Metropolitan interactive, doing business as Metinteractive, knows how to play ball. The company, which provides strategic solutions at the interaction of architecture, communications and technology, provided a complete video production system for the control room at Polar Park, the new home of the Worcester Red Sox, a Triple-A baseball club and affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The new stadium opened for the 2021 season and seats more than 9,500 spectators.
“Polar Park represents a transition of the former Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester as well as a new commitment to economic development in the downtown district. These folks are seriously committed to bringing an MLB-level show to the WooSox patrons," stated Jeff Mele CEO.
Polar Park’s control room is the venue’s media hub broadcasting games for the New England Sports Network, streaming practice sessions, and driving the scoreboard’s live show. Metinteractive collaborated with ANC on the project, one of many sports-related jobs the two companies have partnered on.
The control room install posed a number of challenges: It had a tight budget and took place during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and while stadium construction was still underway. Nevertheless, Metinteractive was able to upgrade a lot of the specified equipment to a higher professional level, provide plexiglass shields and dividers to keep the control room safe for its staff, train employees on the use of the new systems, and even furnish temporary fiber to the outfield for camera connectivity.
“We had people in the control room wearing construction helmets and running programs,” recalled Keith Book, Metinteractive’s director of design who served as design engineer and commissioner for the Polar Park project. “There was no break between finishing construction and starting the baseball season, so the venue was very much an active construction site while we worked there.”
Comprising the video production system are Hitachi ENG cameras with ElationLogic telemetry, Clear-Com Partyline and wireless intercom systems, Ross Carbonite switching, and Evertz replay. Metinteractive suggested a Ross Ultrix router, which can manipulate natively all the audio pathways for the feeds. The control room also features a Yamaha MADI-to-Dante interface and a powerful Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixer, which integrates with the router without requiring analog wiring. ElationLogic software also handles all the room’s work surfaces, including consoles and desktop equipment turrets.
“Our team really stepped up to make the Polar Park control room a truly professional, ergonomic, and safe work environment,” said Book. “We even changed the layout of the space adjusting operator positions to provide for a more logical workflow.”
Jesse LaBranche was Metinteractive’s senior technician and project manager at Polar Park with Jesse Alford also serving as a senior technician.
Metinteractive has been sent up to the big leagues this season working on a project for the Los Angeles Dodgers.