a save,” she recalls with a laugh. “Hey man, I’ve got to get to the closest I’ve ever had and I’m going to be the first to ask a question. ‘Hi, my name is Meredith. By the way, what about that blow save?'”
Awkward moments aside, Marakowitz has taken a closer look at some historical moments as well.
How about Aaron Judge’s first Bronx Bomber home run or Derek Jeter and Andy Petit coming out to get the ball off Rivera for the last time?
“You get to see a lot of good moments,” she says. “It’s my favorite part of the job.
“I did the last interview on the field when Derek played his last game at Yankee Stadium,” says beaming Marakovits, “and I had a front-row seat.”
His job has its ups and downs, but you can’t let that get you down.
“There was a bit of a learning curve in how yes works and what they expect of me,” she recalls, “but I can’t remember a time ever feeling uncomfortable.”
“You should almost have a closer mindset. Shake it off and have a short memory.”
Marakovits has been around for someone still in their late thirties. The advantage for her was that she was already operating in the New York market.
“I worked for SNY. I worked for ESPN Radio and Fan, so I was not a complete stranger to these people, the team, and the way people do business here,” she says. The league has also covered baseball.
Oddly enough, the Marakovits family wasn’t big on baseball. It was basketball and the 76ers.
“When I became a sideline reporter for the Sixers,” she recalls, “that was crazy.”
She was a team member of Andre Iguodala and Doug Collins was the coach.
And that was before the “process”.
“Which hasn’t really worked,” she explains.
What has worked for Marakovits is part of a genius line of succession.
When Suzanne Waldman moved from Yankee clubhouse reporter to radio color analyst, she was replaced by Kim Jones, who held the position from 2005 to 2012. Marakovits has been there ever since Waldman is one of his closest friends.
Like a fairy godmother?
“I feel like I can’t call her mom. She’ll kill me,” says Markowitz. “She’s one of my best friends and advocate. I don’t think he gets nearly as much credit as he deserves to be a leader in this business. This God is honest to the truth.”
Because of Waldman, Marakowitz’s work is not taxing.
“I don’t have to deal with certain things because of people like her, which she had to deal with quickly,” she notes. “I don’t think enough women in business recognize or appreciate it.”
The job of a Yankee TV reporter isn’t all sitting kibitz. There is a process in baseball as well.
“I reach a home” [night] game at 2:15,” she says, describing the start of her workday. “I look at my notes for the game, do my hair and makeup. The clubhouse opens at three o’clock. That’s the window when I can start grabbing Yankee players.
“The club house will remain open from three to four. [Manager Aaron] Boone will talk at four o’clock. Later, if I have to go to the opposing clubhouse, I will go there. taking [batting practice]You never know who’s going to swim around. I talk to my producers, decide what we’re doing for the pre-game show and then go from there.
“The pregame will be at 6:30, [I’ll] Do a segment for the start of the game. The game starts and I am looking forward to coming in and talking to people,” she says.
The game ends and she is back at work.
“We are somewhat fortunate this year that we have some games that are three hours,” she says. “Post-game is usually 55 minutes or more. Probably done after 11.”
Then there are the days of quick turnaround.
“People don’t realize what these athletes go through throughout the season,” she says. “We just have to broadcast it and they have to go out there and play nine.
“I can think of four times this year that we arrive at five, six and then there’s a game.”
She’s not complaining, because she’s on the front row as the Yankees try for world title number 28.
“I haven’t covered a World Series and I’m really hoping this is the year,” she says.
Being so close to the Yankees makes his fans eyes and ears.
“We’re in people’s living rooms every day for months and months and months,” she says. “It’s like behind the scenes.”
He has seen players grow and managers go.
“I think Aaron Judge has made himself more of a spokesperson over the years,” she says.
And she’s seen a change in the styles of the managers she covers – Joe Girardi and Aaron Boone.
“Any New York Yankees manager is going to be a little guarded,” she says, “but Boone appears to be a little more relaxed than Joe.”
Even COVID-19 could not slow him down.
The Marakovites were well prepared when the pandemic struck. She set up her home in Clearwater, Fla. to do interviews and YouTube content. With all the gimmicks of the business, his home became a studio.
“I can’t tell you how many ring-light links I’ve sent people,” she says with a laugh. “I was one of the most prepared people to work from home on TV during the pandemic.”
And while she does a variety of treats from the Yankees to the Yes Brass, she has a supporter in the main man of the telecast: Michael Kay.
“Michael has been fantastic to me,” she admits. “Meet Michael for the first time in 2009 while covering the Phillies for an ESPN radio affiliate at Citizens Bank Park. We crossed paths several times before I got this job, and he’s always been nice to me.
“He’s always been a gentleman and he’s always been in my corner.”
Marakovits love the job, but is there more to accomplish?
“Yeah has been good for me and I enjoy my current role,” she admits, “but I always feel there’s room for growth.
“What that looks like is still to be determined.”