Frequently Asked Questions
Recently my calendar has been filled with speaking engagements–it’s not too late to book yours–and other holiday gatherings. While attending those things, I usually get asked the same type of questions about my profession and life, so without further ado, here are some FAQ’s…
Did you know you always wanted to do this?
No, not at all. I never really even entertained the thought until late in college. As a kid, I remember how I told people I wanted to be a lawyer or a comedian, because we all know how hilarious attorneys are. Eventually I went to college with the intention of studying journalism and becoming a news or sports reporter.
About two years or so into school, I realized that line of work wasn’t going to be for me. There were other periods I went through where I entertained the thought of going to law school, work on documentaries, or do sports-related TV production. All the while I was doing all sorts of broadcasting, both sports and music, just for fun.
Graduation was getting closer and I didn’t know what the future was going to hold. Most of my friends were set on going to law school, med school, or starting careers in the financial sector, but I was one big question mark.
While I was in school I worked part-time at a TV production company. A couple of staffers there knew of my dabbling in broadcasting and suggested I try it professionally. The rationale was there would be no better time to try than right after graduation.
I landed a job before the next baseball season with a High-A team in California and have now been at it for about six years. I consider it to be one of the very few things in life I’m good at–and even that’s debatable–so I can’t really imagine what else I would be doing.
What’s a typical day like during the season?
Busy. Next question.
Seriously though, it’s a jam-packed 12-13 hour day (or longer) you do at least 144 times. Even though we’re right below the major leagues in terms of player advancement, there’s a big gap from an operations and resources standpoint. Between me and my department mate Lisa, we do the equivalent of what seven people do for the Astros.
Here’s just a sampling of some of daily tasks:
-Write game notes, distribute them to media, and post them online.
-Compile and print stats.
-Check with Astros player development staff regarding any roster changes. If so, submit new roster to the league and opposing team.
-Gather and distribute both team’s lineups.
-Coordinate all interview requests.
-Oversee team social media.
-Write game recaps and post game highlights online.
I’m probably forgetting some things.That’s just stuff you know that’s going to happen on a daily basis, but there’s always last-minute stuff that arises you have to deal with on the fly (lineup changes, credential requests, etc.). There’s also other times that require extra press releases, interviews, etc.
And that’s all in addition to my broadcast prep. Now doing a broadcast isn’t anything like having to preform surgery, but you can’t just roll out of bed and do it. I talk every night for a minimum of three hours by myself, so I need to know what I’m talking about (or do a good job faking it). Going into each game, there’s a lot to digest, but of course there’s no script, so you have to be able to adjust accordingly to what’s happening on the field.
Like I said, it’s pretty busy.
So how do you do all that?
You just do it. Whether it’s sacrificing sleep, meals, or any kind of a life outside of work, you just do what you need to do to make it happen. I know it’s not a very enlightening answer, but it’s the truth.
What happens if you’re sick?
Doesn’t matter. I don’t miss games. If I’m under the weather, I’ll load up on meds, tea, and water. I’ve called games when my voice was shot, and I could barely speak. If I’m going to miss a game due to something health-related, I better be wearing a toe tag.
The only time I’ve missed a game was this past season for my brother’s college graduation. And I was even hesitant to leave for that.
Do you work for the team during the off-season?
Of course. Writing this is part of my job.
Overall my off-season is dedicated to various projects, such as cleaning up team statistical records and tending to things neglected during the season. I also do a lot of speaking engagements within the community.
Once the calendar turns to the new year, that’s when a lot of the baseball prep begins. I’ll start working on the media guide, hire press box employees, and anything else I need to do get us in position to be ready for the start of the season. Obviously, the closer we get to opening day, the days get longer and there’s more that needs to be done.
There’s also a few off-season events of which I’m in charge of leading the media promotion, such as snow tubing, our annual job fair, and National Anthem tryouts.
Do you broadcast any other sports besides baseball?
Yes. Since moving to Oklahoma City, I’ve picked up some freelance assignments for football and basketball here and there, but nothing on a regular basis. Hopefully that will change.
I also have experience broadcasting hockey and volleyball. They’re tough to do.
Do you have any superstitions or routines you have to follow?
No. I do have a certain way of writing things in my scorebook, but that’s about it.
I would also like to debunk a very popular myth: There is absolutely no such thing a “broadcaster jinx.” As a broadcaster, my first and foremost duty is to inform the audience of what is going on in the game. If that means a pitcher has not allowed any hits, then so be it. If you think I have any effect on what happens on the field, then not only are you giving me way too much credit, but you are also much crazier than I thought.
There are tons of time where broadcasters mention hitting streaks, no-hitters, etc. and nothing negative happens. People conveniently don’t remember those instances.
Take a moment to read this article. I hate to break it to you, but Jered Weaver was going to throw a no-hitter regardless of what Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza said that night.
Do you have a signature call for a home run or anything else?
No. You have to be malleable to the situation at-hand, so if you have a canned line you’re set on using, it might not fit. I’m a big believer on letting the moment occur and then do what feels natural.
There was one tradition born near the end of the 2012 season, though. After a nice win, the bump music leading into the post-game show was “Party Train” by The Gap Band. To that point, I had never heard the song and thought it was fantastic. So after every RedHawks win we play “Party Train” during the post-game show, and I’ll usually make a reference to it.
What’s traveling on the road like?
This topic will get it’s own post in the near future. There’s a lot to cover.
What’s your favorite road stadium/city?
AutoZone Park in Memphis. It’s a big league stadium, just on a smaller scale. The whole operation there is top notch. Dell Diamond (Round Rock) and Isotopes Park (Albuquerque) are also great facilities, but they don’t have the same setting and feel as Memphis.
Before I talk about my favorite road city, you have to understand the thing Triple-A players, coaches, and broadcasters care about the most when it comes to road destinations: how close the hotel is to the ballpark and how much stuff is around. With that being said, Memphis is also at the top of my list since we stay near the ballpark downtown and there’s plenty of restaurants/bars/fun stuff in the vicinity. This might surprise some people, but I would say Des Moines is a close second. Great hotel within walking distance of the park and a nice downtown. If we happen to be in town on a Saturday, I really enjoy going to the downtown farmers’ market.
From a non-baseball standpoint, Nashville is easily my favorite city in the league. However, my schedule doesn’t really allow me to play tourist.
Any crazy stories from the road?
Not really. Due to the busy schedule, especially on travel days, I’m wiped out once my work is done for the night. I might occasionally enjoy a post-game beverage, but I don’t really partake in any late-night shenanigans.
However, there was that one time in Reno…
So who’s your favorite broadcaster?
Tough question to answer, mainly because I don’t have a chance to listen to many other baseball broadcasts and there are probably too many great ones to list.
I am very fortunate that my favorite non-baseball teams have incredible broadcasters, such as John Kelly of the St. Louis Blues, Dave Eanet of Northwestern, and Mike Kelly of Mizzou. They’re always a pleasure to listen to.
Pound for pound, I think ESPN’s Dan Schulman is the best. He’s a total pro and is so versatile, although I think he’s best at baseball. For being ESPN’s top guy, there’s not a lot of fanfare surrounding him. Although he mostly does TV work, he will do radio for ESPN’s coverage of the MLB playoffs. It’s wonderful.
As a college basketball fan, I also love Bill Raftery. He’s known for some excitable expressions, but he brings the perfect blend of color and analysis to a game.
I don’t try to model what I do after anyone specifically. You can take small influences here and there, but I’m a big believer that you gotta be your own person.
Who’s the best player you’ve ever seen?
Another tough one. Since I’ve worked at the lower and upper levels of the minors, it’s hard to compare players. I’m not sure I have a definitive answer, but I would tend to say, given all the factors during when I saw him, the most impressive player I’ve seen is Mike Trout.
Back in 2010, Trout was called up to High-A when he was still 18. We faced him right after his promotion, and he was still adjusting to the new level. Within a month he was easily the most feared player in the league. Even though it came at my team’s expense, he was a lot of fun to watch.
What’s the weirdest/craziest thing you’ve seen?
Although I saw some interesting things this past season, my 2009 season with the High Desert Mavericks will be hard to beat.
I’m not sure anything will top the historic 33-18 slugfest from June 28 of that year. Needless to say, many records were broken that afternoon. I’ll never forget that game, and if nothing else, it resulted in me being quoted in The New York Times.
However, just a few weeks before, we played a 21-inning, 7-hour, 34-minute game in Stockton that was split up over two days.
Throughout the course of all that, outfielder Jamie McOwen put together an incredible 45-game hitting streak.
That season also gave me my favorite unique tidbit of all time. You’ve probably never heard the name Adolfo Gonzalez, but it’s one that will always hold a special place with me. Gonzalez was a utility man for the Inland Empire 66ers, and on May 6, 2009, he was forced to pitch during an extra-inning game. In the 11th inning, he surrendered a walk-off home run that led to a Mavericks victory.
Now that isn’t all that unusual, but about a month-and-a-half later, Gonzalez hit a walk-off home run to beat us on June 19. As Milb.com’s Benjamin Hill would say, that’s about as crooked as it gets.
Since you’re from St. Louis, that means you’re a Cardinals fan, right?
Kinda, sorta. When you enter this business, you don’t have time to be a “fan.” Your rooting interests shift based on the relationships you build throughout the years.
The Cardinals are bigger than baseball in St. Louis. I’m not saying it’s more important than most real-world issues, but it is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of the city. It’s something you can’t understand unless you grow up there or live there for an extended period of time. Cardinals baseball will always be a part of me, but it’s not even close to what it was when I was a child.
However, the Cardinals’ success is directly related to the well-being of my dad and brother, so for that reason alone, it’s nice to see the Cardinals do well.
What is your dream job?
Like anyone else in my position, it would be great to get to the Major Leagues one day. The truth is, no matter your ability, the odds of getting there aren’t good.
So I don’t know if I have a “dream” job. I’m happy to be where I’m at. We’ll see where things go from here.
Hope that covers all the burning questions. I’ll post one more time before end of the year to focus more on recent Astros moves and how it pertains to the RedHawks.
Thanks for reading.