As soon as David Freese made contact, Springfield College graduate Nick Carboni, microphone in hand, took off running.
Freese’s walk-off home run capped off one of the most remarkable games in World Series history. Twice the Cardinals erased two-run deficits to pull even with the Texas Rangers in Game 6 before Freese carried the city of St. Louis to a seventh game.
It was a moment that will forever live in St. Louis sports lore.
“Once I saw his home run hit the grass in center, I made a dead sprint for the tunnel,” said Carboni (’08). “And once the clubhouse opened up, we went in and started talking to everybody.”
Carboni, a graduate of the Communications/Sports Journalism program at Springfield College, has been working for KOLR, a CBS affiliate, in Springfield, Mo., since September 2010.
A loose connection came through at an opportune time for Carboni, as the job hunt in his desired location wasn’t coming up with much.
“I was just crashing with some friends in Florida and kind of spending my days at the beach,” said Carboni. “I was looking for jobs there. I really wanted to work in Florida.
“All of a sudden, the Missouri connection came through and it’s just a really good market to work in, especially in sports. It was kind of a no-brainer.”
Carboni has covered everything from Missouri State basketball’s first regular season championship in the Missouri Valley Conference to the tornado aftermath in Joplin, Mo.
“It’s just been kind of crazy how many stories, how many big national stories that I’ve been right in the middle of. It’s just a good place to be,” said Carboni.
The station Carboni is currently working for is part of a company called Nexstar, which owns stations throughout the Midwest. Carboni’s station, which covers the St. Louis Cardinals Double-A affiliate in Springfield, covered all the Cardinals home games throughout the playoffs.
“I got to do some Division games against the Phillies and then six and seven at the World Series,” said Carboni.
Once on the scene, Carboni and his crew were responsible for churning out pre-game content that can be shared with any stations that were interested.
“When we go, we start churning stuff out for all of the other stations,” said Carboni. “So before the game, I’m putting together preview stories about the game and going live not only for our stations, but also for a few Texas stations, because obviously there was interest there.”
With the first pitches of the World Series games being thrown out after 8 p.m., all of the pre-game content wrapped up around 6:30 p.m., according to Carboni.
Once inside, Carboni watched about six innings before returning back to the live truck located in a parking lot right next to the stadium. From there, he gave live updates about what was going on inside Busch Stadium.
After heading back into the stadium, Game 6 provided Carboni with one of the most exciting nights of his professional career.
“I was getting ready to head into a losing Cardinals’ clubhouse and wasn’t looking forward to that,” joked Carboni.
“But I knew something amazing was going to happen once they tied it up the second time,” said Carboni. “From the bottom of the eighth until Freese’s home run, I stood behind the plate right on the first concourse and just waited for the game to end, but it just kept going and going and going.”
Once inside the clubhouse, Carboni tried to talk with Freese, but couldn’t even get a word in with St. Louis’ newfound hero.
The next night, however, following a 6-2 Cardinals victory and their 11th World Series title, Carboni was on the field with the MVP.
“[After Game 7] right after he got his trophy, I was on the field and there was a group of about four or five reporters and I asked him a bunch of questions,” said Carboni.
“The guy was holding his World Series [MVP] trophy right next to him, so that was pretty cool.”
In the clubhouse afterwards, Carboni and his crew were right next to the ceremonial champagne toast and were showered in the championship bubbly.
“There were bottles popping everywhere and [the Cardinals] were just spraying them all over the place. It was pretty cool,” said Carboni.
“It’s just one of those things where you’re working your butt off, but it’s fun and you can’t help but realize that you’re seeing something that you’re going to see for a long time, just because the series was so good, and the way the Cardinals won it was just so improbable. It’s just something I’ll remember forever. No matter what happens from here on out, I’ll always remember this.”
Corey Hanlon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org